August 17, 2001: Nato forces arrive in Macedonia
Nato sent its first small detachment of advance troops into Macedonia to take a hard look at the precarious situation and prepare for the full deployment of a mission to collect rebel weapons. A transport plane carrying 15 French support troops arrived in the capital, Skopje. A contingent of about 40 members of a British air assault brigade was to follow the previous evening, and the Czech Republic sent in 120 soldiers to protect the advance party. About 350 more British soldiers will follow over the weekend to lay the groundwork for the British-led mission. The French soldiers, who were wearing green and maroon berets, quickly marched off the tarmac, ignoring some 100 journalists who had assembled to watch the arrivals.