BALKAN REGIONAL PROFILE:
THE SECURITY SITUATION AND THE REGION-BUILDING EVOLUTION OF SOUTH-EASTERN EUROPE
(A Background and July 2000 Issue in Brief)
Research Study 7, 2000
Hard copy: ISSN 1311 - 3240
AN I S N-SPONSORED MONTHLY ELECTRONIC PERIODICAL
The month of July 2000 proved the unsustainable tendency of FRY’s present structures: ‘rebel’ Montenegrin leaders are deprived from effective participation in the federation's government; their voice, calling for change in constitutional arrangements, is simply not heard; the Yugoslav army (VJ) is taking hold of the federated republic by stealth. Approval of a constitutional change by the FRY Parliament in early July, allowing President Slobodan Milosevic to run for another term in office while diminishing the role of Montenegro, adds to this tendency. Signals from major European countries that they will not accept the FRY election results under Milosevic's dictatorial terms confirm the trend in direction. And, of course, the future status of Kosovo adds to the looming Yugoslav constitutional crisis: while formally it is part of the Yugoslav Federation and of Serbia, the reality does not confirm it. Autumn elections under preparation may dramatically lead to Kosovo separating from FRY. This may be the surprise Milosevic is preparing for the international community – to free a province likely to become an unsustainable state and provoke ethnic problems in FYROM and Albania while claiming acceptance for this ‘generous’ gesture of his own constitutional transformations and prolongation of his power. Pressed to the wall from every direction, Milosevic is trying to strengthen his position alone, including the sacrifice of some FRY territory – a move that would further complicate the regional situation. Unless Yugoslav society assumes a different logic of behavior – of clear internal democratic change, of regional cooperation and European integration, escalation of present tensions will persist, and multi-tempo integration of Southeastern Europe in the EU will historically deprive the Serbian people of a chance to improve their human fate as quickly as possible. A clearly displayed international consensus, especially of the USA, the EU, and Russia, may significantly help orient the Serbian people.
A United States Institute of Peace experiment in July revealed real potential for reconciliation and rapprochement between Kosovar Albanian and Serbian leaders. Now they need to prove that option in the field. The continuing tense ethnic situation and the upcoming autumn elections are real tests for local leaders' skills in serving their own people.
Bilateral, trilateral, multilateral, and region-wide initiatives proved in July that there is another Southeastern Europe too: of cooperation and good neighborly relations. The United States demonstrated in July its continued interest in solidifying its military relations with Romania and FYRO Macedonia. The EU continued to implement one of its major strategic tools in the region – of closer integration of Bulgaria, Romania, and Slovenia in the Union by making another step in the process of lifting Schengen border regime obstacles for citizens of Bulgaria.
Albanians and Serbs clashed again in the town of Mitrovica after Albanians attacked Serbian buildings with grenades on 15 July. KFOR French soldiers intervened to separate angry mobs from parts of the town in conflict. Two apartments housing UN police were broken into and looted by groups of Serbs, and a UN police car was attacked. Full police patrols from UNMIK have now resumed in northern Mitrovica.
On 18 July the Secretary General of NATO, Lord George Robertson visited the Kosovo province briefly on 18 July along with the 19 ambassadors to NATO. The visit took place one year after KFOR began the UN's peacekeeping operation.
The registration of Kosovo’s population, which will be the basis of voter registration for this autumn's municipal elections, ended on 19 July with over 1 million people registered. The UNMIK estimate for eligible voters was around 1.2 million. A setback in this process was that practically no Serbs registered. Tensions and clashes cancelled UNMIK efforts to persuade the Serbs to register for voting.
Elections are expected to take place in October, and 20 political parties have already registered for elections. Campaigning will last 45 days before the election day, which has not yet been fixed.
In an interview for the Austrian newspaper “Standart” on 18 July, a Kosovo Albanian leader, Ibrahim Rugova, said that the question of Kosovo’s independence is a matter of formality; only the supporting documents must be arranged. According to Rugova, the province's future will be determined by this October's elections. He also stressed the vital presence of NATO troops as the real guarantor of stability in Kosovo.
