BALKAN REGIONAL PROFILE:
THE SECURITY SITUATION AND THE REGION-BUILDING EVOLUTION OF
(A Background and July 1999 Issue in Brief)© Institute for Security and International Studies (ISIS), Sofia
Research Study 9, 1999
ISSN 1311 3240
AN I S N SPONSORED MONTHLY ELECTRONIC PERIODICAL
VI. THE INFLUENCE OF EXTERNAL FACTORS ON THE REGION: NATIONAL GREAT POWERS AND INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS
The monolithic backing in Serbia of Slobodan Milosevic continued to wither and sublimate in July 1999. In philosophic terms this should be no surprise to anyone when KFOR restores security and dignity in a sovereign Serbian region and the UN social order and civilised administrative regulation. These same tasks have been a major constitutional obligation of Mr. Milosevic that he failed to implement. On the contrary he set one part of his people on another causing death, suffering and devastation of infrastructure, of human life and of human spirit. However, the anti-Milosevic process is still at the stage of gathering momentum and much more needs to be performed by the Serbian people and its opposition leaders.
Beyond Kosovo and FRY in July 1999 the Balkans heard a resolute and solemn promise from the leading member-countries of the Pact for Stability in Southeastern Europe there will be no return on the way of integrating the region in the European and the Euroatlantic institutional and social structures.
II. CONFLICTS AND POST-CONFLICT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE BALKANS
The Balkan regional situation was dominated by the Kosovo post-conflict developments.
By the end of July 1999 the number of KFOR forces in Kosovo was about 40,000, and is expected to reach by early September 1999 the full deployment strength of about 52,000. KFOR troops in implementation of the UNSCR 1244 are establishing a secure environment, demilitarising the KLA, providing protection for the Serb minority in the province and secure routes for the return of the refugees/deportees. KFOR forces have been also instructed by the NAC to take pro-active stance in helping the ICTY and its Chief Prosecutor. The KFOR operation is a military one with a military mission. It is NATO dominated, under NATO command, with supreme political authority resting in the NAC but 14 PfP countries joined the effort, including Russia. Five non-European nations also joined the operation. The United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy alongside with the United States shape the bulk of the KFOR structure in Kosovo. The Russian units operate in the US, German and French sectors. The command arrangements preserve the principle of unity of command that is vital to the success of the multinational operation. The Russian troops in Kosovo are under the political and military control of the Russian Command, but are under the tactical control of the relevant sector commander a pattern, experienced in Bosnia. There are joint patrols of US and Russian troops in the East and in the South US sectors. The resumption of the consultations in the Russia-NATO PJC in Brussels on 23 July 1999 surely will contribute to the implementation of the UNSCR 1244. Russia has definitely showed it continues to be supportive of the Serbs but not necessarily of President Milosevic.
Periodic reviews of the security situation and of the progress to the establishment of a secure, autonomous, self-governing Kosovo within FRY will define how KFOR will adjust to the situation and how long it will stay. There is no deadline but there are also no plans for an indefinite commitment of NATO troops in the province.
The situation in Kosovo remains tense and dangerous. There are real risks for casualties. The 90 days period for disarming KLA according to the signed military agreement on 21 June 1999 Undertaking of Demilitarisation and Transformation, have not expired yet. There were already many incidents with KFOR soldiers, defending Serbs from Albanian revenge attacks. The massacre of 14 Serbs in the last month raised the tensions. The mutual hatreds continue, the drive for revenge with the Albanians is a real issue and multiethnic harmony will obviously not be achieved soon. However, in Kosovo, compared to Bosnia there is less risk of an outbreak of widespread internal armed conflict among the entities. This provides more opportunities to the activity of the UN mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), especially if Serb paramilitaries are not provoked by the continuing Albanian (in some cases KLA tolerated) attacks against the few Serbs in the area.
By the end of July 1999 more than 80% of all the refugees that fled the province returned back home a number of more than 800,000 people. The fate of Albanians in Serbian jails remains yet undetermined.
