SITUATION AND THE REGION-BUILDING EVOLUTION OF SOUTH-EASTERN EUROPE
(A Background and December 2003 Issue in Brief)
Study 56, 2003
ISSN 1311 – 3240
MONTHLY ELECTRONIC PERIODICAL
The last month of 2003 was an eventful and important one for the evolution
of Southeastern Europe. The issue of terrorism continued to dominate
the security environment of the area. DNA tests confirmed that one of
the victims of the Istanbul bombings in November was a Bulgarian citizen
– the fifth killed in terrorist acts within fourteen months. Bulgaria
stepped up its cooperation with the US and Cyprus in fighting terrorism
in December. The Turkish authorities say they have completely neutralized
the alleged Turkey-based al-Qaida cell that some believe may have organized
the terrorist acts on 15 and 20 November, although the Turkish president
made it clear early on that he did not believe there was any such connection
with al-Qaida. In Greece the court sentenced to life imprisonment six
of the activists of the ’17 November’ terrorist group, crushing the backbone
of the organization. Two Balkan states, Turkey and Slovenia, announced
plans in December to contribute to the NATO-led ISAF peacekeeping force
in Afghanistan. Bulgarian officials said that the second Bulgarian contingent
for Iraq would be ready to move into positions in Kerbala by 5 February
2004. Five Bulgarian soldiers were killed and 20 others wounded after
three consecutive attacks on 27 December in Kerbala.
In post-conflict regional developments, the EU police mission ‘Proxima’
took over in Macedonia from the EU military force ‘Concordia’, with parliamentary
approval from Skopje. Efforts to preserve security in the country are
taking a new direction with an accent on fighting organized crime. The
situation in this country, however, is still far from stable, and the
ethnic balance remains the crux of the problem. In Kosovo, the official
presentation of the ‘Standards for Kosovo’ to be achieved before the
future status topic is addressed, did not receive a welcome reception
by the government in Serbia. However, there is no other feasible policy
than working on the implementation of the standards. In Bosnia and Herzegovina,
the first steps towards centralized military leadership and command have
been undertaken – a real breakthrough, compared to the hard war and post-war
years. SFOR is further diminishing its numbers as a reflection of the
improving security situation. For Bosnia and Herzegovina, joining NATO’s
Partnership for Peace (PfP) program has become a more realistic perspective
At the national level, the new Croatian government took office and began
the implementation of its policy as promised before the elections. The
ambition of accelerating the accession to NATO and EU needs to be matched
with a continuation of reforms and a change of attitudes to meet the
high international demands. In Albania, the prolonged government crisis
was ended, and now the responsibility of the political elite will define
the future success or failure of the country’s reforms on the way to
NATO and EU.
In the area of bilateral and regional cooperation, there were continued
signs of improving relations and of old reflexes. The future EU membership
of Turkey became an issue of Greek domestic political and religious discourse
– strange enough in the leading EU country of the region. The increasing
cooperation between the Ministries of Justice in the Southeastern European
region was in stark contrast to the anti-Turkish comments made by an
otherwise respected Greek religious leader.
A major economic development in the reported period was seen in the preparations
for launching a Southeastern European airline company. It will eventually
link the capitals of the Balkan countries, which will stimulate regional
contacts in various areas.
The integration of Southeastern Europe into the EU and NATO continues,
and the December council meetings of the two institutions defined the
prospects for the coming years for the countries from the region. Bulgaria
and Romania were granted long-expected dates for completing the accession
negotiations at the EU summit. They will sign the accession treaties
and become full-fledged members of the community on 1 January 2007. The
two countries will most probably join NATO together with Slovenia before
the June summit, probably in March or April 2004, after the last ratification
takes place. All non-EU and non-NATO states from Southeastern Europe
were encouraged in their integration efforts. Even Bosnia and Herzegovina
and Serbia and Montenegro have substantially increased their chances
of joining NATO’s PfP by mid-2004.
Lastly, the new US basing policy and force restructuring will likely
lead to the establishment of US military bases in Romania and Bulgaria,
and will retain existing bases in Turkey. However, the process of base
and forces realignment is in its very early stages and far from clearly-defined.
Bucharest, Sofia, and Ankara have demonstrated their political support
for the US plans.
