BALKAN REGIONAL PROFILE:
THE SECURITY SITUATION AND
THE REGION-BUILDING EVOLUTION OF SOUTH-EASTERN EUROPE
Background and July 2002 Issue in Brief)
Research Study 39, 2002
Hard copy: ISSN 1311 - 3240
AN I S N-SPONSORED
MONTHLY ELECTRONIC PERIODICAL
Four major tendencies
continued to characterize the evolution of the regional situation in Southeastern
Europe in July 2002:
The first tendency
is seen in the social shifts in various spheres and countries, induced
by the drive to join the EU.
Second is the
clear prioritizing of NATO accession by three of the six Balkan candidates
(Bulgaria, Romania, and Slovenia), motivated by the upcoming November
summit of the alliance in Prague.
The third tendency
is the intensification of Russian efforts to return as an influential
political factor in the Balkans, and, in particular occasions, in multilateral
great-power settings too.
The fourth is
growing importance of the fight against terrorism plays for the integration
of individual Balkan actors – regionally as well as on a European and
The perspective of EU membership is a driving force of change and
progress in the candidate countries already negotiating for accession
with the EU – in countries implementing their Stabilization and Association
Agreements (SAA) as well the few that are preparing to launch the negotiation
process for signing SAAs. The EU already has a functioning strategic political
toolbox for the Balkans that provide it with adequate active and reactive
approaches to the variety of issues the region is still grappling with.
For example, EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Javier
Solana visited Belgrade to try to accommodate the diverging positions
of Serbia and Montenegro on the constitutional basis of the new loose
federation of Serbia and Montenegro; the EU foreign ministers urged the
former Yugoslav states to accelerate the return of refugees; the Stability
Pact for Southeastern Europe highlighted the deficiencies of project drafting
in the recipient countries, etc. It is only a question of time when the
Balkan states will become more effective and will accelerate their integration
capabilities, which are expected to match the EU’s own expansion matrix.
The upcoming summit of NATO in Prague is a solid motivation to
press on the reforms that are indispensable to allow NATO to invite Bulgaria,
Romania, and Slovenia to join the organization. There are two types of
tasks that the three hopefuls for the Prague summit are expected to solve:
tasks that must be solved by November, and tasks that are part of a longer
process that has to continue at the highest possible rate until November
and beyond. If any issues in this area remain open, according to ISIS,
these would be issues related to adapting to the interim period after
Prague and the full integration in NATO. The ratification processes in
the individual countries will pose challenges to the new invitees, as
will NATO on specific topics. The sooner the three candidates start thinking
of these new tasks, the sooner full membership will be realized.
Russia is restoring its traditional influence in the Balkans through
various channels. After Russia recently joined the NATO Council and the
G-8 group and signed strategic agreements with the US, Russian President
Putin declared Russia once again to be a global power. This claim has
clear implications for the Balkan region as well: Russia is a strategic
energy supplier for all states in the region; Moscow continues to sell
arms to Greece; Russian economic subjects are receiving substantial support
from the state to join the privatization processes in different Balkan
countries. Where necessary, Russia deals with other great powers in multilateral
settings concerning certain problems in the Western Balkans.
During the past month, one of the oldest existing terrorist organizations
in the world, “17 November”, was broken up by Greek counter-terrorist
forces and police, in cooperation with US and British experts. The leader
of November 17 and his deputy were arrested, and the organization is expected
to be completely neutralized well before the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
The arrest of some terrorists is said to have prevented an attack on NATO
peacekeepers on their way from Thessalonica to the Former Yugoslav Republic
of Macedonia (FYROM) and Kosovo. FYROM decided to join the International
Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan as part of the Bulgarian
contingent. It also plans to participate in the Turkish contingent with
a small FYROM unit at a later date. Romania increased the number of its
troops in ISAF this month.
of the EU and most of its individual members to the current global security
situation has been informed by the fact that Europeans have lived for
long with the perception of an unavoidable vulnerability, including from
terrorist acts. Considering the present terrorist threat in Europe, ISIS
concludes that Europeans have not yet developed a perception of a ‘European
Homeland’. On one hand, the EU’s present vision reflects an inadequate
level of integration of Europe, but on the other hand, it is also evidence
of an under-estimation of the real danger terrorism poses on the world.
If the goal of terrorism is to spread terror and Europe is an easier target
than the US, terrorists will not miss the chance to bring their ‘terror
potential’ to bear in Europe too. What seems to be required is a more
encompassing concept of European security from terrorism than the one
presently cherished by EU states.
