BALKAN REGIONAL PROFILE:
THE SECURITY SITUATION AND
THE REGION-BUILDING EVOLUTION OF SOUTH-EASTERN EUROPE
Background and February 2002 Issue in Brief)
Research Study 02, 2002
Hard copy: ISSN 1311 - 3240
AN I S N-SPONSORED
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The October 2001 arrests of Bosnia-based
members of the al-Qaida terrorist cell by NATO troops were given extensive
media coverage in February 2002: Facts were disclosed that confirmed the
initial suspicions of a terrorist link. The weak state of Bosnia continues
to be hospitable to the al-Qaida network within the strategically important
region of Central Europe. At the same time, Bosnia-Herzegovina remains
highly dangerous for US military forces. US-Russian joint counter-terrorist
structures indicated in February the need to cooperate in dealing with
the terrorist threat stemming from the Balkans. Turkish security forces
detained suspects in February with links to Osama bin Laden's terrorist
network. Turkey confirmed that it is prepared to lead the international
peacekeeping forces in Afghanistan in the next months. Turkish armed forces
will also train Afghan troops for the protection of the country’s government.
In February, Bulgaria increased
its economic support for the Afghan interim administration. Sofia will
also train Afghan officers. The Bulgarian defense and domestic security
authorities also stepped up their efforts to counter terrorism through
cooperation with Turkish, French, and Russian special forces. Both Bulgaria’s
and Romania’s applications for NATO membership are being considered in
terms of improving the allied capacity of countering terrorist pressure
from the East: The Black Sea coast is considered a front line of the alliance
in rebuffing terrorist activity stemming from the Middle East, Central
Asia, and the Caucasus.
The security situation in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)
showed signs of improvements, despite the difficulties experienced by
country’s authorities in re-establishing control of villages held by ethnic
Albanian rebels. At the request of the state leadership, NATO troops led
by Germany will most probably stay for an additional three months. The
NATO secretary-general visited Skopje, warning of the need to continue
the full implementation of the Ohrid peace agreement. Though the donor
conference is expected to take place in March and a domestic political
agreement has been reached to stage general elections in June this year,
a danger to the country’s security situation remains. This danger lies
both with the Albanian National Army (ANA) – an extremist and illegal
organization of ethnic Albanians – and with wrong political decisions
on the part of the government. The situation in Kosovo remained tense
after riots broke out both on the Albanian and the Serb side, when individuals
disrupting public order were arrested by KFOR and police forces. German
politician Michael Steiner took over as head of UNMIK in Kosovo in February.
His major ambition at the start of his term is to help form a government
and break the stalemate after the last November elections, as well as
to intensify the process of privatization in the province. Russia announced
it would withdraw part of its troops from Kosovo.
Despite the continuing volatility
of Bosnia-Herzegovina, efforts by the international community to stabilize
the security situation and strengthen the state institutions have not
ceased. Soon, Bosnia-Herzegovina will become the 44th member of the Council
of Europe (CE).
The Albanian prime minister resigned
in late January, and his successor from the same ruling party took over
in February. In Bulgaria, the prime minister and his government survived
a no-confidence vote in the country’s parliament and will press on with
their program for reforms. In the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY),
the trial against former leader Slobodan Milosevic did not stir the kind
of domestic upheaval the old demagogue and power broker had aimed to achieve
with his defense at the ICTY in The Hague. A controversial issue is the
EU's pressure on Montenegro to stop with its efforts to break away from
the present federation. In Croatia, huge defense cuts until 2005 were
Important high-level bilateral contacts
were realized among the Southeast European countries, adding substantially
to the stability of the region. A multilateral forum in Istanbul this
month of the foreign ministers of Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, and Romania
brought a new dimension to the activities preceding the NATO enlargement
decision in November this year in Prague. The two NATO Balkan states declared
their full support for the two neighbors’ applications to join the alliance.
Maybe another similar political demonstration at a higher level, possibly
involving the prime ministers of the four countries and presented to the
US president, could add additional political clout to the applications
of Bulgaria and Romania. The multiple effects of such a demonstration
would include specific positive regional repercussions: The Balkans could
make some decisive steps in the direction of a working security community
of nations should two major states from the peninsula join the alliance.
The membership of Slovenia, and later of Albania, FYROM, and Croatia,
will definitely provide an effective counter-measure to the destabilizing
tendencies in the region of Southeastern Europe.
