BALKAN REGIONAL PROFILE:

THE SECURITY SITUATION AND THE REGION-BUILDING EVOLUTION OF SOUTH-EASTERN EUROPE

(A Background and March 2000 Issue in Brief)

© Institute for Security and International Studies (ISIS), Sofia

Research Study 3, 2000

Hard copy: ISSN 1311 - 3240

AN I S N-SPONSORED MONTHLY ELECTRONIC PERIODICAL


I INTRODUCTION

II CONFLICTS AND POST-CONFLICT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE BALKANS

1. The post-conflict situation in Kosovo
2. The Post-war rehabilitation of Bosnia and Herzegovina

III THE NATIONAL PERSPECTIVES OF THE BALKAN COUNTRIES: SPECIFIC ISSUES

1.Bulgaria
2. Croatia
3. Federation of the Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY)
4. FRYOMacedonia
5. Greece
6. Romania

IV THE BILATERAL AND THE MULTILATERAL RELATIONS IN THE BALKANS

1. Bilateral Relations
2. Trilateral Initiatives 
3. Regional Initiatives

V THE ECONOMIC SITUATIONS OF THE BALKAN COUNTRIES AND THE REGION

VI THE INFLUENCE OF EXTERNAL FACTORS ON THE REGION: NATIONAL GREAT POWERS AND INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS

1. The Contact Group for Former Yugoslavia
2. NATO
3. USA
4. NATO
5. EU

VII THE SECURITY SITUATION AND THE REGION-BUILDING  EVOLUTION: CONCLUSIONS


I   Introduction  

One year after the start of NATO’s "Allied Force" operation against the FRY, many Serbs celebrated the loss of the war in Kosovo.  Other Serbs did not join, because they saw no reason to celebrate.   Many of the latter Serbs belong to the democratic opposition or to that part of the population which has kept alive the image of Serbs as one of many European peoples without a particular political affiliation.

Whatever the psychological repercussions of the 1999 war over Kosovo in the Serbian national mindset, the more riveting questions world-wide are about achievements, the balance-sheet for those who engaged actively in the conflict.  The balance is not positive in terms of final goals achieved:  a normal functioning democratic multi-ethnic society in Kosovo within the market economy  system of the Balkans and Europe.  The results till now would be positive in comparison to the humanitarian catastrophe in Kosovo and Southeastern Europe (SEE) in spring of 1999.  Yes, there are reasons for anger and indignation:  fanning ethnic violence continues with both Serbian and Albanian participation;  the drift from the past madness is so slow that outsiders hardly understand why Albanians ¾ the victims one year ago ¾ are now practicing ethnic cleansing against Serbs in Kosovo.  Furthermore, the fury of many intensifies because the volatility of the Balkans remains directly proportional to the preservation of power by Belgrade strong-man Slobodan Milosevic.

However, neither prophets of doom and gloom nor frantic analysts ¾ not even ‘objective’ balance-sheet drafters ¾ should be counseling  decision-makers:  there is too much panic in their thinking, displayed or hidden.  One year after the last war in the western Balkans, the fundamental problems in perceiving the Balkans continue to be at the knowledge and concept level.  What is still not understood is that the war about Kosovo is between the Balkans’ past, identified with hatreds, atrocities, and revenge between different ethnic groups, and the peninsula’s potential future, identified with the objectives and deeds of KFOR, UNMIK, and the positive tendency of region-building in the larger part of SEE.

Why is it so difficult to heal the ill and isolated Western Balkans and integrate them into the progressing remainder of SEE?  Why is it so hard to convince the Albanians that one ethnic cleansing is no better than another?  Why is the democratic Serbian opposition gaining ground so slowly in the repressed society?  Each answer to these questions has certain specific contents. For example, the need to fight the evil (especially extremism) inside each ethnic group, the slow process of historic reconciliation and rapprochement, problems with individual leaders, the intentionally destructive policy of official Belgrade which promotes confrontation and tries to undermine prospects for ethnic co-existence, etc.