SECURITY THREATS, CONFLICTS AND POST-CONFLICT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE BALKANS
Terrorism and Post-War Reconstruction in Iraq and Afghanistan
of the specific features of the post-conflict development and region-building
policy is the participation of Southeastern Europeancountries in the
post-conflict reconstruction and rehabilitation activities in war-torn
areas as Afghanistan and Iraq. Preserving stability, bringing law and
order to the people of these countries bear grave risks for the life
of the participating troops and civilians. Responsibility to help others
is a small compensation of the external investments in the security
and economic progress of South East Europe. It is also the responsibility
of contemporary democratic societies to fight with all elements of
terrorism everywhere on the globe.
1) Bulgaria. On 2 December, DNA tests proved that a Bulgarian citizen,
Miroslav Kamenov Miroslavov (37), was one the victims of the terrorist
attacks in Istanbul in November. He was killed in the terrorist bombing
of the British HSBC bank. He was the fifth Bulgarian killed in terrorist
acts within a year. The first was a sailor on the French oil tanker
‘Limbourg’, attacked by al-Qaida in the Eastern Mediterranean on 6
October 2002. The second was a Bulgarian national with Austrian citizenship,
Emilia Uzunova. She died in Moscow during the hostage drama in a theatre
in late October 2002. On 5 January 2003, Palestinian extremists killed
Bulgarian citizen Krasimir Angelov in Tel Aviv, and Bulgarian citizen
Christo Radkov was killed near Jenin.
2) US-Bulgaria. In the first week of December, General Boyko Borisov,
the highest-ranking police officer and Chief Secretary of the Ministry
of Interior of Bulgaria, visited the US at the invitation of the head
of the US Secret Service, Ralph Basham. The FBI, the Secret Service,
and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) assessed the activity of their
Bulgarian counterparts in fighting organized crime highly, especially
concerning forgery and drugs trafficking.
3) Cyprus-Bulgaria. On 2 December, Bulgarian Interior Minister Georgy
Petkanov and his Cypriot counterpart Doros Teodorou signed an agreement
in Nikosia on cooperation in the fields of fighting terrorism, organized
crime, and illegal immigration.
4) Turkey. The Turkish press announced on 20 December that according
to one of the suspected organizers of the terrorist acts in November
in Istanbul who was arrested by the Turkish police, Adnan Ersoez, the
terrorist network al-Qaida had ordered and paid for the attacks that
took the lives of 62 people. The suspect confessed that preparations
for the two terrorist acts on 15 and 20 November had taken two years.
Earlier, on 15 December another suspect, Fevzi Yitiz, also allegedly
confessed that Osama bin Laden had been directly involved in planning
and ordering the terrorist acts in Istanbul. The initial intention had
been to attack the US military base in Incirlik, but the heightened protection
against terrorists led to change of plans and attacks in Istanbul seemed
easier. According to these reports, the al-Qaida network allegedly provided
US$400’000 for the terrorist acts in Istanbul. By attacking Turkey, the
terrorists wanted to punish a country that gave a bad example to other
Muslim nations by cooperating with the US and the EU. The attacks show
that Turkey has become a military battleground of the fighters for Islam.
A total of 159 suspected terrorists were arrested in connection with
the attacks in Istanbul, of whom 35 have already been brought to court.
Among the arrested was a suspected high-level al-Qaida leader, Turkish
citizen Harun Ilham (32). He lived in Afghanistan for four years and
was allegedly trained in a terrorist camp.
5) Greece. On 17 December, a Greek court convicted 15 members of the
’17 November’ terrorist group that has carried out murders and other
acts of terror in the last 27 years. Prominent Greek, US, British, and
Turkish diplomats have been among the victims of the terrorists. The
leader and mastermind of the terrorist group, Alexandros Giotopoulos
(59), the hit man of the organization, Dimitris Koufodinas, and four
other terrorists were sentenced to life imprisonment. The 15 were accused
of 2’500 crimes, including murders, bombings, and bank robberies. The
demise of the ’17 November’ terrorist group is welcome news ahead of
the Olympic games in Greece in 2004. Greek authorities said that more
arrests of ’17 November’ members may follow, but that the core of the
group had been destroyed.
1) Turkey. On 4 December, Turkey offered NATO’s ISAF peacekeepers in
Afghanistan three Black Hawk helicopters. NATO has taken on greater obligations
in providing order and security beyond Kabul, but is short on intelligence
staff and helicopters. NATO’s ability to expand the mission has largely
depended on the number of helicopters, with only three provided by Germany.
