Speaking on Behalf of the Republic of Macedonia

Thank you for the insightful article, "World Pressure Mounts to Recognize Macedonia," Dec. 1. Although the Republic of Macedonia is the only former Yugoslav Republic to have achieved independence peacefully, democratically, and by meeting the criteria for international recognition set forth by the European Community, recognition has still eluded it.

The United States and the Economic Community leaders have largely ignored the explosive situation in Macedonia. However, articles such as this one put additional pressure on world leaders.

The author is correct in assessing the possibility of spillover of the war. If the Republic of Macedonia is not recognized immediately and economic assistance is not provided, it will erupt into a war that will ignite the entire Balkan Region, drawing in several international actors, possibly including the US. Some state that recognition did not prevent the war from spreading to Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, the US and EC countries recognized Bosnia and Herzegovina after the outbreak of war in Bosnia.

I would like to make a correction. The ethnic Albanians in Macedonia comprise 21 percent of the population in Macedonia, according to official government 1991 census documents. Hopefully, "world pressure" will push world leaders to recognize Macedonia. Ljubica Z. Acevska Washington US Representative of the Republic of Macedonia Prospects for the UN

In the Opinion page article "Half-Steps Overstep in Yugoslavia," Dec. 2, the author questions the relevance of United States membership in NATO; I too question this. NATO was formed to protect Europe from Soviet aggression. The cold war has ended. The Soviet regime has dissolved and so should NATO.

The prospect of NATO functioning to "prevent and suppress `instability' in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union" seems to be a waste of time and money. The US and other NATO members would be wise to discard NATO and concentrate their resources on the United Nations or the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) in a collaborative effort for peace and stability. Katharine E. Sneary Harrisonburg, Va. Give Syria another try

I read with interest the Home Forum page article "Crossing the Lines That Divide Us," Nov. 30. The author spends a considerable amount of time describing his negative experiences in Syria. While I do not doubt the author, I offer my own experiences in Syria as an alternative view of a country whose people showed me nothing less than the warmest hospitality.

I too am British. I participated in a study abroad program in Syria last summer with a group of American students. The Syrian people we met treated us with a friendliness that I have experienced in no other country. Most were surprised to see Americans in their country because of the poor relations in the past. I hope that the author will give Syria another try and experience a little more of the country than the border police. Ronan Doherty Williamsburg, Va.

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