By the end of the same period 390 mass burial sites have been identified and 69 of these have been confirmed by the ICTY. The large-number killings are by now 10,000 , which is a conservative estimate. It has been quite impossible to keep track of the individual killings during the conflict itself. The society will regain its health when those who have perpetrated war crimes against innocent civilians are identified and brought to justice.
The lesson of Bosnia learnt for Kosovo was to avoid the time lag between the military implementation of peace and the start-up of the civilian implementation. In Kosovo functioned temporarily a UN Interim Special Representative, Sergio Vieira de Mello who started the complicated undertaking during the first difficult weeks. The former French Minister of Health, Dr. Bernard Kouchner became the Permanent UNSG Special Representative in Kosovo and head of UNMIK. The most urgent tasks of the UNMIK are to develop the Kosovo police service, to carry out for some time international civilian police operations and to develop justice and penal systems. OSCE and other organisations will be in support to implement these tasks. The implementation of a comprehensive human rights and democratisation agenda for Kosovo is another significant task for UNMIK and for its OSCE sub-unit. It is important to note that UNMIK started from nothing.
Two important events in the international communitys offer to rebuild Southeastern Europe with Kosovo at the focus in the start of the process marked the last days of July 1999. First, this was the Kosovo Donors Coordination Conference on 28 July 1999 in Brussels. Its major objective was to put the international financing on the table to cover the immediate humanitarian and reconstruction needs in Kosovo and to draw up medium to longer-term assistance requirements. A few weeks earlier, soon after the end of the fighting and the conclusion of the peace agreements the EU established a reconstruction agency for Kosovo in Thessaloniki, Greece with an office also in Pristina. The US contribution to the reconstruction and recovery of Kosovo will be $ 500 million. Ambassador James Dobbins, US Special Advisor to the President and the Secretary of State for Kosovo and Dayton Implementation told the participants in the Donors Conference that the international community must summon the resources and energy to stay engaged in the Balkans until all its people enjoy the peace, prosperity and freedom which most of us in this room take for granted. The WB and the EC were the co-organisers of the Conference. Second, on 30 July 1999 in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina was convened the Southeastern Europe (SEE) Stability Pact Summit, sponsored by the EU and hosted by the Bosnian Presidency. Its purpose was to launch the Stability Pact for the region, to outline the important economic dimension of the Pact in which the EU and the IFIs will play the leading roles, to set the direction on democracy, on security, on economic reform that will bring this region into the European mainstream. The Pact for Stability has three main objectives: to advance political and economic reforms in SEE; to promote cooperation, tolerance and security; to integrate the region politically and economically into the rest of Europe. Initiative and cooperation of the countries from the region are a basic component of the implementation strategy of the Stability Pact. OSCE is supposed to be in the lead of building of democratic institutions. Security is another major dimension of the Pact. KFOR, SFOR, NATO and its PfP, Membership Action Plan and the Consultative Forum on security matters with seven nations of SEE (two countries of this forum Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina are not in the PfP) are practical means of shaping this dimension. PfP will concentrate most of its activity in the region to help the Partner countries in their defence reform, force planning and modernisation and civilian control of their armed forces. The Membership Action Plan adopted at the Washington Summit will offer those countries seeking NATO membership a more regular and detailed assessment of their progress in covering the membership criteria. The Consultative Forum on security matters of NATO and seven countries of SEE will contribute to promoting regional security cooperation and to building confidence.
The Ocalan case continued to be an important conflicting issue with a lot of internal, regional and international repercussions. Turkish society continues to be polarised in extreme positions as for the death penalty of the PKK leader and the future of the Kurdish issue. Despite some terrorist acts of revenge on the Kurdish side that compromised largely this years tourist campaign in Turkey, there are also signs of strategic political rethinking of the future struggle for more rights of the Kurdish people. Ocalan himself is sending signals of reconciliation and rapprochement, echoed by some of his leading followers. The peaceful option should not be missed for the interest of the Turkish and the Kurdish people.