In July, a major
dispute about the new International Criminal Court (ICC) and its authority
to prosecute US war crimes led to dramatic discussions in the UN Security
Council that threatened the future of the peacekeeping mission in Bosnia
and Herzegovina. Analysts noticed that in the end of June the US Administration
extended for one more year the state of national security emergency in
connection with the Western Balkans. A clear US commitment to be a leader
in stabilizing the region, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, was the reading
of this decision. The US position at the UN Security Council meeting dealing
with the ICC was not new, but in practical terms it made the withdrawal
of the US forces from Bosnia and Herzegovina very probable. A final compromise
was reached that excluded the possibility of US soldiers being arraigned
before the ICC, and the stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina was preserved.
Some Balkan countries
experienced domestic political crises in July: in Croatia, the government
had to resign after disagreements between the ruling coalition parties;
in Serbia the ruling coalition also demonstrated lack of cohesion, and
the Constitutional Court has been involved in the political fight between
the Yugoslav president and the Serbian prime minister; in Turkey, the
government crisis led to the dissolution of the ruling coalition and to
a call for early elections in November In Albania, a significant consensus
decision was reached by the parliament that led to the election of the
relations were rather active and added to the evolving regional fabric
of cooperation. The trilateral links between the former Yugoslav republics
of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia promise to accelerate of
the return of refugees – an unfulfilled promise and an issue that is largely
criticized by the EU. The Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe sent
a troubling signal that inadequate preparation of the projects proposed
by the Balkan countries still prevents the donors from providing some
promised €5 billion.
The last meeting
of the Vilnius Ten candidates for membership in NATO before the Prague
summit focused on practical issues that remain to be tackled in the next
months. Bulgaria, Romania, and Slovenia are very close to receiving an
invitation to join NATO. An annual PfP navy exercise was organized near
the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria.
Of the major
world powers, the US continued to be the region’s most active political
and strategic partner, but Russia also demonstrated a growing interest
in the Balkan region – both economic and political. China also exhibits
a low-profile interest in developing its position in the region.
SECURITY THREATS, CONFLICTS AND POST-CONFLICT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE BALKANS
1. Security Threats:
As of 15 July, 405 Romanian troops were
stationed in Afghanistan. During their six-month tour of duty, they will
be providing escorts and guarding potential targets, as well as executing
combat missions 120km from Kabul. The Romanian soldiers are participating
on a voluntary basis. The battalion they come from has been participating
in peacekeeping missions in Angola, Albania, Kosovo, and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The US State Department announced on 2 July
that the administration was going to block the assets of three more people
who have provided leadership or material support to armed insurgents in
the western Balkans, thus threatening the international stabilization
efforts in the region. The sanctioned individuals are Gafur Adili, Nevzat
Halili, and Kastriot Haxhirexha. The repeated occurrence of armed insurgency
is a highly suitable milieu for terrorist activity in the western Balkans.
After discovering guns, ammunition, and
rocket launchers in an Athens apartment that could be a hideout of 17
November, the most elusive urban guerrilla group in Europe, investigators
have begun undertaking ballistic tests. 17 November emerged with the killing
of the US CIA station chief in Athens, Richard Welch, in 1975. The last
confirmed hit by the group was the murder of British military attaché
Stephen Saunders in June 2000. The guerrilla group takes its name from
a bloody 1973 student uprising against a military junta then ruling Greece.
23 killings are blamed on the group; among the assassinated were diplomats,
business executives, and military personnel.
After days of
persistent work, the Greek police and counter-terrorist forces dealt a
major blow to the terrorist organization by arresting more than a dozen
of its members, including the leader, 58-year-old Professor Alexandros
Giotopoulos and the second-in-command, Pavlos Serifis. The police also
found a flag bearing the organization’s device. A second terrorist weapons
cache was also found. Intelligence sources in Greece alleged there was
a link between the first 17 November member that was arrested, Sawas Xiros,
and the Muslim extremist group Muslim Brotherhood.
work of the Greek police has been largely supported by British Scotland
Yard investigators and US FBI agents. A resolute battle against terrorism
in Greece is indispensable on the eve of the upcoming 2004 Olympic Games
that will be held in Greece. Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis said
his country would be healed from the 27-year old plague of terrorism and
would arrest all members of the group. The arrest of alleged 17 November
members is alleged to have prevented a planned attack on a convoy of NATO
peacekeepers driving from the Greek port city of Thessalonica to FYROM
and Kosovo. The highway on which the troops were to drive had been scouted
and plans prepared to attack the convoy with rockets and car bombs.