In the meantime, both NATO and US
experts are scrutinizing the candidates' preparations for joining the
alliance. They toured the aspirant countries in February and will continue
to do so until November. Both Bulgarian and Romanian government representatives
visited Moscow in February in an effort to improve political relations
and to intensify economic ties.
SECURITY THREATS, CONFLICTS AND POST-CONFLICT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE BALKANS
1. Security Threats:
a) Al-Qaida Link in Bosnia
After NATO troops raided a Saudi aid agency based in Sarajevo last
October, computer files were found that provided evidence of planned terrorist
attacks on US territory. This report was confirmed on 21 February by Western
diplomats. Now it is absolutely sure that Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida cells
are still in Bosnia-Herzegovina. More than 3'000 Muslim fighters, or mujahideen,
fought on the side of the Bosnian government against the Serbs in the
1990s and some of them acquired local citizenship and passports, either
through marriages or through a law that allowed them to acquire citizenship
if they had fought against the Serbs for at least two years. Under the
corrupt system, some opted to simply purchase Bosnian passports for US$1'000-2'000.
Many of these passports were made out to persons who had never set a foot
on Bosnian territory. After being released from detention in February,
the six al-Qaida suspects were arrested on the spot by US officials and
transferred to Guantanamo, Cuba. Bosnia-Herzegovina is an ideal hideout
for the al-Qaida terrorist network, as the central authorities of the
federation are still very weak, the police is not yet effective, and the
borders are poorly guarded.
b) Arrests of al-Qaida Suspects
On 19 February, Turkish security forces detained three suspects with
links to the al-Qaida network. According to Turkish police sources, they
were planning bomb attacks in Israel. They have collected experience in
Afghan Taliban training camps. The three arrested were Arabs – a Palestinian,
an Iraqi, and a Jordanian, all belonging to a Middle Eastern group called
the Union of Imams. Turks who supported the three terrorists were also
c) US Central Intelligence Agency
(CIA) Report on the Balkan Situation
During testimony given by CIA Director George J. Tenet before the
Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on 6 February, Tenet described
the danger that Albanians might perceive the Slav-dominated government
and the international community as untrustworthy. The reading of ISIS
is that the perception of despair may easily push extremist-minded Albanians
to terrorist activity – a tendency the government should prevent by political
Discussing the Bosnian situation,
the CIA director underlined the dangerous combination of several factors:
the continuing presence of Muslim extremists from outside the region,
weak border controls, the large amount of weapons, pervasive corruption,
and organized crime. ISIS's reading of this combination is that Bosnia
is an ideal milieu for terrorist organizations and terrorist activity.
d) US-Russian Counter-Terrorist
Cooperation in the Balkans
The US-Russia Working Group on Afghanistan issued a joint statement
on 8 February in Washington, DC. It shows that the two sides have had
discussions concerning an increased terrorist threat in the Balkans. Both
countries have agreed to support the expansion of anti-terrorist cooperation
within the UN, OSCE, NATO, and other international structures, as well
(1) Germany, France, Turkey, and Britain reached an informal agreement
on 2 February according to which Turkey would take over from Britain as
the lead nation in the International Security Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
(2) Turkey announced on 4 February that it had been asked to train and
equip a military battalion in Afghanistan. Its mission will be to secure
the new regime in Kabul. Ankara will respond positively to this request
and will provide uniforms, equipment, and training for 600 soldiers.
(1) A special envoy of the Bulgarian Foreign Ministry in Kabul, Angel
Orbetsov, is laying the ground for Bulgarian economic support for Afghanistan,
including the restoration of the capital’s trolley-bus system. (2) The
Bulgarian contingent of 31 professional soldiers arrived in Afghanistan
for its mission within the British contingent. The Bulgarian parliament
ratified the memorandum for the creation of a Bulgarian ISAF military
contingent on 7 February. (3) The Bulgarian Ministry of Defense announced
that the Rakovsky Defense College would accept Afghan officers for training.
(4) The prime ministers of Bulgaria and Turkey agreed on 30 January in
Sofia to boost joint efforts in the global fight against terrorism and
drug trafficking. They agreed to tighten control of the Bulgarian-Turkish
border and prevent human trafficking, mainly of people from Iraq, Pakistan,
and Palestine. (5) A French Ministry of Defense official announced on
11 February in Veliko Tirnovo, Bulgaria, that joint training of counter-terrorism
commandos and cooperation in the training of crisis management staff is
envisaged in the new agreement on cooperation between the armed forces
of Bulgaria and France in 2002. (6) The general-secretary of the Ministry
of the Interior, Major General Boyko Borisov, invited members of the Russian
elite special forces Alfa to Bulgaria during a visit to Moscow on 11 February.
