SITUATION AND THE REGION-BUILDING EVOLUTION OF SOUTH-EASTERN EUROPE
(A Background and December 2002 Issue in Brief)
Study 44, 2002
ISSN 1311 - 3240
S N-SPONSORED MONTHLY ELECTRONIC PERIODICAL
December four major political developments determined the regional situation
in Southeast Europe: first, the continuing fight against terrorism and
the tendencies that nourish it; second, the preparations for a possible
war against Iraq; third, local regional (domestic and bilateral) processes
that provide for or hinder the evolution of Southeast Europe; and fourth,
EU and NATO enlargement and the regional accession efforts in this direction.
Bosnia and Herzegovina, traces of Al Qaeda continued to be monitored and
the Stabilization Force (SFOR) took preventive measures towards a suspect
linked to the terrorist network. Most of the counter-terrorist activities
by Southeast European countries continued to be towards implementing the
missions of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Kabul
and its surroundings. Bulgaria augmented its contingent in Afghanistan,
Croatia prepared to send its own military police unit, and Turkey announced
it would hand over the command of ISAF to Germany and the Netherlands
in February 2003.
for a possible war on Iraq had their Southeast European projections: many
Balkan states are already part of the coalition of countries eager to
deny Baghdad the possibility of using harboured weapons of mass destruction.
NATO is sure to play a role in a possible war, which means that Hungary,
Greece and Turkey, as well as recent NATO invitees Romania and Bulgaria,
will certainly play their specific parts. Turkey has a border with Iraq
and will play a crucial function in the preparations for an effective
war. In addition, NATO is very much expected to play a protective role
over Turkey if war starts.
developments in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) showed
contradicting features. On the one hand, the new government asked that
the USA and NATO cut short their presence in support of the country's
stability; on the other hand, bombings and provocations on an ethnic basis
continued. The EU is likely to take care of the country's stability in
the coming months as well assume greater responsibility for the areas
of tension in the Western Balkans, gradually replacing NATO and the USA
in their functions there. In Bosnia and Herzegovina the EU will also take
over military peacekeeping from NATO. The situation in the post-conflict
territories will continue to focus the attention of NATO and EU as the
problems there can potentially be linked to extremist and separatist activities
- often stimulated and much desired by terrorist organisations.
developments confirmed earlier tendencies of continuing stagnation and
the degradation of the political situation in Serbia and Montenegro where
republican presidential elections failed (for the third time in Serbia
and the first in Montenegro). The reformist processes in Bulgaria tested
the stability of the present governing coalition which survived two non-confidence
votes in parliament. In Slovenia, a new prime minister was approved by
the parliament and the new president was sworn in on 23 December in a
smooth transition of power. In Romania, the fight against corruption received
a sound backing by the president.
bilateral Greek-Turkish relations were demonstrated by the clear and open
support of Ankara's candidature to the EU by Athens. Croatia and Serbia
reached a very significant agreement on the Prevlaka peninsula that definitely
improves the broader security situation.
December two key regional economic projects received an impetus: the Danube
Bridge 2 between Bulgaria and Romania and the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil
pipeline between Bulgaria and Greece.
the EU and NATO integration of Southeast Europe remained the dominant
political development in December. The EU formally approved a December
2004 review date for Turkey's candidacy. Slovenia completed its negotiations
and was invited to join the union in 2004. Bulgaria and Romania received
a target date of 1 January 2007 for EU entry as well as new accession
"road maps" and additional accession funds.
a letter signed by the presidents of Croatia, FYROM, Albania, Serbia and
Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Western Balkan countries reminded
the EU Presidency that accession to the union remained a political priority
for them all.
has been approached by the so-called Ohrid-Adriatic group of countries,
comprising Albania, Croatia and FYROM, in a cooperative bid to enter the
Alliance's next enlargement round.
United States continues to play an active role in building-up its bilateral
relations with three Balkan countries. Washington largely relies on the
support of its staunchest ally, Turkey, for a possible war on Iraq. Bilateral
contacts between the US and Greece were very much directed towards solving
the Cyprus issue which remains a major obstacle in Greek-Turkish and EU-Turkish
relations. Washington's contacts with Sofia were very much directed towards
helping Bulgaria complete its accession to NATO and its legal trade of
SECURITY THREATS, CONFLICTS AND POST-CONFLICT DEVELOPMENTS IN THE BALKANS
SFOR-Bosnia and Herzegovina
At the start of December it was announced that Sabahudin Finljanin, the
man arrested by SFOR on suspicion of spying on their troops, was also
suspected of having links to Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network. Bosnian
and other passports in his name, as well as an anti-tank weapon, were
found at his home. At the end of November Bosnian authorities banned three
Islamic charities suspected of channelling funds to terrorists. SFOR provided
Finljanin with a lawyer and arranged for representatives of the International
Committee of the Red Cross to visit him.