While the USA respects the decision of the Turkish court, the reactions in the EU countries are rather negative. The future CE membership of Turkey is at stake and the prospects of EU membership will definitely dwindle in case the death penalty is executed. The OSCE Summit in Istanbul in November 1999 may also be affected. The accession negotiations of Cyprus to the EU also suffer from the conflict about Ocalans future.
The post-war rehabilitation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The UNSC on the basis of UNSCR 1247 of 18 June 1999 authorised member-states to continue SFOR for a period of one year. While Dayton ended the violence it did not end the war that is still fought bureaucratically, economically and politically by people who dont want to give up power. The safe return of displaced people continues to be an issue. The media is used selectively by ethnic leaders to bring their own version of truth. Local leaders and people continue to try to play international representatives against each other.
Notwithstanding, slight progress can be witnessed: the Kosovo tragedy brought people of this republic back on the issue of their own past, present and future for re-consideration and re-assessment. On 6 July 1999 SFOR detained Radislav Brdanin, who is indicted for war crimes by the ICTY and later transferred to The Hague an act that contributed to the consolidation of peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina. There is growing awareness by the US and NATO leaders that the situation in the republic is gradually turning from fear into one of hope, tending to become a truly success story. On this ground the US Secretary of Defence W. Cohen said at a brief in Tuzla on 13 July 1999 that an assessment can be made concerning a possible reduction in the number of NATO peacekeeping forces in Bosnia.
A significant effort was exerted by the Albanian leadership to prepare regionally meaningful proposals to the Sarajevo summit on 30 July 1999, especially by involving FYROMacedonia, Kosovo and Montenegro. Continuous personal conflicts in the ruling Albanian Socialist Party (ASP) diminish the effectiveness of the reconstruction efforts of the Government.
Bulgarias activity was concentrated in preparing and carrying a substantive summit in Sarajevo in the Pact for Stability in SEE context. Bulgaria sought the cooperative rather than the coordinative effect in this aspect with the other neighbouring countries. Formulating practical proposals with other Balkan countries for working together in fulfilling the aims of the Pact was a significant Bulgarian contribution. Though the priority was reconstructing Kosovo Bulgaria underlined the need for the progress of the broader area as a needed instrument to influence the general regional conditions and the processes of transformation to democracy in Serbia. The differentiation approach is indispensable for stimulating those countries that have passed already a long way in their progress, especially those that are starting soon accession negotiations for EU membership or have already done so. The Sarajevo summit meeting was very important as a political factor for stimulating Balkan cooperation in overcoming a hard period. The active bilateral ties with EU countries in the last month particularly Greece, Spain, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom was another feature of the countrys policy in July 1999. Bulgarias continuing persistence to implement the programme for integration in NATO as well as the visit and the speech to all members of the Bulgarian Parliament of the Secretary General of the Alliance on 8 July 1999 just weeks after the Bulgarian opposition protested the NATO strike against Yugoslavia, was indicative of the raising authority of the Alliance in Bulgarian society. On 20 July 1999 the Russian Government informed through diplomatic channels Sofia it gives up the previous calls for air passage of its troops to Kosovo for the KFOR mission. However, this does not mean Russia will not require transit of its troops on land.
With the decisive international support the Government in Skopje succeeded in transporting back to Kosovo the refugees from its territory.
Croatia will insist to be presented in all structures of the Pact for Stability for SEE, i. e. in the Round Tables, the administrative, working and expert institutions at all levels. Croatia also insisted to be involved in the PfP as an equal partner, eventually with Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, the security and the police services in this country continue their undemocratic practices against the broader society. There exists no agreement yet of the Government and the opposition as to how to make the activity of the countrys security structures more accountable. There is no dialogue with the opposition as to the new elections and about the media legislation. Recent attacks of the Government controlled media against the Open Society Institute in Croatia an NGO working for the advancement of democracy and human rights is another indicator of the need to strengthen democracy in Croatia.