He also reached agreements on other cooperative measures in fighting terrorism
and the illegal trafficking of nuclear materials and weapons. (7) On 26
February, the ministers of the interior of Bulgaria and FYROM signed an
agreement in Skopje to fight terrorist activity.
2. The Conflict
in FYROM and Post-Conflict Issues in Kosovo, Southern Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina
A booby trap killed one Macedonian in the village of Aracinovo, some
10 kilometers southeast of the capital Skopje on 10 February. Albanian
insurgents were blamed for the tragedy, and a fierce protest was staged
by Aracinovo villagers in front of the parliament in Skopje on 11 February.
Minister of the Interior Liube Boskovsky accused Albanian ANA extremists
of continuing their occasional attacks with the purpose of destabilizing
the overall peace process in the country. In implementation of the Ohrid
peace accords Macedonian police, including ethnically mixed formations,
have returned to more than 60 per cent of the villages controlled by Albanian
rebels. Defense Minister Vlado Popovsky expects a spring offensive of
the Albanian rebels. According to Popovsky, 3'500 extremists possess weapons.
If the correct political steps are taken, they might have the potential
to decrease the tensions. The announcement of the country’s early general
elections in June this year is one of these appropriate moves. It would
be dangerous if the police force was turned into a new armed force to
replace the regular armed forces. The government should also prevent the
creation of "ethnically cleansed" territories – a dangerous
precondition favoring the indiscriminate use of heavy weapons in an eventual
crisis. The ICTY in The Hague can help lower the tensions by fair prosecution
and trial of war criminals on both sides of the ethnic divide. The visit
of the president of FYROM, Boris Trajkovski, to Washington, DC, and his
meeting with US Secretary of State Colin Powell gave cause for optimism
that the dispute with Greece over the official country name would be resolved
by the end of this year. The upcoming donors’ conference on FYROM in March
will have a similar constructive effect on the domestic situation in the
country. During his visit to Skopje on 10 February, NATO Secretary-General
Lord George Robertson reminded his hosts how important the thorough implementation
of the agreements signed last August in Ohrid is for the peace process.
Following a request by the government of FYROM, Lord Robertson promised
to prolong the NATO monitoring operation Amber Fox in this country by
an additional three months.
(1) The Russian defense minister declared on 4 February that Russia
will downsize its KFOR contingent to free troops needed back home. Eight
hundred of the total 1'800 are expected to return to Russia. An important
argument for Russia is that there has not been a real armed struggle in
Kosovo during the past year. According to the Russian authorities, it
is time for police forces to step in and secure the rule of law in the
province. (2) The mandate of the new UNMIK chief, the 53-year-old veteran
German diplomat and Balkan expert, Michael Steiner, began on 14 February.
Among his priorities at the beginning of his work are forming an active
government of Kosovo and the process of privatization. He believes that
despite all the difficulties, there is progress in the evolution of the
situation in the province.
c) Southern Serbia
The Yugoslav federal authorities announced at the beginning of February
that municipal elections would be held this spring in Southern Serbia.
The participation of both Serbs and Albanians in these elections is a
crucial prerequisite for the future stability of the region, plagued with
armed ethnic clashes for many months in 1999-2000. The cooperation of
the international community, including NATO, with the Yugoslav authorities
led to a lessening of the tensions and offered a chance for longer-term
stable political arrangements. The return of ethnic minorities, determining
the fate of the missing, the resolution of the issue of the political
prisoners, and improvement of conditions for the ethnic minorities, are
elements of longer-term solutions.
(1) At the end of January, the Parliamentary Assembly of the CE (PACE)
voted that Bosnia-Herzegovina be granted accession to this organization.
Thus, Bosnia-Herzegovina is expected to become the 44th member of the
CE by the end of 2002. (2) There is an ongoing discussion between the
country’s authorities and OSCE representatives over the issue of reducing
the armed forces from 35'000 to 10'500. The question of social re-integration
of laid-off workers is grave, considering the high unemployment in the
THE NATIONAL PERSPECTIVES OF THE BALKAN COUNTRIES: SPECIFIC ISSUES
Greece plans to sign arms contracts
worth US$10 billion in the next two years as part of the modernization
program of the Greek armed forces. US and Israeli companies are the main
contenders for the contracts.