The commander of the 3,600-member Russian contingent in Kosovo, General Valeriy Evtuhovich, said in an interview with the Russian newspaper “Kommersant” in mid-July that Russia should continue to participate in the KFOR operation. Taking an isolationist position on conflict resolution, especially in Europe, the general said, is incorrect. The political and the moral advantages Russia would gain from that cannot comparea with the financial costs..
US President Bill Clinton praised the Congress on 13 July for its fiscal year 2000 legislation that provides urgently needed resources to keep the peace and build stability in Kosovo. It bolsters democracy and reform elsewhere in Southeast Europe by fully funding the Administration’s request for military operations in Kosovo. However, the president expressed disappointment that the bill does not include funding he requested for UN peacekeeping operations in the region. He had also requested security and operational needs for embassies in Kosovo and assistance for economic and democratic reforms in the region. The requested funds could have supported essential civilian infrastructure that would have facilitated a prudent exit strategy for Kosovo and achieve long-term stability in the Balkans. The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Henry Shelton, visited Kosovo for briefings of the Falcon Task Force on 19 July and met US troops at Camp Montieth, Novo Brdo, and Vitina.
Expert reports in July show that the 1999-2000 harvest season has seen a sharp rise in agricultural production in the province. Thus a further phase-down of food aid in the July-September period can continue as scheduled.
Representatives of Kosovar Albanians and Serbs signed a joint Pact Against Violence Declaration on 23 July, following a workshop at Airlie House in Warrenton, Virginia, organized by the United States Institute for Peace (USIP), Washington, D. C. The representatives of the conflicting ethnic communities agreed to continue their dialogue in Kosovo. The declaration commits both sides to cooperate in the areas of elections, media, civil society, security, and return of refugees and displaced people. The workshop has been an important communication opportunity that may create new openness for the people of Kosovo. In the area of security they agreed to carry out a Campaign Against Violence that would begin with a "Day Against Violence". While the two sides differed on conditions for the elections, they both acknowledged the need to have elections in Kosovo.
Bosnia-Herzegovina became the 98th State to sign the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court on 17 July.
General Shelton visited Sarajevo on 17 July to meet with Army Lt. Gen. Ronald E. Adams, commander of the SFOR, for an update on operational matters.
The Clinton Administration approved a report of the General Accounting Office (GAO) on 19 July that crime and corruption are endemic problems in Bosnia seriously inhibiting economic and political development as well as implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement. At the same time the Administration acknowledged that reform-minded Bosnians are willing to work hard to change the situation. The entire thrust of US assistance for Bosnia is designed to help these people establish a peaceful, transparent, and democratic society. Recent US assistance has focused on a variety of reform measures such as establishing governmental transparency and accountability, privatizing key industries, creating impartial law enforcement and judicial bodies, and abolishing institutions that have been important funding sources for forces opposed to the Dayton Peace Accord.
The first ever Annual Report for the State of the National Security of Bulgaria in 1999 was declassified by the Government on 4 July. The 50-page report responds to the National Security Concept adopted in 1998, requiring the government to submit an analytical report and assessment every year on the state of the country’s national security. The ruling majority and with some opposition parties approved the text of the government document. The biggest parliamentary opposition group – the Democratic Left and other smaller opposition political groupings and independent MPs ¾ voted "no". The most disputed aspects of the annual report were (1) internal social and economic aspects of the country’s national security – incorrectly reflected in the report, according to the Socialist opposition, (2) the assessment on Russia's role in forming Bulgaria's national security environment, (3) the underestimated plight of Bulgaria's Roma population, and (4) missing details of the report's section on defense. The last issue will be addressed in detail in the government's upcoming annual report on national defense this fall. Independent security experts in Bulgaria say the other three disputed aspects need study and, most importantly, are issues still unsolved by the present government, parliament, and president.
All parties in parliament demonstrated consensus on issues discussed in the report on Bulgarian integration in the EU and NATO.