The Macedonian press disclosed on 23 July
that Macedonian soldiers would join the Bulgarian ISAF contingent in Afghanistan.
Skopje also plans to support the Turkish contingent in Afghanistan with
a small detachment of soldiers.
“Europe Homeland” and the Fight Against Terrorism:
An Opinion of ISIS
It is time to start thinking in broader terms of Europe’s vulnerability
First, the European countries of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Chechnya
were already testing grounds for Islamic terrorism, apart from terrorist
activists in Spain, Corsica, Northern Ireland, and Greece, etc.
Second, many aspects of the 9/11 attacks were prepared in Europe (France,
Third, an unknown number of men, women, and children have been trained
in terrorist camps and schools to serve as potential suicide bombs, i.e.
there are enough “weapons” for this kind of terrorist activity.
Fourth, Muslim and non-Muslim anti-Semitism may easily blow into terrorist
Fifth, it is getting harder for terrorists to enter US territory, and
Europe remains a more easily accessible target for spectacular acts of
horror and destruction.
Sixth, one should never forget that terrorist masterminds are using foreign
policy and geopolitical considerations very opportunistically and would
hardly differentiate between the ‘Great Satan’, the US, and Europe, the
old colonizer, if a demonstration of horrific destruction and death were
needed for their cause.
A broader concept
of reacting to terrorism from the point of view of effective policing
and intelligence efforts is needed to protect the “European Homeland”
from the terrorist danger. Accelerating European integration as a needed
reaction to the negative repercussions of globalization as terrorism is,
could be the framework effort.
2. The Conflict
in FYROM and Post-Conflict Issues in Kosovo, Southern Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina
On 4 July, the Macedonian parliament formally decided
to hold general elections on 15 September. At the end of June, NATO Secretary-General
Lord George Robertson visited Skopje for one day and called on the political
leaders there to hold a peaceful campaign for the scheduled parliamentary
elections. Robertson’s concern was prompted by the ethnic fragility of
the country . He reminded the country’s leaders of the importance of the
implementation of the Ohrid Agreement of August 2001 for the stability
and peace. He emphasized that this was the key to the country’s stability
and future integration in a united Europe. Ethnic divisions in individual
countries are no longer acceptable in Europe.
On 11 July, the spokesperson of the US troops
in Kosovo, Major Mark Ballesteros, said that by the end of this year,
the US military would reduce its presence in Kosovo by about 1’000 troops,
or 20 per cent. The reduction is part of the NATO plan to reduce peacekeeping
forces in the Balkans by 4’800 to 33’200 troops. The reduction, decided
by NATO in May, is a reflection of the progress Kosovo has made in the
last three years. The announcement concerning the reduction plans came
as US forces began a rapid-deployment exercise in eastern Kosovo, which
is under the control of US troops. 200 soldiers from the US Army Southern
European Task Force in Vicenza, Italy, parachuted into a training area
30 miles east of Pristina on 11 July. They were joined for the training
and peacekeeping exercise by 200 US Marines. The exercise included 1’000
soldiers and was especially important considering the reductions. It trains
US soldiers and demonstrates that they can be rapidly deployed to Kosovo
Bosnia and Herzegovina
After a prolonged dispute in the UN Security
Council between the US and the other 14 member-states over the new International
Criminal Court (ICC) launched on 1 July, a decision was finally made to
exempt US soldiers from prosecution for war crimes after a procedure in
the UNSC each year. The US government threatened to withdraw its 2’500-strong
contingent from the 18’000 SFOR troops and to stop paying 25 per cent
of the UN peacekeeping bill if its troops were not excluded from these
provisions of the Court’s Charter. The US fears its citizens and soldiers
may be left vulnerable to frivolous or politically motivated prosecutions
for war crimes. The compromise decision rescued the SFOR mission and alleviated
Bosnian concerns that the situation could become destabilized. A withdrawal
of US troops would have been a real disaster for the security in this
country and the broader region. Bulgaria, the only Balkan country in the
UNSC, abstained during the voting in the beginning of the dispute, though
it is a signatory to the ICT agreement. The Bulgarian position is motivated
by the need to achieve consensus and prevent the US withdrawing from SFOR.