On 3 December, Bulgaria increased its participation in the international
peacekeeping force in Afghanistan by sending a small number of security
troops there. In February, Sofia sent 32 troops to Kabul to take part
in the UN-mandated ISAF. Experts from different security institutions
and non-governmental organizations have advised the General Staff to send
additional troops to augment security and order at Kabul Airport and the
surrounding areas. Another proposal suggested setting-up an engineer unit
in case ISAF command asks for an additional contingent. Such a request
is expected in the coming months. Sofia received an entry invitation to
NATO on 21 November during the Alliance's summit meeting. On 13 December
Bulgaria's parliament confirmed a government proposal to prolong the participation
of the national unit in the activities of ISAF. The Bulgarian contingent
currently consists of 40 servicemen with their personal weapons and ammunition,
equipment, a sanitary processing module, and equipment for logistic and
communication support. The cabinet's proposal followed the UNSC Resolution
to extend ISAF's mandate by 12 months. The government has to provide the
additional funding needed for the country's ISAF contingent in 2003.
On 12 December the Croatian parliament voted to send 44 military policemen
to enforce peace in Afghanistan in 2003. This is Croatia's first international
mission with potential combat elements. The policemen will be part of
ISAF and will operate in Kabul and its surroundings. The Croats' mission
will last six months, starting from the beginning of 2003, but may be
extended for a further six months. Croatia is a Partnership for Peace
(PfP) participant and a candidate for NATO membership.
Turkey announced on 20 December that it will hand over command of
ISAF to Germany and the Netherlands in February 2003. Turkey presently
leads the 19-nation 5,000- strong peacekeeping force that patrols Afghanistan's
capital, Kabul, since the autumn of 2001. Turkey's mandate expired at
the end of December 2002, but Germany and the Netherlands declared they
needed more time to prepare to take over the force. German and Dutch troops
already work together in a joint battalion patrolling Kabul and share
an army corps headquarters in Münster, Germany. Turkey took command
of the force in June from Great Britain and has 1,400 soldiers - the largest
ISAF contingent. While Turkey will decrease its force, Germany and the
Netherlands will increase theirs. Turkey's participation in ISAF proves
that counter-terrorism is not an anti-Muslim initiative while her lead
over ISAF during the last few months demonstrates that the country is
a regional power.
The Threat of Iraq's Possession of Weapons of Mass Destruction and Casualties
A coalition of partners is currently being formed for a possible war
on Iraq under US leadership. In the event of war, NATO is certain to play
a role in protecting Turkey from the threat of an Iraqi counter-strike;
using its planning facilities to coordinate efforts such as air or sea
transport for troops and equipment, air-to-air refuelling, or air cover
to ground troops; using AWACS surveillance planes, minesweepers or naval
patrol ships; and providing troops to enforce the peace and help rebuild
Iraq should the present regime be removed.
current approach to coalition building for a possible war on Iraq differs
from the one against the Taliban in Afghanistan during 2001: it is slower
and more and gradual with the US involving its NATO allies more closely
in the planning process. NATO is in the process of re-focusing its military
might towards threats from terrorists and the so-called 'rogue states'.
Strong support for this coalition has come from the three Southeast European
NATO members, Hungary, Greece and Turkey, as well as newer NATO members
Romania and Bulgaria. Harbouring weapons of mass destruction and mass
casualties, an activity banned by international law, is the principal
accusation targeted against Iraq. There are genuine fears Iraqi dictator
Saddam Hussein has stockpiled chemical and biological weapons and developed
has allowed the US to use its bases and airspace - a significant step
in support of war preparations on its borders with Iraq. America expects
and is working towards a full Turkish commitment to an eventual war on
Iraq. On 4 December the White House invited Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the
leader of the largest party in Turkey's new governing coalition (and one
with Islamic roots), to Washington. He visited on 10 December and met
with President George Bush. Turkey as well as the Persian Gulf states,
are needed by the US for a possible strike on Iraq. However, these countries
would prefer to provide support as part of a broad, international and
UN-mandated coalition. As a result, the US and its closest allies are
trying to gain international support through the UN and elsewhere for
a war on Iraq.