The FRY parliament approved constitutional changes on 6 July that require direct popular election of the Yugoslav president and the upper house of parliament. The changes also allow two four-year terms for president and a higher threshold for impeachment. This would give Milosevic the chance to remain in power after July of 2001 when his term that started in 1997 expires. Until now, the two houses of the FRY parliament elected the federal president for one four-year term, and the upper house of the federal parliament was elected by the parliaments of the two constituent republics. Milosevic was nominated as the presidential candidate of the ruling Socialist Party on 28 July. According to the changes,the federal government will organize elections for both president and parliament, not the republics, as the previous regulation required. Politically this means that Milosevic’s re-election will depend less on the opposition of Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic. Support for Milosevic in Montenegro varies between 30 and 50%, according to different estimates. A second consequence may be the escalation of efforts by pro-Djukanovic supporters to break away from the federation before the Montenegrin authorities have turned into insignificant constitutional factors – a clear provision of the new legislation.
The municipal and parliamentary elections in FRY will take place 24 September and will coincide with the presidential elections – an appropriate combination for Milosevic during a period when the regime Is hardly pressing independent media and the opposition continues to quarrel over petty issues. It does not have yet a clear candidate to run against Milosevic, despite claims of opposition unity.
The lower house of the Yugoslav parliament passed the changes by a 95-7 vote and the upper house by 27-0. There is no doubt that the present FRY parliament is obedient enough to Milosevic to grant him rules that could prolong his power for two more terms. On the other side, the new rules challenge the opposition in Serbia and FRY in general to reject a democratic vote for Milosevic and elect a democratic leader. Neither the effectiveness of the present Serbian opposition nor the atmosphere of missing democratic competition and suppressed media can lead to an authentic democratic campaign, election process, and election results. The undisputed result is further antagonising of the Montenegrin leadership, which was not consulted at all during this constitutional re-engineering process. This is why the parliament of Montenegro decided on 8 July to boycott the Belgrade constitutional changes. The EU, the US government, and the G-8 foreign ministers meeting in Japan in mid-July declared their support for Montenegro in this new situation. The US Congress is going to provide an additional $16.5 million support for democratization and economic reform of Montenegro.
The creeping Belgrade efforts to cancel Montenegro's existence as a state were also displayed by the rising involvement of the Yugoslav Army (VJ) in the internal affairs of Podgorica. The chief of the Yugoslav General Staff, Neboisha Pavkovic, visited Montenegrin VJ units on 15 July and discussed plans for upcoming activities. Though Montenegrin governmental officials say the VJ is considered illegitimate in Montenegro after its two year-long efforts to topple the country’s reformist government, a federal patrol boat fired against a smaller Montenegrin police boat on 24 July after a federal army helicopter hovered over the target.
Presently the USA and the international community do not favour Montenegro leaving the federation, and they are trying to promote a new relationship between the two republics based on democracy.
(1) The government of Prime Minister Liubcho Georgievsky survived a ‘no-confidence’ vote on 4 July (72-23 with 9 abstentions). The opposition pro-Serbian and pro-Milosevic Social-Democratic Party (the former Yugoslav Communists) demanded the government's resignation on grounds that it is the source of crime in the country. The opposition assessed positive bilateral and good-neighborly relations of the present government in Skopje with Bulgaria as a betrayal of their country's national cause – a residual Belgrade position from the times of Tito and Milosevic, part of a nostalgia for former Yugoslav times. (2) Prime Minister Georgievsky initiated a parliamentary vote on restructuring the present government and decreasing the number of ministers from 21 to 14. The issue was passed on 27 July, and President Boris Trajkovsky again granted the mandate to form a new government to Georgievsky. The foreign and interior ministers preserved their positions. The former minister of culture, Liube Paunovsky, took the position of defense minister, replacing 80-year-old scholar Nikola Kliusev.
(1) The Turkish Constitutional Court decided on 7 July to consider in September the case for banning the Virtue Party – the main Islamic party in the country ¾ because it is succeeds the party of Necmetin Erbakan, a former prime-minister, who was jailed for 18 months and seeks to cancelTurkey's secular constitution. (2) President Sezer of Turkey confirmed the appointment by Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit of Mesut Yalmaz as a deputy prime minister. He will be mainly responsible for ties with the EU. Mr. Yalmaz survived corruption charges in June.