Preserving the stability in Southeastern Europe has always been a responsible
position and has required various extraordinary decisions and initiatives
at various times throughout the 1990s. During the deliberations in the
UNSC, the UK and France were discussing contingency plans if the US withdrew
THE NATIONAL PERSPECTIVES OF THE BALKAN COUNTRIES: SPECIFIC ISSUES
(1) In the last days of June, the National Assembly approved a report
on the state of the country's defense and armed forces in 2001. The government
approved the Bulgarian military strategy. It is purely defensive and is
based on sustained defense capability, compatibility, operational partnership,
modernization, and restructuring of the armed forces. (2) Smugglers have
begun avoiding the Balkan heroin channel to Central Europe due to the
effective measures taken by the Bulgarian official institutions. This
was announced in the press on 5 July by leading Bulgarian anti-drug agencies.
During the last two years, almost 50 per cent of all illegal drugs confiscated
in Europe were intercepted at the Bulgarian borders.
A political crisis led to the resignation of
the government of Prime Minister Ivica Racan. He will continue to carry
out his duties until the Croatian parliament decides about the composition
of the new cabinet. It is very probable that Racan will head a new coalition
government until the next elections in 2004.
After weeks of political conflict, the leaders
of the three parties of the ruling coalition agreed on 16 July to hold
early parliamentary elections on 3 November. This follows the loss of
the parliamentary majority by the government of Prime Minister Bulent
Ecevit. Many members of parliament of his Democratic Left Party left the
ruling parliamentary majority. This political crisis adds to the enormous
economic and financial problems Turkey has been facing for years. This
new element of instability is negatively reflected in the significant
role Turkey plays in that part of the world.
4. Serbia and
(1) The Financial Times reported on 25 July that
Yugoslav companies laundered US$4 billion through the second-largest bank
in Cyprus during the sanctions regime against the Former Republic of Yugoslavia.
The transactions were imposed in 1992-94 and have been under the control
of Slobodan Milosevic. (2) The parliament of Serbia decided to stage presidential
elections in the country on 29 September. Yugoslav President Vojislav
Kostunica and Deputy Prime Minister Miroljub Labus, a pro-Western economic
reformer, have hinted they will compete for the position of Serbian President
Milan Milutinovic when he vacates the position. (3) Kostunica’s Democratic
Party was excluded on 27 July from the ruling coalition of 18 parties
led by the prime minister of Serbia, Zoran Djindjic. The two leaders disagree
strongly on the arrest of Slobodan Milosevic and his prosecution by the
ICTY in The Hague. Kostunica continues to believe the release of Milosevic
to the ICTY was a mistake and an illegal act. (4) The views of the Serbian
and Yugoslav presidents on the one side, and of the Montenegrin leader
on the other, continue to diverge. The drafting commission for the constitution
was joined in the second half of July by EU High Representative for Foreign
and Security Policy Javier Solana, who pressed for agreement on and stability
of the new entity replacing the Yugoslav federation. While the Serbian
leadership perceives the new constitution as an opportunity to solidify
the federal character of a new single state, the Montenegrin leaders underline
the need for new institutions that would reflect the diverging interests
of Serbia and Montenegro.
On 24 July the new Albanian president, Alfred Moisiu
(73), was sworn in a month after his election by parliament. He was elected
by 97 out of 134 votes. He is the first Albanian president to enjoy the
support of both the ruling party and the opposition. The former defense
minister pledged to be the president of all Albanians and to bring his
country closer to EU and NATO membership. Another major task will be to
fight corruption and organized crime.
THE BILATERAL AND MULTILATERAL RELATIONS IN THE BALKANS. THE STATE OF
THE REGIONAL INITIATIVES
1. Bilateral Relations
Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov visited Croatia from 4-7 July at the
invitation of President Stipe Mesic. The two leaders signed agreements
on visa-free border regime. They pledged to step up the cleaning of the
Danube and the construction of the Sofia-Belgrade-Zagreb highway. President
Parvanov met with the speaker of the Croatian parliament, Zlatko Tomic,
Deputy Foreign Minister Vesna Tsvetkovic-Kurelez, and representatives
of the Bulgarian community in Croatia.
The Defense Minister of Turkey, Sabahattin Cakmakoglu, visited Bulgaria
from 8-9 July and met with his counterpart, Nikolay Svinarov. The Turkish
minister confirmed his country's support for Bulgaria's and Romania's
future membership in NATO. He said this would contribute to the balance
of security in Europe.
On 8 July, Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel visited Romania and
met with his counterpart, Mircea Geoana. They agreed on cooperation between
the two countries on their way to NATO and EU integration, and vowed to
increase the present level of commercial exchange of only US$140 million.