On 13 February, the government of
Simeon Saxkoburggotsky survived the first no-confidence vote in the parliament
with 134 opposed, 50 in favor, and 45 abstentions. The vote was initiated
by the opposition Union of Democratic Forces (UDF), which dramatically
lost power in the June 2001 general elections. The members of the other
major opposition coalition of Socialists and Social Democrats abstained.
In the last days of January, Albanian
Prime Minister Ilir Meta resigned after failing to resolve a long-running
feud in the ruling Socialist Party that paralyzed political life in the
country. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) froze some important and
expected loans. The ruling party nominated the Socialist Pandeli Majko
as the next prime minister on 6 February, and the Albanian parliament
approved this nomination on 22 February with 81 votes in favor and 42
(1) The signs of social and political
division in Serbia persisted this month. The narrow vote in favor of returning
some of the regional powers stripped from Vojvodina during the rule of
Milosevic highlighted again the different positions of Prime Minister
Zoran Djindjic – who favored the return – and President Vojislav Kostunica’s
party, which abstained from the vote. Serbian society also remained divided
over the trial against Milosevic in The Hague. While some Serbs praised
him as a national hero, a position interestingly supported by the almost
unanimous resolution of the Russian Duma, another part of Serbian society
insisted that Milosevic's demagogical statements should not hinder the
democratic reforms in this country. (2) The Yugoslav parliament appointed
agronomist and senior Socialist activist Velimir Radojevic as defense
minister on 29 January, following the resignation of Slobodan Krapovic
earlier in January. The main reason for this change is seen in differences
between Krapovic and President Kostunica over General Nebojsa Pavkovic's
position as chief of the general staff. Kostunica came to power in a bloodless
coup against Milosevic with the decisive support of General Pavkovic,
the armed forces, and the security services – a fact that will delay democratic
reforms in the defense establishment of Serbia for a long time to come.
(3) The constitutional status of Montenegro was the focus of EU and US
political attention in February. EU High Commissioner on Foreign and Security
Policy Javier Solana applied heavy pressure to one side, namely Montenegro.
This strategy actually polarizes the parties and makes the tense situation
worse. Some expert EU circles criticized this official position of Brussels.
The position of the US State Department, announced on 13 February by Secretary
of State Colin Powell, shows greater caution: While the US increased its
financial support for Serbia from US$105 million to US$110 million and
decreased the support for Montenegro from US$60 million to US$25 million,
the Bush administration will take the necessary time to see whether or
not Montenegro can find a way to stay within the Yugoslav federation.
Going slowly and not immediately calling for Montenegrin independence
provides the US with more opportunities to study the issue and clarify
the implications of such a policy change.
The Croatian Defense Ministry announced
at the end of January that 21'200 jobs will be cut by the end of 2005
as part of moves to adapt the Croatian military to NATO standards. Improving
the military budget and rejuvenating the armed forces are also expected
as results of the cuts. This target is to be achieved primarily through
early retirement plans and re-training.
THE BILATERAL AND MULTILATERAL RELATIONS IN THE BALKANS. THE STATE OF
THE REGIONAL INITIATIVES
1. Bilateral Relations
On 29 January, the Bulgarian National Electric Company (NEC) started providing
1.7 million kilowatt hours per day to the Montenegrin power grid, thus
allowing the republic to cease its power-saving regime. Three other foreign
companies contended for the electricity supplies in Montenegro.
A broad range of bilateral issues were discussed during the two-day
official visit of Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit to Bulgaria on
30-31 January. Among the talking points were energy issues, military relations,
the joint fight against terrorism, the issue of pensions of Bulgarians
who now live in Turkey, clearing the remaining minefields on the border
of the two countries, and the need to resolve unsettled property issues
between Bulgarians and Turks. Ecevit's meetings with Bulgarian Prime Minister
Simeon Saxkoburggotsky and with President Georgi Parvanov also dealt with
regional security issues and with Turkey’s support for Bulgaria’s NATO
The bilateral talks between the foreign ministers of the two countries
that started in New York in the beginning of the month were continued
on 12 February in Istanbul, Turkey. The long-term purpose of the talks
is to add to the rapprochement between the traditional rivals and NATO
allies in a more substantive way. In 1999, Turkey received candidate status
with the EU.