The foreign ministers of Albania, Bulgaria, FYRO Macedonia, Greece, Hungary, Romania, and Turkey met on 14 July in Ohrid (FYROM). They discussed the conflict issues in FRY and their consequences for the broader region as well as progress in the Pact of Stability for South-East Europe. The fifth foreign ministerial meeting was attended by the Stability Pact coordinator, Bodo Hombach. The foreign ministers proposed to Hombach local companies be hired to carry out Stability Pact projects for the region. The ministers calls for a permanent donors’ network to guarantee the consistency of stabilization efforts. The ministers also suggested a prompt start-up of the “quick start” package, not waiting 12 months to launch it.
Numerous bilateral and trilateral meetings also took place during the forum, including Greek-Turkish and Bulgarian-Greek-Turkish talks.
a. The Pact of Stability for South-East Europe
Stability Pact Coordinator Bodo Hombach visited Bulgaria on 19-23 July. He had talks with the Bulgarian prime minister, foreign minister, and finance minister. The three priority Bulgarian projects within the region's Pact of Stability are the second bridge over the Danube at Vidin-Kalafat, rehabilitation of some Danube ports, and reconstruction of Sofia Airport. Hombach visited the bridge construction site on the Bulgarian side. He also visited the first Rapid Reaction Force of seven countries from the region – the Multinational Peace Force of South-East Europe (MPFSEE) in Plovdiv.
Hombach reminded visitors in Berlin earlier in the month that the second bridge over the Danube at Vidin-Kalafat is of vital European interest and part of the highway linking Berlin with both Istanbul and Athens. At his meeting with Prime Minister Kostov, Hombach was asked to support the Bulgarian insistence on opening two checkpoints with Greece at Makaza and Ksanti-Rudozem. MPFSEE commanders gave the Pact of Stability coordinator projects worth Euro 5 million. Bulgaria also asked for support of electric connectivity projects with Romania, FYRO Macedonia, and Albania. Hombach informed the media in Sofia that Microsoft industrialist Bill Gates had called him to ask how he can join construction of ‘high-tech parks’ in Southeastern Europe. According to Hombach, Bulgaria can play a driving role in developing electronic information systems in the region. He said high-tech parks are a good way of keeping young Bulgarians in their country and preventing their emigration. This is also a good project to boost the national and regional economies technologically.
b. The Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI)
The World Bank (WB) in Washington, DC, announced approval on 26 July of a $9.3 million credit for a project to strengthen and modernize customs administration and border crossing facilities of FYRO Macedonia to prevent smuggling and corruption while promoting cross-border trade and transportation. The Trade and Transport Facilitation in Southeast Europe Project (TTFSE) is part of a regional program for Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, FYRO Macedonia, and Romania aimed at fostering trade. It resulted from a collaborative effort among the governments of these countries in association with SECI.
Some important figures on the state of the Bulgarian economy were publicized in July by the National Statistics Institute (NSI), the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB), and the government. Unemployment decreased by 22,331 people in June and reached the figure of 696,551, amounting to 18.19% of the economically active population. Seasonal engagements caused improvement in the unemployment situation. The government predicts reaching 15% unemployment by the end of the year, but the NSI showed a different figure – 17.5%.
The inflation rate was preserved within acceptable limits during the first five months of the year – 2.47%, according to the NSI. Currency reserves increased for this period with 22.5%, which guarantees stability of the currency board arrangement in Bulgaria. The country’s exports increased for the same period by 23.7%, reaching the figure of $1,811 billion. Half of these exports were for the EU. Imports increased by 21.2% , reaching the figure of $2,486 billion.
Bulgaria's overall debt is estimated at $10,024 billion – $3,885 billion to official creditors (the IMF, World Bank, EU, and Paris Club of countries); $5,534 billion to private creditors (the London Club), and $0,605 – the short-term debt. At the same time African and Arab countries owe Bulgaria $2.2 billion.
The Government, which is still working under the currency board arrangement reached an agreement with the IMF to decrease the present taxes and insurence levels in the coming months.
EU finance ministers decided on 21 July to give support for the Balkans during the 2001 fiscal year worth of Euro 614 million. This figure is Euro 200 million less than the proposal of the European Commission.