The total of 11 helicopters required by ISAF has been almost reached
after the Netherlands offered four helicopters on a temporary basis,
and Turkey sent three helicopters.
2) Slovenia. On 4 December, the Slovenian government decided to take
part in the peacekeeping operation in Afghanistan. Up to 20 Slovenian
soldiers are to join in the fifth ISAF troop replacement in Afghanistan.
The soldiers of the 1st brigade of the Slovene armed forces will participate
in the operation, which will take place between February and August 2004.
Two Slovene military will work in the ISAF command and the rest will
join the international brigade in Kabul.
c. Iraq/Coalition Forces: Bulgaria.
The second Bulgarian battalion of
the coalition of occupation forces in Iraq will take position in Kerbala
by 5 February 2004. The replacement of the present forces begins on 15
January. Part of the equipment of the new contingent is already on its
way to Kuwait by ship. The experiences made by the first battalion have
caused some changes of equipment for the second one. The Bulgarian troops
are part of the Polish-led occupation sector of Iraq. On 27 December,
five Bulgarian soldiers were killed and 20 wounded in three successive
car-bomb attacks in Kerbala.
The Post-Conflict Issues in Macedonia, Kosovo, and Bosnia and Herzegovina
a. Macedonia. (1) The EU police mission ‘Proxima’ replaced the EU
military operation ‘Concordia’ on 15 December at a ceremony in Skopje
attended by EU foreign and security policy chief Javier Solana and the
prime minister of Macedonia, Branko Crvenkovski. The police mission marked
a shift from peacekeeping to fighting against organized crime. Prime
Minister Crvenkovski strongly encouraged the departure of EU troops and
their replacement by the EU police mission, but many experts consider
the Macedonian security situation to be volatile still, and believe the
state will be unable to cope without an international security force.
By the end of January 2004, the police mission ‘Proxima’ should number
350 – 200 foreign police officers and 150 Macedonians. Police officers
will not be armed and will have no executive power. On 12 December, the
country’s parliament unanimously approved the new EU police mission.
(2) On 16 December OSCE, EU, NATO, and US representatives in Skopje welcomed
the results of the ‘Weapons Collection Program’. Many people with unregistered
weapons, ammunition, and explosives took the opportunity to hand them
over to the authorities. The program will continue until the destruction
of all items collected under international observation.
b. Kosovo. On 10 December UNMIK Chief Harri Holkeri presented the ‘Standards
for Kosovo’ – an extensive and detailed outline of the requirements that
must be met before the question of the future status of Kosovo is addressed.
According to UNMIK, the standards are designed to ensure that all people
in Kosovo, regardless of ethnic background, race, or religion, are free
to live, work, and travel without fear, hostility or danger and where
there is tolerance, justice, and peace for everyone. The standards cover
eight broad categories of democratization: 1) functioning democratic
institutions, including elections, the provisional institutions of self-government,
and media and civil society; 2) rule of law, including equal access to
justice; 3) freedom of movement, and free use of language; 4) sustainable
returns and the rights of communities and their members; 5) economy;
6) property rights, including preservation of cultural heritage; 7) dialog,
including Pristina-Belgrade dialogue and regional dialogue; and 8) Kosovo
Protection Corps, whose mandate is stated as a civilian emergency organization,
which carries out rapid disaster response tasks for public safety and
humanitarian assistance in Kosovo in times of emergency. On 12 December,
the UN Security Council in its 4880th session expressed support for the
‘Standards of Kosovo’ presented on 10 December in Pristina, after hearing
a briefing on 11 December from UN Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping
Operations Jean-Marie Guehenno. The UNSC endorses the ‘standards before
status’ policy in application of its Resolution 1244 of 1999. Kosovo
provisional institutions for self-government have to achieve certain
standards before the final status of Kosovo can be addressed. A first
opportunity for a comprehensive review of the standards is scheduled
for around mid-2005. The UN Security Council reiterated the primacy of
the regulations promulgated by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General
and subsidiary instruments as the law applicable in Kosovo. On 8 December,
Serbian officials said the UNMIK plan was unacceptable and insisted that
Kosovo remained part of their country. EU foreign ministers urged Serbs
and Montenegrins on 9 December to vote in pro-European, pro-Western politicians
at the elections on 28 December.
c. Bosnia and Herzegovina. (1) On 27 November, NATO Secretary-General
Lord George Robertson urged Bosnia during his last visit to Sarajevo
to improve its ‘schizophrenic’ military and arrest war crimes fugitives.