The prime minister of Greece, Kostas Simitis, visited Bucharest on
5 February and met with his counterpart, Adrian Nastase, and with President
Ion Iliescu. Simitis underlined Greek support for Romania’s membership
in both NATO and the EU as a factor contributing to the stability in Southeast
Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic visited Romania on 8 February
and met with Prime Minister Adrian Nastase to discuss bilateral and regional
The deputy prime minister of Serbia, Nebojsa Covic, visited Skopje
at the beginning of February. The two sides discussed the exchange of
experience and intelligence information in dealing with Albanian rebels.
Greek Defense Minister Yannos Papandoniou visited Bulgaria on 12-13
February and met with his counterpart, Nikolay Svinarov. Papandoniou met
also with President Parvanov.
Romanian Prime Minister Adrian Nastase visited Ankara on 18-19 February
and met with Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit. During this visit, the Turkish
authorities confirmed their firm support for Bulgaria's and Romania's
applications for NATO membership.
(1) FYROM Defense Minister Vlado Popovsky visited Sofia on 29-30 January
and met with his counterpart, Nikolay Svinarov. Skopje was negotiating
ammunitions sales, but not sales of heavy armaments, Popovsky said. His
country is in great need of up-to-date military personnel that is educated
and ready to implement new missions. (2) Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov
made an official visit to Skopje on 26-27 February – his first one there
and his second visit abroad after a trip to Brussels. Members of the delegation
included Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy and Minister of the
Interior Georgi Petkanov. Both signed agreements of cooperation with their
counterparts, which included provisions for closer coordination in the
fight against terrorism. President Parvanov met with President Boris Traikovsky
and Prime Minister Liubcho Georgievsky and spoke to the members of the
Turkey and Greece backed the applications
of their Balkan neighbors Bulgaria and Romania for NATO membership during
a meeting of the foreign ministers of the four countries on 13 February.
The post-11 September 2001 problems stem from an area close to these Balkan
countries, and the latter can form a strong barrier to terrorism and to
the illegal trafficking of drugs, weapons, and human beings. The next
meeting of the four ministers will be in Athens, and the Bulgarian foreign
minister suggested that the defense ministers of the four countries join
the meeting. According to some analysts, a coordinated visit of the prime
ministers of Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Turkey in Washington, DC, a
meeting with US President George Bush, and a convincing presentation of
the four countries’ NATO cooperation before the Prague summit of the alliance
may eventually play a strong political role for NATO's decision in November.
3. Regional Initiatives
a) Police Cooperation in Southeast
A meeting of the directors of the police services of the Balkan states
was convened in Thessaloniki, northern Greece, on 9-10 February. The topic
of the meeting was fighting organized crime in the region. The police
chiefs also discussed cooperation in fighting drugs trafficking and trade
with women and children. They agreed to establish a database on all serious
crimes and criminals and to link the police services electronically.
b) Pact of Stability
The Business Consultative Forum within the Pact of Stability was convened
in Sofia on 7 February and was attended by its coordinator Erhard Busek.
The forum agreed to involve local businessmen and resources more closely
in the pact’s projects. A few days later, Busek told the Austrian press
how important politically the integration in NATO of Bulgaria and Romania
would be for regional stability.
THE ECONOMIC SITUATION OF THE BALKAN COUNTRIES AND THE REGION
Japan has granted a loan of US$109.2
million to Bulgaria for the extension of the metro lines in Sofia. The
loan was agreed for a period of 30 years with the first re-payment in
10 years time. The annual interest rate is 2.2 per cent. A special part
of the agreement was the obligation of the Bulgarian side to preserve
the unique archaeological monuments at the lower levels of central Sofia.
On 1 February, the IMF endorsed
about US$16.3 billion worth of loans to Turkey for the period 2002-2004.
The loans were added to those granted in 1999-2001, worth around US$19
billion. Thus, Turkey has become the IMF’s largest borrower. Turkey will
use the first installment of US$ 7 billion for repaying part of its debt
to the IMF and for stabilizing the banking system of the country.
THE PROCESS OF DIFFERENTIATED INTEGRATION OF SOUTHEAST EUROPE IN EU AND
Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek said on 1 February that his
country expected a formal invitation to join the European Union (EU) and
to complete preparations for full membership in 2004. Slovenia, the prime
minister said, would be a net contributor to the EU, not a country that
requires subsidies or assistance.