NATO involvement in the protection of Turkey will be helped hugely by
the readiness of Romania and Bulgaria to provide support to the US and
NATO in an anti-Iraq contingency. Their airspace, airfields, and Black
Sea ports could be important in removing the Iraqi dictator from power.
ThePost-Conflict Issues in FYROM, Kosovo, and Bosnia-Herzegovina
(1) A Macedonian
court cancelled an order for the arrest of Ali Ahmeti, a former National
Liberation Army (NLA) leader and present chief of the most influential
Albanian party and coalition partner in the government. Ahmeti was formerly
charged with war crimes and for the murder of eight Macedonian soldiers.
(2) Ilinka Mitreva, FYROM's Foreign Minister, visited Washington on December
11 and asked the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, that the current
NATO mission to her country be the last one so that Macedonia finally
start taking care of its own stability. However, the bombings in Kumanovo
and Tetovo at the end of December illustrate how premature this demand
is and what consequences it may have in an ethnically intolerant society.
Indispensable conditions to this Macedonian request are the complete implementation
of the Framework Agreement and respect for the rule of law throughout
the country. Mitreva asked for US support in signing an arrangement with
the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Skopje promised it will solve in,
a transparent way, the demarcation of the country's borders and will help
with border crossings for local populations. The US promised to support
Macedonian preparations for NATO accession. (3) The EU will probably deploy
its own troops in the Balkans from February 2003. These will possibly
be stationed in FYROM. This announcement followed a landmark agreement
between NATO and the EU on 14 December. Following German and French pressure
in Copenhagen, Turkey unblocked the Berlin Plus accord that would allow
European access to NATO's planning and military assets for missions independent
of the US-led Alliance. Berlin Plus was designed to prevent Europeans
from duplicating NATO resources that could eventually be used to create
a EU security and defence arm. While in Copenhagen, France suggested that
the EU should go into FYROM without Berlin Plus since the Europeans could
easily take over the small 900-strong force from NATO. On 7 December,
NATO launched a new security mission, "Operation Allied Harmony",
to help with military reforms. The operation involves 450 soldiers and
will be reviewed in February 2003 to decide if the EU is ready to take
over. (4) On 17 December, Germany donated 150 "Iltis" military
vehicles to the Macedonian army during a ceremony at the Gotse Delchev
military barracks in Skopje. A Macedonian platoon of ten is expected to
join the German contingent to ISAF in Afghanistan.
On 26 November US President George Bush sent a Congressionally mandated
report to Congress on the progress made toward "militarily significant
benchmarks" for achieving a sustainable peace in Kosovo. The President's
letter says that the administration anticipates KFOR and US participation
in it will gradually be reduced in size as public security conditions
improve and Kosovars assume increasing responsibility for their own self-government.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
The EU will take over a military peacekeeping mission in Bosnia from
NATO. This was offered by a Union summit statement in Copenhagen on 13
December. The EU is gradually taking responsibility for the Balkans, freeing
up US forces for other global missions, notably in the war against terrorism.
Initial consultations for the take-over will be held by February 2003.
SFOR has responsibility for helping the implementation of the US-brokered
peace accords that ended the war in Bosnia (1992-95). NATO's presence
in the force has been reduced from 19,000 to 12,000. The EU will take
over a police task force in Bosnia from the UN at the start of 2003 and
will help to train and reform local police forces.
THE NATIONAL PERSPECTIVES OF THE BALKAN COUNTRIES: SPECIFIC ISSUES
Serbia and Montenegro
(1) On 8 December
Serbia failed in its third attempt this year to elect a president. Once
again, the reason was low voter turnout. Less than the legal minimum of
50 per cent of the registered voters took part in the election. Political
wrangling prevents reformers from pressing ahead with their plans and
the nation from focusing on economic and institutional changes. The present
Serbian president, Milan Milutinovic, whose term expires in January 2003,
will most likely join Slobodan Milosevic in The Hague. The International
Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has indicted them both
for atrocities against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. The present President
of Serbia and Montenegro, Vojislav Kostunica is in contest with radical
nationalist Vojislav Seselj and former paramilitary commander and kick-boxing
expert, Borislav Pelevic. (2) On 22 December, Montenegrins failed to elect
a president for their country due to low voter turnout. Milo Djukanovic
has been elected Prime Minister of the country and has freed the position
(1) On 29 November
the Bulgarian government survived two parliamentary no-confidence votes
called for by opposition parties after the cabinet bowed to EU pressure
to shut down four nuclear reactors. The closure of two of these has been
highly contested by the opposition, scientific experts and the public.