The two ministers were in agreement on the need to improve their cooperation
with those Southeastern European states that would not be included in
the integration processes with the EU and NATO soon.
On 25 July Greece announced it would continue its moratorium on naval
exercises in the Aegean Sea until the end of the summer. This diplomatic
move aims at reducing tensions in Greek-Turkish relations. The two countries
dispute the delimitation of the Aegean Sea.
e) Bulgaria-Serbia and Montenegro
Yugoslav Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic visited Sofia from 25-26 July
for official talks with his counterpart, Solomon Passy, as well as President
Georgi Parvanov, Speaker of the Parliament Ognyan Gerdzhikov, and Deputy
Prime Minister Nikolay Vassilev. The foreign ministers decided to reach
an agreement by the end of this year on the parameters of free trade between
the two countries. The Bulgarian minister of energy, Milko Kovatchev,
and Svilanovic discussed the possibility of extending the natural gas
pipeline from Bulgaria to Serbia by 100km. The two foreign ministers discussed
the future of the long-planned highway between Sofia and Nis, part of
a longer highway to Zagreb. The project faces financial difficulties,
and the Stability Pact is no great help in improving the limited transportation
links between Bulgaria and Serbia.
Herzegovina-Serbia and Montenegro
The presidents of the three abovementioned former Yugoslav countries met
on 15 July in Sarajevo, their first meeting since Dayton in 1995. President
Stipe Mesic of Croatia, President Vojislav Kostunica of Serbia and Montenegro,
and the three members of Bosnia's collective presidency, Beriz Belkic,
Zivko Radisic, and Jozo Krizanovic, discussed property rights, the return
of refugees, trade, and the fight against terrorism and organized crime,
and signed an agreement that pledged full cooperation with the ICTY in
The Hague. They also made a commitment to the return of refugees. The
Bosnians called on their neighbors not to support the separation of institutions
and systems needed for the normal functioning of the state - communications,
the energy system, education, the intelligence services, and the army.
If European and Euro-Atlantic integration is what the future holds for
the three countries, it will not be enough to be faithful to the formal
requirement of recognizing the sovereign Bosnian state and the existence
of three nations and two entities, as Vojislav Kostunica said during the
meeting. There are some remaining details that may cause the three countries
to stumble on this road and need to be resolved.
3. Regional Initiatives:
The Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe
Erhard Busek, the EU Stability Pact coordinator, said on 12 July that
Western donors were unable to distribute 5 billion in aid pledged
to the Balkans, because the Balkan states had failed to present viable
projects. The EU, the US, Canada, Japan, and international financial institutions
have pledged around 5.4 billion in 2000 and 2001, but have disbursed
little of it - aid only went to projects whose progress could be verified
on the ground. Busek is confident that by the end of this year, 2.4
billion will have been distributed.
THE ECONOMIC SITUATION OF THE BALKAN COUNTRIES AND THE REGION
The Export-Import Bank of the US (Ex-Im Bank) is guaranteeing a medium-term
loan that will allow completion of the 15-screen Kino Arena Multiplex
in downtown Sofia. On 1 July was announced that Washington D. C.-based
Somerset Investments will export the equipment to Alexandra Group Holding
OOD of Sofia. Riggs Bank, N.A., Washington, D.C. is the guaranteed lender.
The three countries announced on 17 July in Belgrade they would sign
a US$800 million deal in November on the construction of an oil pipeline
within the EU INOGATE program. The pipeline will link the Romanian Black
Sea Port of Constantia with Serbia's Pancevo refinery on the Danube river
and Omisalj in Croatia. The oil is expected to come from Russia, Kazakhstan,
Azerbaijan, and other Black Sea states, and will be piped to West European
destinations. Internal management problems inside the Serbian refinery
are still obstructing the project.3. US-Romania
The US Trade and Development Agency (TDA) announced on 18 July in
Washington that it had approved a US$531'750 grant to Termoelectrica,
Romania's state-owned thermal power generation company, to fund a modernization
survey of nine power plants. The signing ceremony was held on that same
day in Bucharest.