A bilateral agreement was reached on 26 July for a loan to Bulgaria worth of Euro 100 million. The money will be invested in finishing 71 km of the Sofia-Burgas highway. The EIB will grant another Euro 20 million loan to improve the “Trakia” highway after the first sum is realized.
Turkey decided on 25 July to freeze for at least 10 years its project for constructing a nuclear plant for lack of resources. The electric power deficit will be compensated for by importing electric power from Bulgaria and an increased search of natural gas resources in Turkey.
The US President’s national security advisor, Samuel Burger, the president of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), George Munoz, and George Soros of Soros Private Funds Management (SPFM) launched the Southeast Europe Equity Fund In Washington DC on 26 July. It Is intended to provide capital for new business development, expansion, and privatization. The $150-million fund will be managed by SPFM and financed by OPIC. It is an initiative envisioned under the Stability Pact for South-East Europe. The Stability Pact was launched In Sarajevo on 30 July 1999 by the EU, the USA, and international financial institutions. The Southeast Europe Equity Fund will serve Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, FYRO Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia, Montenegro, and Turkey.
VI. The Influence of External Factors on the Region: National Great Powers and International Institutions
UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan opened the latest round of proximity talks on Cyprus in Geneva on 5 July. Two Cypriot leaders, Greek Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash, began the proximity talks in December 1999. These talks have the character of pre-negotiating sessions, trying to tackle core issues, but the negotiation process had not yet begun. The Geneva talks adjourned on 12 July, resumed on 24 July, and will proceed until early August. They will resume once again on 12 September in New York.
(1) Twelve countries participated in a PfP Exercise – “Rescue Eagle 2000”, in Romania 11-20 July. It simulated earthquake rescue operations. The participating military service staff came from Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Turkey, and the United States. The purpose of the exercise was to develop a common understanding of peace support operations and to improve small-unit (company-sized and below) interoperability during such operations. The training was designed to deepen military relations, develop interoperable forces and command and control structures, and prepare partners for peacekeeping, search and rescue, humanitarian assistance, and peace support operations. Training focused on staff planning, medical training, casualty treatment and evacuation, sea-air rescue, checkpoint operations, patrolling and fixed-point security, and convoy security. (2) Bulgarian Defense Minister Boyko Noev told the National Radio listeners on 9 July that there might be military bases on Bulgarian territory if the country’s security is threatened and if it becomes a member of a collective defense system such as NATO. (3) A PfP navy exercise “Breeze 2000” started in the southwestern part of the Black Sea on 22 July. It lasted till 30 July and included participants from Bulgaria, France, Greece, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United States. Italy and Romania joined the exercise with observers. Bulgaria hosted the exercise and included a battalion from its infantry. The exercise was commanded by the Bulgarian navychief of staff , Vice-Admiral Peter Petrov, with sea operations handled by Brigadier Admiral Emil Liuckanov. The exercise simulated humanitarian and rescue operations in a disaster region.
The G – 8 summit statement on regional issues meeting in Okinawa said in its comments on the Balkans that a democratic FRYugoslavia may be reintegrated in the international community and play its rightful part in contributing to the stability of the entire region. The leaders of the eight great states expressed their deep concern about the motivation and possible consequences of revised FRY constitution. The G – 8 leaders called on the government in Belgrade to refrain from any action that could contribute to further escalation of violence. They also called on the opposition to contribute to peaceful democratic development in the FRY, strongly opposed recent restrictions on the free press, and welcomed continued consolidation of democracy in Montenegro. The G – 8 leaders reiterated their support for the democratically elected authorities and urged them to continue the practice of restraint. French President Jacques Chirac said in his speech that the situation in the region will not be stable as long as a regime like that of Milosevic still exists in FRY. Russia participated in the summit meeting through President Vladimir Putin. Though Russia continues to respect the existing order in Belgrade, there are concerns about how the Milosevic policy will be reflected on Russia’s longer-term interests in the region, Europe, and the world.