The state of having two armies in Bosnia, one for the Serbs and one for
the Muslim-Croat Federation, Lord Robertson said, was politically divisive,
economically exhausting, and militarily useless. He said no country was
able to maintain this kind of defense schizophrenia. During his farewell
tour to Sarajevo, Lord Robertson told Bosnians that arresting war criminals
was the responsibility of their elected officials, and not among NATO’s
prime tasks. (2) On 1 December, NATO defense ministers agreed to slash
the Alliance’s SFOR peacekeeping force in Bosnia and Herzegovina from
11’900 to 7’000 by next March. NATO has been in this country since 1995,
and would be amenable to an eventual transfer of SFOR to the EU at a
later stage. NATO is ready for that step because of the improving situation
in Bosnia and Herzegovina. NATO will not disengage and may retain a liaison
office in Sarajevo. NATO may also eventually use its recently launched
Response Force, which can be deployed to hotspots within five days, as
a deterrent in case problems flare up in Bosnia after the alliance pulls
out. (3) On 1 December, Bosnia and Herzegovina adopted the first central
defense law since the 1992-95 war, unifying the command of the country’s
separate ethnic armies in a key step toward joining NATO’s PfP Program.
The law establishes a central defense and command headquarters to control
the armies of Bosnia’s two highly independent entities – the Muslim-Croat
Federation and the Serb-run Republika Srpska. The international community’s
High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Paddy Ashdown, said that
membership in NATO offered Bosnia the best chance of long-term peace
and security, and said the decision of 1 December gave hope to all those
who want to see the country become a functional state on the road to
Europe. Under the law, the Supreme Commander will be Bosnia’s tripartite
central presidency composed of three members – a Croat, a Muslim, and
a Serb. It also introduces the post of a defense minister within the
central government. The armed forces will have a common General Staff,
a single uniform, and one flag, although they will remain ethnically
distinct. The law of 1 December is a step forward in changing the rules
of the Dayton Agreement by using provisions of the Agreement itself.
(4) On 10 December, the ICTY in The Hague sentenced Dragan Obrenovic,
the former commander of a Bosnian Serb brigade, to 17 years in prison
for his participation in the persecution of Bosnian Muslim civilians
after the fall of the Srebrenica enclave in July 1995. Obrenovic pleaded
guilty to one count of crimes against humanity.
THE NATIONAL PERSPECTIVES OF THE BALKAN COUNTRIES: SPECIFIC ISSUES
Albania. On 14 December, the
governing Socialist Party in Albania re-elected Fatos Nano as its leader
for a four-year term. On 20 December, the Socialist Party negotiated
an agreement with a handful of minor parties to form a new government
and end a five-month-old crisis generated by internal conflicts in the
ruling party. President Alfred Moisiu warned on 18 December that he would
call early elections unless the government crisis came to an end soon.
The next parliamentary elections are due to be held in 2005.
2. Bulgaria. (1) The Ministry of Defense of Bulgaria announced on 15
December that Bulgarian armed forces will have a new structure in 2005
after the country joins NATO and will start implementing reform plans,
which will be completed in 2015. The new structure has been approved
by military and civilian experts and will include three levels of command
– the General Staff, the general staffs of the different armed forces,
and brigade-level command. The Strategic Defense Review that is in process
will end in March 2004. (2) On 17 December the National Security Consultative
Council, together with the president, approved the establishment of US,
NATO, and allied forces military bases in Bulgaria. (3) In December,
the German company Daimler-Chrysler signed a US$316 million contract
to supply 12’900 transport vehicles for the Bulgarian army, which is
beginning to adapt arms and equipment to NATO standards. The order will
be carried out in the next eight years and includes various kinds of
trucks and off-road vehicles.
3. Croatia. On 22 December, Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader (50)
presented his center-right cabinet to the inaugural session of parliament.