However, one common denominator applies for all answers:  belated engagement by the international community in modernizing social, economic, and political relations in the SEE region, especially with those islands of hope that provided seeds of the peninsula’s democratic and prosperous future.  One year ago, and today as well, a Serbian opposition leader can hardly show a clear positive example for both democratic and prosperous existence in a neighboring Slavic (or non-Slavic) country, an individual standard of living that dramatically differs from the well-being of the Serb who underwent the strikes of massive bombardments.  On the other hand, Milosevic can prove that Chinese and Indian money came faster to reconstruct  Serbia’s infrastructure than SEE’s Pact for Stability money for upgrading Serbia’s neighbors that supported the NATO campaign.  The financial donors’ slowness and lack of  unified strategic thinking on how to distribute the promised resources prevented the creation of a compelling environment during the past year.  This would have provided a real catalyst to support the Serbian opposition and UNMIK.  It would also have stimulated dilution and gradual change in purpose of the stubborn ethnic hatreds between Albanians and Serbs.

So one year later Kosovo – its economy and the making of an integrated, democratic, and fair society – remains a challenge.  Another challenge is the assimilation of the truth that  lasting peace will occur only through persistence, long-term commitment, and step by step.  The key to most of these issues – democratization of Serbia – can be guaranteed only through the power of example that those who live in neighboring democratic societies have qualitatively better living standards.  Furthermore, KFOR must continue to exercise and preserve security hardware  within the province and the broader zone.  And UNMIK should be supported in its efforts to build up the province’s police force and judicial system as well as to prepare  for general elections this autumn.

 

II   Conflicts and Post-Conflict Developments in the Balkans

The present conflict situation in the Western Balkans is characterized by:

1)  Tensions in southern Serbia.  A self-proclaimed Albanian ”army” to liberate Presevo, Bujanovac, and Medvedsa provokes the Yugoslav Army (VJ) and police forces.  VJ and police reactions may cause a refugee wave of Serbs and Albanians to move from southern Serbia to FYROMacedonia.  This may  destabilize the internal situation in FYROM.  A clash could occur between the KFOR and this self-proclaimed army.

2)  Tensions in Montenegro-Serbian relations.  Provocation of a conflict in Montenegro by Belgrade will inevitably worsen the security situation, and it would be logical to expect outside support for the democratic government of Podgoriza against Serbia.

3)  Tensions in Kosovska Mitrovica.  The similarity of the situation in this town to Brcko in Bosnia-Herzegovina leads to many associations of what might evolve from the tense ethnic relationships.  Clearly the provocations are driven by Albanian and Serbian extremists (including those in Belgrade).

4)  Rising antagonism between the Milosevic regime and the democratic opposition.  The pressure of Milosevic's forces is rising on the opposition, especially in light of possible elections.  If this atmosphere and attitude prevails when the opposition starts its rallies, it may easily ignite the fire of civil war.  Declarations by some opposition leaders, mainly from Vojvodina, that Serbia might be carved into six independent pieces could fuel internal tension and create a new dimension of the struggle between the opposition and the government.

1. The post-conflict situation in Kosovo

The post-conflict situation in Kosovo remained tense in March 2000.  The security situation was further worsened by the new ”Albanian army for the liberation of Presevo, Bujanovac, and Medvedsa” in neighboring southern Serbia with its 70'000-80'000 Albanians.  The involvement of official Belgrade in disrupting activities within the region is another major factor in the present unfavorable situation.  In light of ethnic clashes in Mitrovica, the KFOR command decided to reinforce its units there with an additional contingent of 1'100 French and Italian troops.  The US KFOR contingent of 350 raided command posts, staging areas, and arms caches of ethnic Albanian militias in Kosovo on 15 March.  They acted on specific information and found in many locations caches of weapons and ammunitions supplies.  Any activity that threatens the activity of KFOR to maintain a secure environment in Kosovo should not be tolerated in the future either, regardless of whether an Albanian or a Serb group is involved.

The EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Lord George Robertson, and SACEUR's General Wesley Clark visited Kosovo on 24 March. A NATO ”Dynamic Response” exercise took place on 19 March-10 April in Kosovo with a contingent of 2'000 under the tactical command of KFOR commander General Klaus Reinhardt.  It will test NATO’s ability for strategic reinforcement by the KFOR strategic reserve composed of forces from Argentina, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, and the US.  Hard-liners on both sides of the Kosovo post-conflict tensions should assess this exercise correctly. It demonstrates the will of NATO and its partners that the province’s security will be guarded with no hesitation. There are plans for a long-term presence in the province to complete this task.