More than 500,000 signatures have been collected in support of preserving
the two nuclear power plant reactors in Kozloduy. When voting on the issue,
134 government and 132 opposition MPs voted against closing the plants
while 100 government and 98 opposition MPs supported the vote. Cabinet
Ministers argued during the deliberations that a refusal to comply with
Brussels' demands would have hurt Bulgaria's chances of joining the EU
in 2007. IAEA experts have confirmed that the two nuclear reactors in
Kozloduy are absolutely secure after a decade of safety improvements.
The Bulgarian government decided on Christmas Eve to resume building the
Belene nuclear plant. It is negotiating with Canadian, US and Russian
investors to secure the US$2 billion needed to finish the job. (2) On
29 November, Bulgaria's Foreign Minister, Solomon Passy, said his country
wants to take part in rebuilding Iraq after a possible US-led war to topple
Saddam Hussein. This would return some of the much-needed US$1.7 billion
in debt owed by Iraq to Sofia. Debt repayment will only be possible if
a democratic government returns to power in Baghdad. Bulgaria is prepared
to take part in the reconstruction and democratisation of Iraq. Sofia
is among the 50 capitals that Washington has consulted on what they can
contribute to a US-led war on Iraq. Iraq's debt to Bulgaria is 30 per
cent greater than the pre-accession aid the EU will provide in 2004-2006.
On 19 December,
the Slovenian parliament approved the new centre-left government of Prime
Minister Anton Rop after Janez Drnovsek stepped down as head of government
to become the President. Drnovsek was sworn in on 23 December when the
five-year term of President Milan Kucan expired and after winning the
presidential elections on 1 December. Regular parliamentary elections
will be held in 2004.
Ion Illiescu urged his country's authorities to wage an all-out war against
corruption on 19 December. Failure to eradicate endemic graft could endanger
Romania's drive to join the EU in 2007. Public institutions should restore
society's confidence by fighting crime especially. If corruption is not
fought, Romania may not join NATO and the EU and will be marginalized,
said Illiescu. According to Transparency International, Romania is ranked
bottom among EU candidates in terms of the perception of corruption endemic
there. Investors complain they have been deterred from coming to Romania
by high-ranking officials' extorting bribes. The ruling Social Democratic
Party has been the subject of special accusations of graft. It pledged
earlier in December that it would continue with legislation and other
measures to attack corruption and prevent money laundering. The government
needs to achieve greater transparency of property declarations by its
own members and those of parliament.
BILATERAL AND MULTILATERAL RELATIONS IN THE BALKANS. THE STATE OF THE
Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou said at the end of November
that the new Turkish government, which has Islamic roots, can be a role
model for other Muslim countries. The EU should encourage the reformist
trend in the new government by offering the prospect of membership and
setting a date for accession talks at the Copenhagen summit of EU members
on 12-14 December. Greece assumes the EU Presidency from 1 January 2003.
Papandreou's announcement on Turkey's government acting as a 'role model'
was made during his visit to the US.
Croatia-Serbia and Montenegro
Croatia and Serbia and Montenegro signed a landmark border deal on
a disputed Adriatic peninsula on 10 December in Zagreb. This deal will
pave the way for a rapid resolution to a 10-year old UN peacekeeping mission
at the Prevlaka peninsula, situated on Croatia's southernmost border with
Montenegro. The small stretch of land is of strategic importance, because
it controls access to the fiord-like Boka Kotorska bay, Montenegro's major
deep-sea port. Under the deal, the two countries will keep the area demilitarised.
They will also have joint police patrols although the peninsula will be
part of Croatian territory. Navy ships belonging to Serbia and Montenegro
will be allowed to pass through the channel leading into the bay, but
they will not be allowed to stop or conduct military exercises or any
other activity in the area. This bilateral agreement definitely contributes
to regional stability. Yugoslavia under Milosevic wanted this area to
remain part of the federation, because of its strategic importance while
Croatia has always considered it part of its territory. The agreement
includes a temporary arrangement on police and customs jurisdiction, de-mining
and new rules governing border crossings. Prevlaka has gone from being
a point of conflict to a point of cooperation, said Croatia's Foreign
Minister Tonino Picula. A detailed agreement, including a final land and
sea border will be negotiated at a later stage. The UN ended its tiny
mission on the peninsula on 15 December.
