Balkan Developments

by N. Marakis

(“Vima”, May 27, 2001)

The situation in the Balkans is becoming confused again. Those recent events which have disrupted progress towards normalization are the agreement between Albanian political parties to provide amnesty for members of armed factions in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia; support of nationalist forces in the party of former King Symeon in Bulgaria, who looks set for a major electoral victory in the forthcoming elections; but also the inability of the present Albanian government to keep nationalist and extremist groups in check in its own territory as well as in Kosovo. Added to all this is the uncertainty which reigns in Montenegro, where there is a delicate balance between those parties that favour breaking away from Yugoslavia and those that advocate remaining in the Federation. What these developments have in common is the fact that political agreements which are made, cannot be implemented—as soon as information about their contents leaks out, they are revoked by those very same interested parties.

One particularly crucial feature, which actions taken by all sides recently have brought to light, has been the inability of the international community to co-ordinate its actions and the tendency displayed by all parties involved to feign ignorance as soon as diplomatic developments take an undesirable turn. This obviously exacerbates problems surrounding negotiations with local Balkan leaders as it convinces them that they can exploit the differences the countries of the West have with one another to further their own purposes; purposes which are not always compatible with the interests of the EU and the USA.


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