Apart from the military, additional police and diplomatic pressure must be exerted to create peaceful co-existence for those living in Kosovo.  In analyzing the post-conflict situation in Kosovo, two conceptual stand-points deserve attention:  first, most people there are not extremists. They do not try to undermine what is going on positively.  However, there should be an increased demand from these people to work effectively within their own ethnic groups to ensure the groups do not undo all the work accomplished so far. Second, one year after the start of the air campaign against FRY, the next major step should be made in Kosovo:  to begin work on civilian society problems, on building justice and order, and on solving basic political issues.  All of them are important pre-conditions of organizing elections and creating Kosovo-wide institutions.  Visits to the province during March by NATO officials, US State Department spokesman James Rubin, the Bulgarian prime minister, and his meeting with leaders of the ethnic Albanians and ethnic Serbs offered proof of on-going diplomatic engagement.  Preparations for the September or October elections in Kosovo must stress the sense of responsibility expected from leaders of the ethnic communities when they undertake jobs as  leaders elected by their constituents.

There are real practical issues facing UNMIK:  rebuilding and reconstruction, especially of such necessities as housing and utilities, social infrastructure – mainly education and the judiciary.  Rule of law may gain ground only if Bernard Kouchner’s appeal for international judges and prosecutors in addition to civilian police is responded to positively.  Still only 2'400 of a planned 4'800 are now in Kosovo – a number inadequate to cope with various contingencies of specialized police forces.

In addition to pledges from the Pact of Stability for SEE, the donors’ conference in Brussels of 29-30 March had to cope with a new situation created by the US Congress:  it insists that the American military and financial contributions be limited to no more than one-seventh of the total international effort.  The EU needs to prove in Kosovo that it can conduct an effective common foreign and security policy - and not at the expense of other pledges to upgrade the Balkans in general financially.  Nevertheless, the EU continues to be the biggest donor to the Balkans, with € 9 billion since 1991.  Some 36'000 troops from European countries are now stationed in the Balkans.

2. Post-war rehabilitation of Bosnia and Herzegovina

The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) confirmed the detention of Dragoljub Prcac by SFOR on 5 March.  He was indicted on 2 June 1992 for crimes committed at the Omarska prison camp in northwestern Bosnia.  The trial of  Serb army former commander Radislav Krstic began on 13 March at the ICTY in the Hague.  He was charged with genocide, extermination, persecution and deportation, following accusations of planning, ordering, aiding, and abetting the murder of Bosnian men and boys after the fall of the Srebrenica enclave in July 1995 – both as the individual responsible and in his capacity as army commander of  the Republika Srpska’s Drina Corps. The ICTY ”rape trial”  – the first case before the tribunal to treat sexual enslavement as a crime against humanity - started in the Hague on 20 March.  Three Bosnian Serbs – Dragoljub Kunarac, Radomir Kovac, and Zoran Vukovic - were specifically accused of rape, torture, enslavement, outrage upon personal dignity, and plunder of private property. They were charged with crimes against humanity and violations of the laws and customs of war.

During her visit in Bosnia and Herzegovina on 8-9 March, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright signed a Defense Assistance Transparency Agreement between the United States, Croatia, and Bosnia-Herzegovina represented by the three federation’s joint presidents.  According to the agreement, the US and Croatia will transmit all requests for and approvals of security assistance to Bosnia-Herzegovina through the Standing Committee on Military Matters. The agreement aims at encouraging transparency about military spending and transfers, strengthening the nation’s central institutions, and creating a model for others who provide security and assistance to any part of this country to follow.

At the meeting of the US secretary of state with the prime minister of Republika Srpska (RS), Milorad Dodik, Albright emphasised that if the RS continues its present direction, new opportunities for its citizens will arise and valuable partnerships with Europe and America will be forged.  The economic reforms, political pluralism, and RS support for tolerance motivated the US Government to provide the RS $ 7 million in budget support this year.  RS leaders believe that the republic’s people will integrate with Europe through the Stability Pact.  Dodik declared that FRY is in its present situation due to Milosevic, and, for this reason, he must disappear from the political scene.  According to Dodik, Milosevic’s political influence in the RS is almost insignificant.