THE ECONOMIC SITUATION OF THE BALKAN COUNTRIES AND THE REGION
On 27 November, the Romanian government adopted an ordinance
that sets the principles, framework and procedures of unfolding compensation
operations (offset) for military hardware acquisitions with a view to
promoting Romania's economic interests and to even the trade balance.
To that end, an Offset Agency will be established as an autonomous public
institution and legal entity, reporting to the Ministry of Industry and
(1) At the end of
November a contract with an international consultant on the engineering
and management of the Danube Bridge 2 project at Vidin-Calafat was signed
at the Ministry of Transport in Sofia. The consortium under contract is
a tie-in between the British firm Scott Wilson Holdings, Flint & Neill
partnership and the Spanish Ibernisa S. A. The contract was signed by
the Head of the EC in Sofia and by a Ministry of Transport high official.
Construction will begin in the first half of 2004 and will be finished
by the end of 2006. The bridge is to form one of the EU's transport corridors,
starting from Germany and forking towards Thessaloniki (Greece) and Istanbul
(Turkey). (2) On 17 December the World Bank approved a US$50 million loan
to Bulgaria designed to improve job opportunities and living standards
in the country's poorest areas. The Bulgarian government will contribute
an additional US$16.74 million.
On 3 December in Athens, Bulgaria and Greece signed a memorandum for
the construction of the Burgas-Alexandroupolis oil pipeline. The three participants
in the project will have an equal share of the profits.
THE PROCESS OF DIFFERENTIATED INTEGRATION OF SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE IN EU
AND IN NATO
(1) On 13 December the EU formally approved a December 2004 review
date for Turkey's candidacy. This decision is "not negotiable"
from the EU's perspective. If Turkey passes the review, entry negotiations
are likely to begin soon afterwards. The EU acknowledged the strong determination
of the Turkish government to meet the EU's political criteria by December
2004 and membership talks with Ankara will start as soon as possible.
Party leader Recep Erdogan said after having "friendly talks"
with the French President Chirac and German Chancellor Schröder that
Ankara pursues reforms not only to join the EU, but also for its own national
interests. Turkey is the largest of all 13 EU candidates with a population
of 70 million. Just three per cent of the territory of the country is
in Europe. (2) On 18 December the EU's Enlargement Commissioner, Günter
Ferheugen, told Turkey it must stop completely the practice of torture
before it can hope to begin negotiations on joining the EU. An agreement
on the Cyprus issue, curbing the influence of the powerful Turkish military,
and tackling the Kurdish language problem are all topics the EU monitors
and insists Turkey find agreeable solutions to.
On 13 December the
EU decided to bring Slovenia into the union by 2004, together with nine
other EU-candidate countries.
At the EU's Copenhagen summit Bulgaria and Romania received a target
date of 1 January 2007 for joining the union as well as new "road
maps" and additional funds to accelerate the accession process.
EU-Serbia and Montenegro, Croatia, Albania, FYROM, Bosnia and Herzegovina
(1) On 9 December
the presidents of the five Balkan states came together with an appeal
to an expanding EU not to forget their aspirations to join the prosperous
Western bloc. They expressed their expectation that the final document
of the Copenhagen summit will contain a reference to their countries'
prospects for membership as a strong impetus to continuing on the path
to EU integration. After a decade of conflict, the leaders of the five
Balkan countries said they are committed to working individually and in
mutual cooperation in order to develop good-neighbourly relations, strengthen
democratic values and intensify economic reforms. The letter was signed
by President Alfred Moisiu of Albania, President Mirko Sarovic of Bosnia
and Herzegovina, President Stjepan Mesic of Croatia, President Boris Traikovsky
of FYROM and President Vojislav Kostunica of Serbia and Montenegro. The
five leaders pledged to intensify cooperation in the fight against terrorism
and organised crime, and to meet their obligations to the UN. (2) In its
decision of 13 December, the EU said it remained determined to avoid new
dividing lines in Europe and to promote stability and prosperity within
and beyond the union's new borders. It also reaffirmed the European perspective
of the countries of the Western Balkans in the Stabilisation and Association
Process as stipulated by the EU Council in Feira. (3) The upcoming Greek
presidency has decided to organise a summit between EU member states and
countries of the Stabilisation and Association process (the countries
of the Western Balkans) in Thessaloniki on 21 June 2003. Greece has selected
as priorities for its
NATO -Albania, Croatia, FYROM
At the end of November, the three countries decided to form the so-called
Ohrid-Adriatic group and to cooperate in speeding up integration into
NATO. During a visit to Tirana in the last days of November, NATO Secretary
General Lord George Robertson said the pact between the three Balkan countries
was a good start for them and also sent a message to the West. The pact,
also known as the "Tirana Initiative", will come into force
in January 2003. The presidents of the three countries first communicated
their desire to cooperate towards NATO membership to US President George
Bush in Prague during the NATO summit of 21-22 November. The three countries
will undertake common initiatives and military training and will make
a common representation in future meetings with the US, NATO and the EU.