The new government vowed to raise living standards, earn the trust of
the West, and speed progress to EU membership. A total of 88 MPs in the
152-seat parliament voted for Sanader’s government. 12 of the 14 ministers
will be from the conservative HDZ party of the prime minister, who won
the elections in November. The foreign minister of the new cabinet will
be Miomir Zuzul (48), a career diplomat and former ambassador to Washington,
4. Serbia and Montenegro. Early parliamentary elections were held in
Serbia on 28 December. Their aim was to overcome the political deadlock
by constituting a parliament that would elect a new government and the
president of Serbia. Final results will be officially announced on 1
January 2004, but initial reports show that the winner is the Serbian
Radical Party of Vojislav Seselj, indicted for war crimes by the ICTY
in The Hague. The right-wing extremist party is presently chaired by
Tomislav Nikolic. The party won 85 seats in the Serbian parliament, allowing
it to block any constitutional change that could allow Serbia to break
out of the current political stalemate. The initial results put Serbia
again in the political backyard of the region, pulling it and the Serbian
people back to the past.
THE STATE OF BILATERAL, MULTILATERAL AND REGIONAL RELATIONS IN THE BALKANS
1. Bilateral Relations
a. Greece-Turkey. On 4 December the head of the Greek Orthodox Church,
Orthodox Archbishop Christodoulos, called neighboring Turks ‘barbarians’
who had no place in the “Christian” EU. The Archbishop has attacked the
Greek government in the past for improving ties with Turkey. He said
during a sermon in Athens that the Muslim nation could not be allowed
to join the EU, because ‘no barbarian can come into the family of Christians’.
He added that diplomacy was good, but Greeks could not forget their history.
This declaration reflects misconceptions within the EU regarding its
social and political significance, as well as typical bilateral Greek-Turkish
problems that require vision and far-sightedness to overcome.
b. Macedonia-Bulgaria. On 15-16 December, Bulgarian Defense Minister
Nikolai Svinarov visited Skopje and met with Macedonian Defense Minister
Vlado Buckovski. The Macedonian host underlined the importance of the
Bulgarian donation of tanks for his country during the crisis in 2001.
He thanked his Bulgarian counterpart for the support in dealing with
problems on the way to NATO membership. The two ministers signed an Annual
Plan for Bilateral Military Cooperation in 2004. The Bulgarian defense
minister also met with Speaker of the Parliament Ljubco Jordanovski and
with President Boris Trajkovski.
2. Regional Relations: Stability Pact for Southeastern
The Fourth Balkan Regional Meeting of the Ministers of Justice was convened
on 10 December in Sofia. This time, the topic was: “The trafficking of
children and the protection of the victims of crimes and witnesses”.
The ministers of justice from the region signed a joint document that
enlists the measures the individual countries will undertake: drafting
of adequate laws; introduction and implementation of procedures for protection
of victims and witnesses; creating efficient mechanisms for fast identification
of child trafficking victims, etc. Bulgaria and Albania have already
signed an agreement on implementing such measures. Helga Konrad of the
Stability Pactfor Southeastern Europe told the conference that the EU
countries would establish quotas for protected persons who will be accepted
and hidden in other countries. There are between 120’000 and 200’000
victims of human trafficking in the Balkans annually, including children.
THE ECONOMIC SITUATION OF THE BALKAN COUNTRIES AND THE REGION
IMF-Bulgaria. On 1 December,
Bulgaria became the 55th country to subscribe to the IMF’s Special Data
Dissemination Standard (SDDS), which was established in 1996 as a guide
for providing the public with more timely and comprehensive economic
and financial data. Subscribers promise to provide the IMF with information
on how they disseminate statistical data. According to the IMF, this
contributes to the pursuit of sound macroeconomic policies and the improved
functioning of financial markets.
2. Slovenia. On 15 December, the Slovenian Statistical Office reported
that Slovenia’s economy had grown by 2.3 per cent over the previous year
in the third quarter. Nevertheless, it would be premature to forecast
a clear upturn of the economy. Slovenia’s GDP growth in 2000 was 4.1
per cent, in 2001 it was 2.9 per cent, and in 2002 it was 3.2 per cent.
Slovenia hopes to be part of the Euro zone by 2007.
3. Bulgaria. The GDP of Bulgaria grew by 4.3 percent in the third quarter,
according a statement by to the National Statistics Institute of Bulgaria
on 22 December. GDP growth for the first nine months of 2003, compared
to the same period of 2002, was 4.2 per cent. The purchasing power of
Bulgarian consumers, however, is still a fraction of that of the average
EU citizen (26 per cent).