A multi-ethnic police force was inaugurated in the Brcko district during March, and there were developments on a State Border Service.  Yet obstruction and resistance have emerged to establishment of joint police forces in Central Bosnia - particularly in Mostar.

Since the end of the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina, achievements of the federation include a single currency, a customs regime, passport, and flag, and joint institutions.  The return of 600'000 displaced persons - 80'000 of them to areas in which they are part of an ethnic minority - is the other part of the success story.  Elections have also been held at every level of government, and the Constitutional Court is functioning and has issued significant rulings.

Ecological degradation

Ecological degradation was caused in March by the effects of the February cyanide spill in the Tisza River, a repetition of the disaster, this time with lead and zinc compounds, and by the effects of the 31'000 rounds of depleted uranium ammunition used by NATO throughout Kosovo in more than 100 flying missions during spring 1999.

 

III   The National Perspectives of the Balkan Countries:  Specific Issues

1.  Bulgaria

(1)  The greatest risk to the redrafted governmental program ”2001” is a possible new war at the country’s borders, Prime Minister Ivan Kostov told the Bulgarian Parliament on 24 March.  Compensation for the risk is a reliable and stable policy of economic growth and low inflation, he said.  (2)  UNMIK decorated 49 Bulgarian policemen with UN medals on 5 March.  The Bulgarian police contingent consists of 60 men and women.

2.  Croatia

(1)   The ICTY at the Hague on 3 March sentenced Tihomir Blaskic, a general in the Croatian Defense Council, to 45 years in prison for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and grave breaches of the Geneva Convention.  Blaskic bore responsibility in 1993 for the killing, wounding, and/or raping of Bosnian Muslims in the Lasva Valley on 13 April 1993.  (2)  Mladen Nalelitic (Tuta) was transported from Zagreb into custody of the ICTY on 21 March.  The accusations against him are for systemic torture of Bosnian Muslim prisoners and using them as human shields in performance of dangerous military tasks benefiting the Croatian Defense Council and the army of the Republic of Croatia.

Recent elections in Croatia represent a significant turning point in the republic’s internal developments.  The return of refugees and introduction of long overdue legal, commercial, and economic reforms are immediate tasks of the new democratic government.

3.  FRY

(1)  Unable to negotiate agreeable terms of co-existence in the federation, Belgrade imposed its power on bilateral commerce with Montenegro, trying to prevent speculation with federally regulated prices of goods.  FRY militiamen blocked the border between Serbia and Montenegro on 4-5 March and allowed no more than 100 trucks to continue on their journey.  (2)  The EU and the US agreed to a lift the ban for flights for one reason alone: due to a request by opposition leaders.  There is no way to present this development as a success of the Milosevic regime’s policy.  (3)  An anti-Milosevic demonstration in Serbia was organized by the opposition on 14 April.  Democratic opposition unity is the best guarantee for its efficiency.  The EU decided on 27 March to increase its support for NGOs, media representatives, and religious institutions in their efforts to create a democratic society in Serbia.  The major objective of the opposition and outside support for it remains the call for early free and fair elections.

4.  FYROM

President Boris Trajkovski appointed Deputy Interior Minister Dragan Grozdanovsky on 1 March as the republic’s new head of intelligence.  Infiltration of FYROM with Serbian spies remains very high.  The opposition contender for president of FYROM, T. Petkovsky, was once an officer in the Serbian counter-intelligence service.

5.  Greece

Greece effectively joined the Schengen regime within the EU on 26 March and became the 10th member of the agreement.

6.  Romania

Romanian Minister of Defense Victor Babiuk resigned on 10 March after being accused by the present government coalition partners from the Democratic Party of blocking Defense Ministry activities.  The resignation is a symptom of friction within the governing coalition during recent weeks.

 

IV   Bilateral and Multilateral Relations in the Balkans.  Regional Initiatives.