Lord Robertson said NATO's door remains open. According to the Secretary
General of NATO, the biggest challenges faced by the three Balkan states
are border security and cracking down on crime. During the last ten years,
the Western Balkan countries have been involved in ethnic conflicts and
political chaos, which have built up barriers to legal free trade, while
allowing crime to flourish.
THE INFLUENCE OF OTHER EXTERNAL FACTORS ON THE REGION: NATIONAL GREAT
POWERS AND INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS
(1) On 3-4 December, US Deputy Secretary of Defence Paul Wolfowitz
visited Turkey. Ankara gave strong affirmations of support towards US
policy on Iraq. Wolfowitz underlined the important role of Turkey in dealing
with Iraq. (2) During the visit of Recep Erdogan to the US on 10 December,
he told President Bush that the Turkish Government wants strong ties with
the US and is ready to support a military strike against Iraq. Turkey,
Erdogan argued, will insist on the territorial integrity of Iraq while
Washington should take into account the economic effects a second Gulf
war might have on Turkey. Turkey has clearly formulated the price for
its aid against Iraq - US support for EU integration of Turkey and direct
economic compensation. The US and Turkey are negotiating the reduction
of US$5 billion in military debt to the United States, assurances on an
existing US$16 billion recovery loan from the IMF and limited trade preferences
to boost Turkish exports. (3) On 11 December, Turkish sources announced
that thousands of military and paramilitary forces were deployed around
the Iraqi border on 7-8 December. Infantry and support units comprised
theses forces. Communications and logistics were also transported to the
Iraqi border. Turkey already has more than 10,000 troops along this border.
Many of the troops were deployed in northern Iraq and operate in coordination
with the United States.
On 4 December US Under Secretary of State Marc Grossman met Greek
Defence Minister Yiannos Papantoniou in Athens. Grossman reiterated the
message he had already delivered in London, Ankara and Nicosia that there
is an opportunity in the next few weeks to move towards a peaceful settlement
in Cyprus and to bring Turkey one step closer to EU membership.
On 9-10 December, the US Assistant Secretary of State for European
and Eurasian Affairs, Elizabeth Jones, visited Sofia and met with President
Georgi Parvanov, Prime Minister Simeon Saxkoburggotsky and Foreign Minister
Solomon Passy. The two sides discussed the forthcoming ratification of
Bulgaria's membership agreement with NATO, the situation in Iraq and bilateral
relations. Elizabeth Jones is the most senior State Department representative
to have visited Bulgaria in the last three years.
United Nations. UN-Bulgaria
On 11 December Bulgarian
authorities reported they had arrested the former head of a state-owned
weapons repair plant on suspicion of his involvement in the illegal export
of military hardware to Syria. Valentin Tonchev (47) was the third defence
industry official to be arrested since last month when security services
intercepted on the border with Turkey a shipment of transmission parts
for Soviet-made combat vehicles bound for Syria. The UN has banned the
export of dual-use hardware to Syria. Investigations till now show that
these exports had not received government clearance.
European states continued their varied participation in the fight against
terrorism. War preparations in Iraq have significantly influenced the
general security situation of the Balkans. The EU specifically included
Southeast Europe in its latest round of enlargement: Slovenia will join
the Union in 2004, Bulgaria and Romania were given 2007 as an entry date,
while Turkey hopes to improve its "candidacy" status in December
2004 and eventually start negotiations for accession. The remaining five
countries from the Western Balkans are committed to joining the EU integration
process. NATO will also operate specific policies towards those candidates
that did not receive an invitation to join the Alliance in Prague last
month. Domestic developments in the individual Balkan countries are either
influenced by the EU and NATO enlargement processes or exert influence
that will place them on the "integration wave".
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-) 551 828
Dr. Todor Tagarev