Balkans: Kosovo Catastrophe Coming


November25, 2006: Political sparring continues over Cyprus. As a political gambit to force Cyprus to fulfill political promises made to Turkish Cypriots, Turkey has closed it seaports and airports to traffic from the Greek half of Cyprus. Finland has offered a plan that would help open the Turkish half of Cyprus to new trading opportunities. The "Finnish plan" would open the Turkish Cypriot port of Famagusta to international trade. In exchange, the Turkish military would withdraw from the Cypriot town of Varosha. UN observers would replace the Turkish troops. Varosha is currently a "ghost town." This is all part of the slow end game of the war that followed the Greek Cypriot coup in 1974. Turkey responded by sending troops to Cyprus and taking control of approximately half of the island. The Greeks called the Turkish response an invasion, the Turks said it was an intervention to protect Turkish Cypriots.

November 24, 2006: Bulgaria will expand its military contingent serving in Afghanistan. Bulgaria currently has 151 troops in Afghanistan. It will send another company of troops (approximately 120 soldiers).

November 22, 2006: The United Nations Mine Action Center (MAC) on Cyprus said that it had destroyed the last land mines in the Nicosia, Cyprus area. Nicosia has been declared "mine free." The UN group is still clearing other landmines on Cyprus. Most of the mines were laid by Greek Cypriot and Turkish forces after Turkey's 1974 intervention in Cyprus.

November 20, 2006: The Montenegro says that Serbia has "inherited all" of former Serbia and Montenegro's (ie rump Yugoslavia's) international military obligations. Montenegro intends to avoid any civil suits that may arise from the Bosnia war. A civil suit "for genocide" has been filed against Serbia and Montenegro.

November 19, 2006: The United Nations Mission in Kosova (UNMIK) will probably leave Kosovo sometime in 2007. The UN intends to reach (or force) a decision on Kosovo's ultimate status. Serbia vehemently rejects Kosovo independence. The Kosovar government is demanding independence.

November 17, 2006: Kosovo has decided to court the Russians. The Russians have objected to Kosovar independence from Serbia. Kosovo has decided to send a delegation to Moscow. Analysts have suggested that Kosovo intends to assure the Russians that Kosovo independence will not set a precedent for other independence movements in Europe. However, various ethnic groups and independence movements throughout Europe already point to Montenegro's final withdrawal from Yugoslavia as a precedent.

Kosovo also intends to send diplomatic missions to Belgium (to the EU) and to the United States.

November 16, 2006: Turkey suspended military ties with France. Turkey objects to French legislation that "criminalizes denial" of the Armenian genocide during World War I. Basically Turkey is telling France it will not buy French military equipment.

November 13, 2006: The European Union will postpone a decision to reduce the size of its peacekeeping force in Bosnia. The EU had planned on reducing its force of 6,500 to around 1,500 by next year. However, several nations in the region are concerned that the tension between Serbia and Kosovo could escalate as a decision on Kosovo's "final status" nears. Everyone feels reassured if EU troops remain in Bosnia - and remain in significant numbers.

Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria, and Romania agreed to form a multi-national military group. The unit will be formed in July 2007. The 105-man unit will used for humanitarian and evacuation missions undertaken by the European Union.

November 10, 2006: The UN said that any decision on Kosovo's final status will be made after January 21, 2007, the date Serbia holds its general elections.




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