1.  Bilateral Relations

a)  Bulgaria-Romania

Prime Ministers Isarescu of Romania and Kostov of Bulgaria signed an agreement in Bucharest on 27 March on construction of the bridge at Vidin-Kalafat.  Bodo Hombach, coordinator for the Pact of Stability for SEE, attended the ceremony.  The prime ministers also agreed to join efforts by improving their electricity systems, also applying for funding support from the Pact of Stability.  The new Romanian Defense Minister, Sorin Frunzaverde, met in Sofia with his Bulgarian counterpart, Boyko Noev, on 29 March.  They discussed issues of cooperating to reach NATO standards and preparing for the joint military exercise ”Blue Danube”.

b)  FRY-FYROM

After stories in the FYROM press that the Belgrade’s Ambassador to Skopje, Zoran Janackovic, had been added to the EU’s ”black list” for high-level FRY officials, the Foreign Ministry of FYROM expects that FRY will pull out its ambassador.  Janackovic is a former chief of Yugoslav foreign intelligence.

c)  Turkey-Bulgaria

Bulgarian Defense Minister Noev visited Ankara on 7-8 March and met with Turkey’s president, prime minister, and the defense minister of Turkey.  He discussed military-technical cooperation options with his counterpart, Sabahattin Cakmakoglu.

d)  Bulgaria-FRY

(1)  Prime Minister Kostov met in Sofia on 8 March with two Kosovo Serbian leaders, Momchilo Trajkovic and Archbishop Rashko-Prizrenski Artemje. Trajkovic said Kosovo issues may be resolved only in the context of a democratic Serbia and FRY.  They now consider it impossible for Serbs to participate in autumn elections in Kosovo because there is no freedom and democracy – Serbs cannot move freely or speak their own language.  The Bulgarian prime minister assured the Serbian representatives that Bulgaria does not want a change of FRY borders in this volatile situation.  (2)  Kostov sent a letter to Kosovar Albanian leader Hacim Taci on 15 March due to rising tensions in the southern Serbian region of Presevo, Bujanovac, and Medvedsa.  The letter has been given to FYROM Albanian leader Arben Xafferi, who presented it to Taci.  Kostov asked for Taci’s support to deter the militancy of armed Albanian groups in southern Serbia.  (3)  Kostov visited Kosovo with a Bulgarian military helicopter.  He met and discussed the tense situation with Albanian leaders Taci and Rugova, Serbian leaders Trajkovic and Archbishop Artemje, as well as with UNMIK leader Kouchner and KFOR commander Gen Reinhardt.  There was an agreement with the KFOR command that Bulgaria would increase its engineering contingent in the province as well as the number of civilian policemen, also intensifying intelligence and information exchange contacts.

e)  Turkey-Greece

The upcoming parliamentary elections in Greece and presidential elections later this year in Turkey naturally pose the question of how positive momentum can be preserved when the politicians, engaged with the first major steps of improving relations, are engaged in domestic politics.  A stimulus could become the idea of involving the historic reconciliation issue in the domestic political debates.  Greece and Turkey are leading Balkan countries, and their developing relationship is reflected very positively in the general security, political, and economic situation of the broader peninsula.

f)  Bulgaria-FYROM

(1)  The Bulgarian Constitutional Court banned  a political party, ”Ilinden” – Pirin (OMO), on 1 March.  Arguments in the court’s decision were openly separatist activity and endangering the territorial integrity of Bulgaria in the region neighboring FYROM.  This party’s followers have been linked since its inception with FRY’s secret services.  The tolerance of the Bulgarian legal institutions had been exploited until the Constitutional Court decided to resolve this legal issue.  In recent months the separatist organization’s activity had been intensified with a clear purpose – to worsen developing inter-state relations between Sofia and Skopje.  The pro-Serbian opposition in FYROM fervently supports the separatist organization in Bulgaria.  (2)  The FYROM Defense Ministry suggested free transfer of a few patrol boats for Lake Ohrid at the Albania border.  Chief of the Bulgarian General Staff General Miha Mihov said publicly last September that there was a possibility of delivering some border-patrol boats to Skopje. 