(1) The Bulgarian government adopted a strategy on 7 February
for accelerating the country’s integration in the EU. Each ministry has
specific tasks within the overall strategy. Administrative and judicial
reforms, as well as the strategy of the structure funds, are at the heart
of the government’s strategy. (2) The Bulgarian president made his first
visit abroad on 6-8 February to the EC in Brussels. He confirmed the full
political commitment of Bulgaria to accelerating its preparations for
a) NATO-Southeast European Applicant
NATO experts and experts of individual NATO countries visited Albania,
FYROM, Slovenia, Bulgaria, and Romania during the past month. Significant
work has been done in Bulgaria, Romania, and Slovenia in adapting to NATO
standards. The simultaneous participation of Romanian and Bulgarian contingents
in SFOR, KFOR, and ISAF is impressive and considered by NATO to be a real
contribution to the missions of the alliance. Much work remains to be
carried out by both Albania and FYROM, but there is no alternative to
their future membership.
During his first visit abroad, Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov
met with NATO Secretary-General Lord George Robertson and with SACEUR,
General Joseph Ralston. Parvanov said that even if his country were invited
in November this year to join NATO, it would continue to work hard on
the modernization of its armed forces. Lord Robertson began a visit to
Bulgaria on 28 February. Bulgaria has already adopted amendments to its
military doctrine and has planned participation in 15 PfP military exercises
in 2002. A representative survey conducted by the Institute for Sociology
in Sofia shows that 76.9 per cent of the Bulgarians over 18 years have
been in favor of NATO membership.
THE INFLUENCE OF OTHER EXTERNAL FACTORS ON THE REGION: NATIONAL GREAT
POWERS AND INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS
(1) President Bush nominated James W. Pardew as Ambassador
Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of US to the Republic of Bulgaria. Presently,
Pardew serves as the special advisor for Southeast Europe in the office
of the assistant secretary of state for European affairs. (2) On 13 February,
General Carlton Fulford, deputy commander of the US European forces, arrived
in Sofia. Later in March, US experts will arrive to discuss the destruction
of SS-23 missiles, for which the US will provide substantial financial
support. (3) The commander of the US ground forces in Europe, General
Montgomery Mages, arrived in Bulgaria on 20 February to study the options
of Bulgaria’s hosting exercises for US infantry units. During his visit,
he inspected the training field of Novo Selo and a Bulgarian military
unit in Kazanlak. He also met with General Staff officers in Sofia. (4)
A US military delegation from the Pentagon arrived on 21 February, led
by General Gregory Rountree, deputy chief of the Europe department that
will study the reform of armed forces in the period 26 February-1 March.
The delegation visited the training field of Koren and the multinational
brigade in Karlovo.
Romanian President Ion Iliescu began his visit to Washington, DC,
on 5 February. Romanian Foreign Minister and former ambassador to the
US Mircea Geoana accompanied him. During the three-day visit, Iliescu
met with the US president and with senior US administration officials.
He also gave a speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC.
In mid-February a Romanian delegation headed by Prime Minister Adrian
Nastase visited Moscow in an effort to improve the bilateral relations.
A visit by Iliescu to Moscow is already in the process of preparation
and will take place later this year.
Bulgarian Foreign Minister Solomon Passy visited Moscow from 30 January
to 1 February and held talks with his counterpart, Igor Ivanov. A visit
by Prime Minister Saxkoburggotsky to Russia is in being prepared. Russian
Duma members visited Sofia in February. The trade deficit of Bulgaria
with Russia was US$1.43 billion in 2001.
CONCLUSIONS: THE SECURITY SITUATION AND THE REGION-BUILDING EVOLUTION
The Balkans have proved to be one
of the hotspots in the campaign against terrorism, and the region-building
efforts through NATO enlargement have to take this threat into consideration.
The preparedness of five Balkan NATO membership candidates was closely
scrutinized. Intensive bilateral contacts, as well as multilateral and
regional relations, contributed to the cooperative atmosphere in the region.
Each of the continuing post-conflict tensions has a good chance of being
diffused and brought under control.
CONTACT AND REFERENCE
Dr. Plamen Pantev, Editor–in–Chief
ISSN 1311 – 3240
Dr. Tatiana Houbenova-Delissivkova
Address: ISIS, 1618 Sofia,
Mr. Valeri Rachev, M. A.
P. O. Box 231, Bulgaria
Mr. Ivan Tsvetkov, M. A.
Phone/Fax: ++(359 - 2-) 551 828
Dr. Todor Tagarev