4. Southeastern European Airline. A Balkan regional airline is in an
advanced planning stage, according to sources in the Stability Pact for
Southern Europe. Shortly before Christmas, it was announced that the
airline will link the capitals of seven Balkan countries – Sofia, Bucharest,
Belgrade, Zagreb, Sarajevo, Skopje, and Tirana. The new air company will
not compete with national carriers on trans-Atlantic routes. So far,
Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Montenegro, and the European Bank for Reconstruction
and Development (EBRD) have supported the project.
THE PROCESS OF DIFFERENTIATED INTEGRATION OF SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE INTO
THE EU AND NATO
EU – South East Europe.
EU summit of 12-13 December approved four crucial terms for Bulgaria’s
EU accession efforts: 1) the very beginning of 2004: by this time, the
EC must provide Bulgaria with the financial framework for the period
2007-2013, so that Sofia can conclude the negotiations on the remaining
three financial chapters as well as the chapter on competition with the
present Commission; 2) EU leaders supported Bulgaria’s plan to complete
the accession negotiations in 2004; 3) EU agreed to sign the accession
treaty with Bulgaria at the earliest possible date in 2005; and 4) Bulgaria
will become a full-fledged member of EU on 1 January 2007. Romania was
given similar target dates, with the additional condition ‘depending
on the individual achievements’. Bucharest is for the time being lagging
behind Bulgaria in the accession negotiations, but experts believe this
can be compensated in the following months. On 4 December French President
Jacques Chirac wrote in a letter to Bulgarian Prime Minister Simeon Coburgotski
that Paris supports without any reservations the efforts of Bulgaria
to join the Union in 2007. The EU summit decided to offer Turkey a date
for starting the accession negotiations in December 2004 only if Ankara
executes important political and economic reforms by the end of 2004
and makes efforts to solve the Cyprus issue. The official application
of Croatia to join the EU will be formally considered by the EU Council
in the first half of 2004, but the Council called on the new government
in Zagreb to make all efforts to meet EU standards and entry criteria
before it could open entry talks. The EU statement “added that Croatia
had to show full cooperation with the ICTY in The Hague and also carry
through on promises to boost minority rights and facilitate refugee returns”
(Associated Press, 9 December 2003). The EU foreign ministers promised
the Western Balkan countries as a group future membership in the EU at
a meeting on 9 December and called on them to speed up political and
economic reforms and cooperate more with Brussels to fight human trafficking
and organized crime. EU leaders promised to provide an extra €210 million
on top of €4.65 billion for the 2000-2006 period to stimulate promoting
of reforms in the Western Balkans, but gave no specific pledges as to
when the countries there could apply to join the EU.
2. NATO – Seven Candidate Countries.
(1) On 27 November, Belgium ratified
the accession protocols of the seven candidate states to the Washington
Treaty (1949), including those of Bulgaria, Romania, and Slovenia. 136
Belgian MPs voted in favor and only one abstained during the voting.
(2) On 2 December, the Alþingi (the Parliament of Iceland) ratified
the NATO accession protocols of the seven candidate states. Only the
Green MPs abstained. (3) On 18 December, the Upper Chamber of Dutch Parliament
approved entry protocols for the accession of the seven candidates to
NATO. The Lower House approved the documents on 25 November. What is
still needed is the signature of the Dutch Queen Beatrix. (4) The NATO
Council, in a session of the foreign ministers, decided on 4 December
to integrate the seven candidate countries by the end of March or the
beginning of April 2004, i.e., before the Istanbul summit in the end
of June 2004. It is expected that in the following three months, Spain,
Portugal, and France will complete the ratification process of the accession
protocols of the seven candidate countries to the Washington Treaty.
3. NATO – Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
General Lord Robertson visited Belgrade and Sarajevo November 26-27 to
discuss NATO partnership status with Serbia and Montenegro (SaM) and
Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). In Belgrade Robertson reiterated that a
vital precondition for future cooperation remained the arrest and handover
of indicted war criminal Ratko Mladic, who is believed to be hiding in
Serbia and Montenegro. In Sarajevo the Secretary General said defence
reform and creating a joint ministry is a key precondition for Bosnia
and Herzegovina to become a NATO partner.” In
Belgrade Lord Robertson met with President Marovic, Foreign Minister
Svilanovic, Defense Minister
Tadic and Deputy Prime Minister Covic. The Secretary General also addressed
the Military Academy in Belgrade, urging army commanders to leave the
past behind and look to the future. Lord Robertson discussed in Belgrade
the offer of Serbia and Montenegro to send troops to NATO-led ISAF forces.