2.  Trilateral Initiatives

(a)  Bulgaria-Greece-Turkey.  For the first time since the end of World War I the foreign ministers of the three countries met on 5 March.  The joint meeting and tour of Plovdiv (Bulgaria), Edrine (Turkey), and Oreste (Greece) came at the initiative of Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nadezhda Mihailova.  Together with foreign ministers George Papandreou of Greece and Ismaihl Cem of Turkey, they sent the message that the peninsula has the will to live in peace and cooperation.  The Greek and Turkish foreign ministers assured their Bulgarian colleague that they firmly supported Bulgaria’s candidacy for NATO membership.  The two NATO southern neighbors of Bulgaria had the opportunity to discuss issues of common interest.  Bulgaria’s expectations are for similar trilateral meetings involving the ministers of energy, transport, interior, defense, culture, etc.

(b)  Greece-FYROM-Albania.  Foreign ministers of the three neighboring Balkan countries (Papandreou, Aleksander Dimitrov, and Paskal Milo) met on 9 March in Ohrid, FYROM, and finished their meeting in Korcha, Albania.  They confirmed the idea of stabilizing a multi-ethnic Kosovo.

(c)  Albania-FYROM-Bulgaria.   Foreign ministers of the three countries (Milo, Dimitrov, and Nadezhda Mihailova) met in Tirana for their second meeting on 24 March.  They agreed to support three projects jointly within the Pact of Stability for SEE:  the Sofia-Skopje railway; merging of the three countries’ energy systems; and the construction of roads linking Duras, Albania, with FYROM and Bulgaria.  Finance ministers of the three countries met in Tirana on 25 March to discuss the financial aspects of the projects.  The projects were presented at the Donors’ Conference in Brussels on 29-30 March.

3.  Regional Initiatives

a.  Second Informal Meeting of Prime Ministers of the Neighbors of FRY

Prime ministers of countries neighboring  FRY  – Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, FYROM, Hungary, and Romania - with Dr. Javier Solana, Lord Robertson, and Hombach - met for the second time in two months in Budapest.  The first meeting was in January in Hissarya, Bulgaria.  The issues of peace and stability in the region and restoration of transport on the Danube were among the discussion topics.  Messages of the meeting were that (1) there is no danger of a new war in the region, (2) Milosevic should lift the blockade of Montenegro, (3) sanctions against Serbia must be continued, despite losses suffered by all, and (4) there are already € 1.54 billion for Pact of Stability projects.  During the brain-storming meeting the Bulgarian prime minister brought up the idea of a party leader from the opposition in Vojvodina to divide Serbia into six parts.  Sofia has not changed its position on the inviolability of FRY’s borders, but the birth of such ideas within Serbia are symptomatic of the inefficiency of the Milosevic regime in coping with the domestic stability situation and shows the direction in which strife in FRY may develop – with all the consequences for the broader region.

b.  The Pact of Stability for SEE

The Donors’ Conference in Brussels (29-30 March) dealt with projects within the Pact for Stability worth $ 1'329 billion, provided by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).  The EIB will cover $ 1.1 billion for infrastructure projects.  The EBRD was attracted by projects in the private sector and investment of some $ 290 million.

c.  The ”Sofia Process” of Cooperation

 A meeting of the SEE ministers of the environment was convened in Skopie on 15-16 March.  They discussed a regional program for environmental rehabilitation of the Balkans within the framework of the Pact for Stability for SEE.

 

VI The Influence of External Factors on the Region:  National Great Powers and International Institutions

1.  The Contact Group for Former Yugoslavia

The Group met in Paris on 28 March at the ambassadorial level and did not go beyond UN Resolution 1244 in tackling the present tense situation in Kosovo.  Parties of the Group are the US, the UK, France, Russia, Italy, and Germany.

2.  NATO

(1)  SACEUR commander Gen Clark visited Sofia and met with the president as well as the foreign and defense ministers.  He had two lectures – at the Atlantic Club and the Military Academy.  (2)  Bulgarian Defense Minister Noev visited NATO Headquarters in Brussels on 20-22 March.  He briefed the organization leaders, including permanent representatives, about the Bulgarian prime minister's visit to Kosovo.  Noev met also in Brussels with his Belgian counterpart.