(1) The European Parliament adopted a resolution In Strasbourg on 5 July that urges the Council of the EU Justice and Interior Ministers to remove Bulgaria from the negative visa list of countries. The European Commission (EC) on 26 January approved removing Bulgaria from the ‘list 101’ – of countries whose citizens are obliged to get special Schengen visas. The EU Council of Ministers of Justice and the Interior will hold a meeting on 28 September and will formulate its position on the issue. In EU countries with Schengen visa regime arrangements there are different procedures of implementing Council of Ministers decisions. (2) EC President Romano Prodi sent a letter on 26 July to the Bulgarian and Romanian prime ministers, answering the two leaders’ letter of this April. Mr. Prodi informed them that the EC will support the decision to invest Euro 22 million in clearing debris from the Danube. This provides 85% of the money needed to carry out the operation. The Danube Commission can launch preparation of the clearing operation before EU structures have finalized the financial deal.
USA-FYRO Macedonia. The chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Shelton, visited Skopje on 19 July and discussed issues of regional stability with Gen. Jovan Andrevski, chief of staff of the FYRO Macedonia armed forces.
USA-Bulgaria. (1) The USA's Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im Bank) guaranteed a $77 million loan on 10 July that will help modernize the Kozloduy nuclear plant in Bulgaria. Ex-Im Bank Chairman James A. Harmon said the safety upgrade will ensure a safe, dependable energy infrastructure for Bulgaria, contributing to the country’s economic growth potential and can pave the way for increased trade opportunities between Bulgaria and the USA. With a loan from Citicorp North America, Inc., Westinghouse Electric Company will manage the plant upgrade. (2) The director of the American CIA, George Tennet, will visit Bulgaria in August and will meet with Bulgarian officials.
USA-Bulgaria, Croatia. The White House announced on 23 July that it will allow Bulgaria, Croatia, and 11 other countries all over the world broader access to American products and services linked with new information technologies. The condition is a satisfactory credit rating.
USA-Romania. The US State Department issued a statement on 11 July on the third anniversary of the US-Romanian Strategic Partnership, launched during President Clinton’s visit to Bucharest in 1997. The partnership was designed to establish a framework to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the areas of regional and Euro-Atlantic security, military reform, economic cooperation, and law enforcement. This January Secretary Madeleine Albright and Foreign Minister Petre Roman agreed on an intensified strategic partnership framework.
USA-Turkey. The USA and Turkey signed a bilateral agreement on peaceful nuclear energy cooperation in Ankara on 26 July. It creates the framework for scientific exchanges, joint research projects, and technology and material transfers in civilian nuclear fields.
Russia-Bulgaria. The Russian Ambassador to Sofia, Vladimir Titov, told the press on 7 July that Russia cannot forbid anyone from joining NATO. However, the ambassador said, Russia sincerely warned that its concerns, including its security, would be reflected in Bulgaria's bilateral relations. The Russian-Bulgarian armaments trade in 1999 was worth $1 million, which constitutes 0.03% of Russia's total armaments trade.
1. Belgrade's rush for undemocratic constitutional changes following the government's draft of an anti-terrorism law, brutal suppression of independent media, and the panic appointment of 24 September as the all-out FRY election day for municipalities, parliament, and president, all reflect frantic efforts of the Milosevic regime to preserve its power at any price. The short-term outcome will probably be the further international isolation of Serbia and the regime, intensification of the internal opposition, and continuing support for reform and democracy in Montenegro. Provoking anti-Milosevic forces in Montenegro to enter a violent phase of their opposition to the regime is a significant aspect of Belgrade's political activism. The danger of turning Montenegro into an insignificant political subject should be perceived by Montenegrin democrats as a short-term consequence, while the lasting effect would inevitably be further degradation of the regime and crystallization of a better defined democratic Yugoslav opposition to the dictator and his clique.
The Kosovo elections taking place a month after the FRY elections will be used by Belgrade to provoke destabilization and divert attention from the undemocratic Milosevic regime.
2. The irreversible shift of South-East Europe to stability and peace is linked with the gradual process of stabilization, economic progress, and preparation of certain countries for EU and NATO membership. The potential of the G – 8 cooperation on the Balkans should not only be used on issues intending to prevent the outburst of a violent conflict but also in the area of longer-term conflict prevention and modernizing the region. The countries driving the process inside the region have defined their national formulae for guaranteeing success of the process by applying for EU and NATO membership. They expect the support of all eight great and responsible world powers for their national programs.