In Sarajevo he talked with the SFOR commanders, the High Representative
of the international community, Lord Ashdown and the Bosnian Presidency
4. NATO – South East Europe.
At meeting on 4 December in Brussels, the
NATO foreign ministers issued a communiqué encouraging Albania,
Croatia, and Macedonia to “continue pursuing the reforms necessary to
advance their candidacies for NATO membership and offered support for
the reform efforts. It also reaffirmed that the current round of enlargement
will not be the last and that NATO’s door remains open. The Ministers
recognized the progress made by Belgrade and Sarajevo in their efforts
to join NATO’s PfP, and said these countries would be welcomed into the
programme once they had met the necessary conditions, in particular to
detain and turn over persons indicted for war crimes by the ICTY in The
Hague. ” (http://www.useu.be/Categories/Defense/Dec0403NATOFMCommunique.html)
THE INFLUENCE OF OTHER EXTERNAL FACTORS ON THE REGION: NATIONAL GREAT
POWERS AND INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS
a. US – Turkey. On 9 December US Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman
visited Ankara and Istanbul and met with Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah
Gul. The High-ranking US official told his Turkish hosts the US wanted
to continue using the Incirlik airbase in southern Turkey. The visit
of Grossman was part of a tour of several European capitals to consult
over Washington’s plans to realign its troops in Europe. “The US is set
to restructure its forces in Europe to improve its ability to tackle
global terrorism”, according to recent comments by Colin Powell. The
change of the US force structure would be a positive thing for NATO and
would strengthen it, Grossman said. The Turkish reaction was positive.
b. US – Romania. On 9-10 December US Undersecretary of Defense Douglas
Feith arrived in Bucharest and discussed the establishment of US military
bases in Romania. Washington will start realigning its troops in Europe
next year (2004), although the whole process will take years. Feith met
with the Romanian foreign and defense ministers and discussed US needs
to change its base structure to adapt to the 9/11 threat environment
and the technological advances achieved by the US armed forces.
c. US – Bulgaria. (1) On 4-5 December, NATO Parliamentary Assembly President
and US Congressman Douglas Bereuter , visited Sofia. He held talks on
the possibility of setting up US military bases in Bulgaria. (2) On 11
December, US Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith visited Sofia and
met with President Georgi Parvanov, Prime Minister Simeon Coburgotski,
Foreign Minister Solomon Passy, and Defense Minister Nikolai Svinarov.
Feith acquainted Bulgarian leaders with the US government’s vision of
how to change its basing policy and global force structure. Bulgaria
is one of the potential new sites to host forces. The US was assured
of the Bulgarians’ political will to host such bases and to build up
the required additional infrastructure. (3) On 19 December, the Bulgarian
parliament approved by a margin of 200-3 the establishment of US military
bases on Bulgarian territory. Bulgaria says it sees this “cooperative
and responsible” attitude towards US military activity as part of the
global fight on terrorism. The reformed former Communist Party, now the
Bulgarian Socialist Party, also supported the vote.
2. Russia: Russia-Bulgaria.
On 17-18 December, the chairman of the Council
of the Federation of the Russian Duma, Sergei Mironov, visited Bulgaria
and met with the speaker of the Bulgarian parliament, Ognyan Gerdzhikov.
They discussed bilateral issues. Mironov said Russia was not enthusiastic
about the US bases in Bulgaria, but hopes the bases will be used for
3. OSCE – Bulgaria.
On 1 January 2004, Bulgaria will hold the OSCE presidency
for one year. The fight against terrorism will be a major focus of the
ended for Southeastern Europe with a definite progress of the security
situation and improved positions on the road to EU and NATO membership.
Some of the countries of the region are already participating in
activities aimed at bringing stability and peace to other trouble
spots of the world, and bringing sacrifices for this cause.
CONTACT AND REFERENCE
Dr. Plamen Pantev, Editor–in–Chief
ISSN 1311 – 3240
Dr. Tatiana Houbenova-Delissivkova
Address: ISIS, 1618
Mr. Valeri Rachev, M.
P. O. Box 231, Bulgaria
Mr. Ivan Tsvetkov, M.
Phone/ Fax: ++(359-2-)
Dr. Todor Tagarev