3.  US

(1)  US Under-Secretary of State Thomas R. Pickering visited Bucharest on 3 March and discussed bilateral cooperation.  (2)  The US Trade and Development Agency (TDA) opened a joint office with the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) in Zagreb, Croatia, on 3 March.  (3)  At a meeting with Montenegrin President Milo Jukanovic on 9 March Secretary of State Albright warned of US support for Montenegro, if Serbia attacks the small republic.  (4)  In Washington, Ambassador Larry Napper, the State Department coordinator for East European assistance, told the House International Relations Committee on 9 March that both the Support for East European Democracies (SEED) and peacekeeping funds are essential to support UNMIK efforts to establish public order, assure protection of human rights, and begin the process of economic recovery of Kosovo.  Napper outlined President Clinton’s budget request for $ 610 million in SEED funds for fiscal year 2001 as well as a request for $ 609 million in supplemental funding for SEE for fiscal year 2000.  (5)  The US special presidential emissary for Cyprus, Alfred Moses, visited the island on 7-11 March and talked with Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders in order to try to make further progress towards a comprehensive settlement.  He thinks that the present economic disparity between the two parts of the island will disappear quite rapidly.  (6)  Bulgarian Foreign Minister Mihailova visited Washington, DC, on 10-12 March and spoke at a conference about democracy and the rule of law in the transforming world.  She also met with First Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott and discussed the Balkan regional situation.  (7)  US Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Marc Grossman said in a 13 March speech to the Middle East Forum in Philadelphia that the US commitment to Turkey’s success is part of the larger goal to have a US-European partnership for the 21st century.  He also said that Turkey’s success is essential to a Europe united, free, and at peace, which explains why US-Turkish relations focus on security, prosperity, and democracy.  (8)  The OPIC announced on 16 March that it had received 17 proposals in response to its call for proposals to manage a private equity investment fund or funds of up to $ 150 million to be invested in SEE (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, FYROM, Romania, Slovenia, and Turkey).

4.  Russia

(1)  The Russian Duma adopted two documents on 17 March, recommending to the government to help FRY overcome consequences of the NATO strikes a year ago.  (2)  The Greek foreign minister visited Moscow on 21 March and discussed with Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov bilateral relations, Kosovo, Chechnya, and Cyprus.  This visit coincided with raising criticism in Russia against Milosevic.  Bilateral Russian-Greek relations may be strengthened if agreement is reached on assessing the regime in Belgrade.  Russia may seek to enlarge its influence in the Balkans by lifting its support for the strong-man in Belgrade, who is quite isolated internationally and not trusted by his people as he was a year ago.

5.  EU

EC Commissioner Christopher Patten said at the Donors’ Conference in Brussels on 29 March that Bulgaria and Romania would receive € 6 billion from the union.  Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, and FYROM would get € 5.5  billion.  A fund of € 2.3 billion would be created in advance to help Serbia after the Milosevic regime falls, according to a commission recommendation.

 

VII   The Security Situation and the Region-Building Evolution:  Conclusions

1.  The security flash-points of the last month continued to be in FRY:  Southern Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovska Mitrovica, and the oppressed Serbian opposition.  In addition to the dangers of civil war, ethnic clashes, and international involvement if the situation worsens, the broader Balkan regional security situation was negatively influenced by side effects of tensions in the Western Balkans:  ethnic and religious hatreds, further degradation of the economic situation in the region’s countries, and the consequence of the latter – criminality, catalyzed by international sanctions.  Local regional efforts to balance the negative tendencies increased during March in harmony with KFOR and UNMIK activity.

2.  Follow-ups of the Donors’ Conference in Brussels within the Pact for Stability still need to be verified.  Popular expectations were about larger sums to cover the huge economic and ecological losses of the strike against FRY.  The philosophy of spending the donors’ funds – implementing projects and tight control of the money - needs to be enlarged by providing investments to boost the economies of the FRY neighbors, especially the would-be EU members.  This strategy ensures sustainable motives for the Serbian opposition to shift the tides within Serbian society and get rid of Milosevic and his regime.


EDITORIAL STAFF:

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.

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Dr. Sc. Venelin Tsachevsky

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Mr. Ivan Tsvetkov, M. A.

E-Mail Address: isis@cserv.mgu.bg

Dr. Dinko Dinkov

 

Dr. Todor Tagarev

 


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