The catastrophe for Serbia after the war, the poverty of the people and the international isolation stimulated the activity of the small and disunited opposition parties in their quest to do away with the regime of President Milosevic. This country is preparing for a dramatic political transformation. The protests in July 1999 became more regular, better organised and more motivated for the individual participants. The press in Serbia slowly entered a forbidden topic the ethnic cleansing; the policy of Montenegro of introducing constitutionally democratic reforms is most disturbing for the regime in Belgrade. It has taken seriously the threats of the Montenegrin President Djukanovic Podgoriza will separate from the Federation if democratic reforms are not introduced peacefully and as a reaction increased four times its military presence in Montenegro reaching a number of 40,000 troops. A similar destabilising presence can be traced in Sanjak. Without the Serbian people embracing the values of peace, tolerance and integration the progress of SEE will be slowed down.
Romanian Prime-Minister Radu Vassile told on 6 July 1999 the TV programme Antenna-1 there are approaching economic difficulties for his country and the forecasts of a return of economic growth at the beginning of the next year are quite unrealistic. The next year is an election one for the Parliament in Romania.
The draft budget of Turkey was adopted in the Parliament providing $ 5,9 billion for defence. More than a quarter will be for personnel costs.
On 6-7 July 1999 the President of Romania, Emil Konstantinescu visited Turkey and met with President Suleiman Demirel, Prime-Minister B. Ecevit and the Speaker of the Turkish Parliament (Mejlissa) Akbulut. The 19th regular meeting of the Joint Economic Commission also took place in Istanbul on 7 July 1999. Social security, labour cooperation, consular and scientific-technical agreements were signed during the visit. The Romanian President underlined that the bilateral military cooperation should evolve into a trilateral one with an active Bulgarian participation. The three countries already actively cooperate in the joint fight against organised criminality, terrorism and illegal arms and drugs trafficking.
On 9-11 July 1999 the Prime-Minister of Romania visited Slovenia and met with the Prime-Minister, the President and the Speaker of the Parliament.
On 1-2 July 1999 in New York at Greek initiative was carried dialogue between Foreign Ministers George Papandreou and Ismaihl Cem. They discussed bilateral issues of tourism, environment, culture, crime, terrorism and trade.
On 21-22 July 1999 Prime-Minister Kostov visited Greece and held substantive talk with Prime-Minister Simitis. The Bulgarian Prime-Minister said that Greece is the biggest economic and the strongest political partner of Bulgaria in Southeastern Europe. Bulgaria fully supports the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipe-line project. The Greek Prime-Minister declared the full support of his country for Bulgarias EU and NATO integration. Greece supports the start of the accession negotiations to the Union from the beginning of the next year. Prime-Minister Kostov held meetings with other Greek political leaders, including from the opposition.
On 11-13 July 1999 Vice-President Todor Kavaldzhiev visited Skopje and Ohrid and met with President Gligorov and Deputy-Prime Minister D. Dimovska.
a) Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Albania, Bulgaria and FYROMacedonia
On 25 July 1999 the Foreign Ministers of the three countries met in Sofia and discussed the ways of cooperation as an element of the implementation of the Stability Pact for SEE and the cooperative approach to the Sarajevo Summit.
b) Meeting of the Finance Ministers of Albania, Bulgaria and FYROMacedonia
On this same day the Ministers of Finance discussed in Ohrid the cooperation in implementing infrastructure projects in the Pact for Stability context.
The EU Finnish Presidency has calculated the initial sum needed by the Reconstruction Agency of the Union for Kosovo is about Euro 140 million.
The Donors Conference of 28 July 1999 in Brussels is expected to boost the humanitarian relief process and to launch a longer-term policy of reconstruction planned by the EU and the IFIs for September 1999. The EU and its member states will be the principal contributors for humanitarian aid and for reconstruction in Kosovo but the USA will commit up to $ 500 million in additional humanitarian aid to Kosovo. The specific areas of the US involvement will be for providing emergency shelter, winterisation supplies, food, health care, clean water and agricultural assistance, clearing land mines.
As for the mid to long-term reconstruction projects until now the individual Balkan countries have presented their own national views about the economic and infrastructure future of the region and less a cooperative position. An area of overlapping interest is the construction of the transport corridors 4 and 8 that have the potential to serve a perspective EU interest too.
