Crossfire War – Belgrade – Athens – Moscow Watch – Southeast Europe Theatre: Belgrade – Budapest – Sofia – Bucharest – Podgorica/(Brussels – Vienna – Warsaw)/Pristina – Tirana – Skopje – Sarajevo – Ankara – Teheran; Serbia Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic Warns Serbia’s Neighbors and European Union Against Recognition of Kosovo – “A Very Dangerous Path”
Night Watch: PODGORICA – Speaking from Podgorica, the capital of Montenegro, bordering Serbia and along the Adriatic, Serbia Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic used his meeting with Montenegro Foreign Minister Milan Rocan, to warn Serbia’s neighbors about recognizing Kosovo independence.
Jeremic stated doing so, “Would cause long term instability in the region. I call upon all regional states to show restraint on the Kosovo recognition. Let’s not make any steps that would later be hard to reverse.” Belgrade found an agreeable audience in Rocan who said his country “will stay on the sidelines” concerning Kosovo independence and not give any support for any declaration by Kosovo Albanian leaders.
I admit I am surprised at Podgorica’s support of Belgrade’s position since Montenegro became independent of Serbia last year. Serbia-Montenegro were the last two states remaining in Yugoslavia after its disintegration into war began in 1991-92. I had assumed the government in Podgorica would therefore support Kosovo independence. [SERBIANNA]
His meeting with Rocan was on Friday, but the day before Jeremic was in Berlin meeting German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier where he no doubt encountered a seriously concerned and worried official representing the country who lead the suspicious recognition of Slovenia’s and Croatia’s independence in December 1991 after fighting had begun that June between Croatia and Serbia.
I always suspected there were those in NATO, an inner circle, led by Berlin, who wanted to use the disputes and wars in the former Yugoslavia to make a power projection in the region, especially the NATO Sercretary-General Manfred Worner. Jeremic stated in his meeting with Steinmeier, “We in the Balkans have got a very bad experience with unilateral action. I think it would be a very dangerous path to take and I would like to loudly discourage all actors from engaging in acts of unilateralism, it is certainly not going to bring us closer to peace and stability.”
The “actors” who of course are going to take the unilateral independence action are the Kosovo Albanian leaders who are right now also touring European capitals demanding to know what happened to the recognition they were promised and were so close to.
Steinmeier, in his response to Jeremic, spoke of “several reasons” the European Union wants to reach a common position, one that would of course miraculously satisfy all parties concerned and avoid war resuming in this, the most intriguing theatre of World War III. One of the reasons is Serbia having heavily re-armed and Serbian leaders in Belgrade have stated constantly, for more than a year, they will fight to keep Kosovo inside Serbia. Jeremic dismissed the proposal that Kosovo be divided, “We don’t think that any partition of Serbia is going to help stabilze the region, regardless of where this partition line will run, whether or not it gets into the territory of Kosovo province.” [SERBIANNA]
Berlin and European Union are against Washington saying, through a misguided and loose cannon, President George W. Bush, that the U.S. would immediately recognize any independence declaration and since then Washington’s ambassador to Belgrade, Michael Polt, has reversed Bush’s statement.
But which of Serbia’s neighbors is most likely to recognize Kosovo? Obviously the Albanian government in Tirana would be the first and I assume ready to support Kosovo militarily with Albania’s new equipment and supplies from Turkey and Iran.
Years ago Teheran established what it called the Expediency Council, a high level advisory group directly connected to the Foreign Ministry. They now know, based on the latest, intriguing developments, it is now almost certain the Albanians will start the war again so Teheran has increased its contacts with Tirana.
Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, may also be willing to reconize Kosovo since most of Bosnia-Herzegovina is Muslim and there are Islamic extremist bases in the country which can be used in support of Albanians or in any attacks against NATO-Serbian units. But if Sarajevo does recognize Kosovo it would mean the destruction of Bosnia-Herzegovina because the Serbian community in the country, Republika Srpska and its government in Banja Luka, would either declare their own heavily armed independence or unity with Serbia.
I will be surprised if Sofia or Bucharest recognize Kosovo, since Bulgaria and Romania helped Serbia break the economic embargos imposed on Serbia by Brussels, through the United Nations, during the first wars in the region from 1991-2001. Of course defintely not Athens, which signed a security agreement with Belgrade last November and earlier this year a Greek military delegation arrived in Moscow. Budapest will not be supportive of any further division knowing the conflict could mean at lest an influx of a lot of refugees. There are also nationalistic communities, separatist political parties in Hungary and Slovakia which are eager to declare their independence if Kosovo receives recognition from the UN or EU. However, Skopje, Macedonia’s capital has indicated they are indeed willing to support Kosovo.