THE PROCESS OF DIFFERENTIATED INTEGRATION OF SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE IN EU
AND IN NATO
a) EU-Countries of Former Yugoslavia
The EU foreign ministers at a meeting on 22 July in Brussels urged
the countries of former Yugoslavia to speed up the return of approximately
one million people still displaced by the Balkan wars of the 1990s. The
ministers strongly condemned local obstruction of population return and
urged the respective countries to honor their commitment to address existing
legal and administrative issues. 1.5 million refugees, including more
than 300'000 people from ethnic minorities, have returned to their homes
in the region since the wars ended. But much more remains to be done,
especially to encourage ethnic Serbs to return to their homes in Kosovo.
Cooperation on the return of refugees would be a key factor in determining
the pace of closer ties between the EU and the former republics of Yugoslavia
on their way to joining the union.
On 29 July, Bulgaria closed its 21st accession negotiation chapter with
the EU - "Customs Union". There are eight open chapters and
one more is expected to be opened soon.
a) NATO-Vilnius 10
The ten East European candidates for NATO membership met in Riga from
5-6 July for the last time before the Prague summit. They focused on remaining
issues of concern for NATO and the candidates' governments, mainly corruption,
freedom of press, and anti-Semitism. Cooperation in the fight against
terrorism remained high on the agenda. US President George Bush and Britain's
Prime Minister Tony Blair sent video addresses. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania,
Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, and Slovenia have high hopes of receiving
invitations to join NATO in November.
b) PfP Navy Exercise "Breeze
2002" in Bulgaria
A scheduled PfP exercise took place from 24-28 July in the Bulgarian sector
of the Black Sea. Navy vessels from Bulgaria, Georgia, France, Italy,
Turkey, Ukraine, and the US participated in the rescue and humanitarian
THE INFLUENCE OF OTHER EXTERNAL FACTORS ON THE REGION: NATIONAL GREAT
POWERS AND INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS
The two countries confirmed their policy of engagement by vowing to dismantle
Soviet-era missiles by October this year.
b) US-Western Balkans
At the end of June, the US government decided to continue for one year
the national emergency with respect to the Western Balkans, because of
threats to peace and international stabilization efforts in the region.
(1) The US and Turkey exchanged memoranda of understanding on 11 July
in Washington formalizing the Turkish participation in the Joint Strike
Fighter (JSF) project for the next ten years with an investment of US$175
million. Turkey is the seventh country to join as a partner for JSF system
development and the demonstration phase, after the UK, Canada, Denmark,
the Netherlands, Norway, and Italy. (2) US Deputy Secretary of Defense
Paul Wolfowitz visited Turkey from 14-15 July. He discussed issues of
bilateral cooperation in coping with the persisting problems in UN relations
Romanian Foreign Minister Mircea Geoana began a working visit to the US
on 25 July. He met with State Department officials and with representatives
of Congress and international financial institutions. He also met academics
and media leaders.
Russian sources said on 23 July the Greek navy will purchase five warships
and other vessels from a shipbuilding company in St Petersburg. A final
contract has not yet been signed.
(1) Bulgarian diplomatic sources announced on 23 July that a new Bulgarian
consular service would be opened in the Russian city of Novosibirsk. (2)
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on 26 July it was not
involved in lobbying efforts by the Russian media and interested Russian
economic subjects for the privatization of one of the biggest Bulgarian
companies, the 'Bulgartabac' tobacco company. (3) Bulgarian diplomatic
sources announced that President Georgi Parvanov of Bulgaria would visit
the Russian Federation on 18-20 September. He is expected to meet President
Putin, Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, and the Russian Orthodox patriarch
Deputy Prime Minister U Ee of China visited Bulgaria from 15-16 July.
She studied business opportunities for Chinese firms in Bulgaria, including
CONCLUSIONS: THE SECURITY SITUATION AND THE REGION-BUILDING EVOLUTION
The Balkans did not generate any important security concern in July,
and the continuing stability helped NATO's decision to reduce its military
presence by the end of the year. The arrest in Greece of the alleged leaders
of November 17, the oldest active urban guerrilla group, marked a major
step in eradicating terrorism in the Balkans. Political tensions in Serbia
are expected to increase in connection with the crisis of the ruling coalition
and the lack of agreement on the new constitution drafted jointly by Belgrade
and Podgorica. The NATO summit in Prague this coming November has been
an incentive for the resolution of remaining reforms as a matter of priority
for Bulgaria, Romania, and Slovenia. This month, a major deficiency in
the functioning of the Stability Pact was disclosed: the inability to
link available donations with projects that are verifiable and meet certain
rules. An analysis of bilateral relations during the past month shows
that important infrastructure projects are waiting for financial support
and, if carried out, may significantly boost the economy of the individual
countries as well as economic relations in the region.
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