VI THE INFLUENCE OF THE EXTERNAL FACTORS ON THE REGION: NATIONAL GREAT POWERS AND THE INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS
NATO has elaborated a very pragmatic strategy of post-conflict Balkan presence: generating and utilising to the maximum the determination and the political will of the democratic forces and the support of the peoples of South-Eastern Europe. The Secretary General of NATO, Javier Solana wrote that at least we can promise that, if they shoulder their part of the burden of political and social reconstruction and reconciliation, they will have the support, assistance and encouragement of the rest of Europe. Such a bargain is possible. It is do-able, and it would bring fresh cause for hope at the opening of a new century. The Secretary General of NATO visited on 7 and 8 July 1999 Romania and Bulgaria and extended the gratitude of the Alliance to the governments and people of the two countries for their effective support for the 78-days campaign against Yugoslavia. He underlined NATO has engaged firmly and on a priority basis with the Southeastern European region.
EU has a clear priority for the next months the reconstruction and the stabilisation of the Balkans under the Presidency of Finland. Alongside with Slovenia and Cyprus Bulgaria and Romania are also expected to enter the pool of countries directly negotiating for accession to the Union. EU will be the main sponsor of the implementation of the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe.
The USA backed decisively the activity of KFOR and UNMIK during the visit of the Secretary of State to Kosovo on 29 July 1999. On 28 July 1999 the Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a bill designed to hasten an end to the regime of President Slobodan Milosevic and promote democratisation in FRY. It is called the Serbia Democratization Act of 1999 and contains a host of provisions aimed at the early replacement of Milosevic. $ 100 million are authorised in the next 24 months starting on 1 October 1999 for use in promoting democracy in Serbia and Montenegro, and would increase broadcasting to FRY by the VOA and RFE/RL. Montenegro and Kosovo are exempted from restriction imposed by the act. This policy of the USA is no endorsement for independence of Montenegro and clear official declarations show the US do not support secession from FRY. On 14 July 1999 the US Secretary of Defence W. Cohen visited Greece in an effort to prove the need for more investment in defence capabilities to narrow the technological gap of the US military and that of some other NATO allies. On 15 July 1999 he visited Turkey and discussed the bilateral relations, the Turkish role in NATO and the Cyprus issue. Secretary Cohen called Turkey a reliable ally and a strong contributor to European security. The US position on Cyprus is that the solution lies in a bizonal, bicommunal federation while the Turkish approach is different. In the last days of June 1999 the Romanian Defence Minister visited the Pentagon. The US Secretary of Defence recommended the reforms of the Romanian armed forces should concentrate on downsizing, restructuring, improvement of training, logistics and command and control. On 20 July 1999 the Defence Minister of Bulgaria visited the Pentagon. The US Secretary of Defence praised Bulgarias efforts at economic and legal reform and the modernisation of its military. On 16 July 1999 the Bulgarian Ministry of Defence announced this year the US Government will grant $ 11,55 million for the development of bilateral military cooperation
Russia modified its position to President Milosevic after the former Prime-Minister Stepashin declared before the Sarajevo Summit that the Yugoslav leader is to a great extent guilty of what happened to his country.
The UNSC decided on 14 July 1999 to extend the mandate of the UN Mission of Observers in Prevlaka (UNMOP). It has already served in defusing a potentially dangerous situation that resulted from Yugoslavias creation of a fortified checkpoint in violation of the FRYs commitment to demilitarise the area.
1. KFOR established a new security environment in Kosovo. Most of the refugees are back in their homes or places. The Albanian revenge is the complicated issue that both KFOR, UNMIK and the gathering international police force have faced.
2. The international community has provided the funds and structures for the immediate humanitarian help that is needed. The Sarajevo Summit drew the outlines of the ways and the approaches of implementing the Pact for Stability in SEE. NATO through its two member states (Greece and Turkey), KFOR, SFOR, PfP, the Membership Action Plan and the Consultative Forum on security matters with seven nations of SEE has moulded the backbone of both stability and progress for region-building. The latter is a priority responsibility for the EU whose intentions are to launch a better calculated effort in this direction in September 1999.