NATO started its first mission in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* on 26 August 2001 with operation Essential Harvest. The aim of the mission was to collect weapons that were voluntarily handed over from ethnic Albanian insurgents. The mission was very successful and together with the efforts of the International Community resulted in bringing to an end fights and clashes between the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* regular forces and insurgents, by signing the framework agreement in Ohrid that gave more rights to the Albanian ethnical population in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*.
The framework agreement is more known as "Ohrid Agreement”, which by many is assessed as historical. NATO continued its commitment to support the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, its authorities and citizens by continuing its presence with succeeding mission named "Amber Fox”which started on 26 September 2001. The mandate of "Amber Fox" was to provide additional security to International Community monitors in the crisis areas, while the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* authorities had primarily responsibility for their security. The end of "Amber Fox" mission was a remarkable example of how joint efforts of the International Community and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* authorities resulted in bringing the country from the brink of civil war back on the track of further democratization and improvement of human rights through a process of dialog and reconciliation.
As a result of the greatly improved security in the country, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* authorities and NATO decided to bring the mission to an end on Dec. 15, 2002, when the last extension of the NATO mandate expired. In order to demonstrate its commitment and support, NATO by invitation of the Government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia* on Dec. 15, 2002, started a new mission called " Allied Harmony”. Due to the greatly improved security in the country a special task force was no longer needed and therefore the executive command of the new NATO mission was given to the NATO Headquarters Skopje. The forces were also reduced from about 700 soldiers to about 450 while at the same time NATO kept almost the same number of liaison teams on the ground.
The mission consisted of both operational and advisory tasks along with other supportive activities as appropriate.
The operational part of the mission consisted of:
Liaison and monitoring operations focused on the former crisis areas in order to maintain links with authorities, forces, local leaders, local population and IC organizations.
It was also to demonstrate NATO's continued presence and commitment to facilitating the reconciliation process in order to promote stability by deterring the resurgence of ethnically motivated violence.
The advisory part of the mission consisted of:
Providing military advice to the country's authorities and defense security sector reform activities.
Provide military advice to and exchange information with, as appropriate host nation authorities, COMKFOR and SMR Albania on border security, smuggling interdiction and other matters as appropriate.
Provide military advice, when necessary and appropriate to the host nation to help co-ordinate national and NATO offers of military training and resources.
Provide military advice on organizational and training requirements.
"Allied Harmony" finished on 31 March 2003 when the tactical-operational part was handed over to EUFOR, while NATO kept its advisory role in the country.
*Turkey recognizes the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.