Croatian Catholics, and Bosnian Muslims should be encouraged to hold regular discussions over the next several years. As repositories of national identity, the attitude of these institutions and of their leaders toward reconciliation will be crucial for its success.
With regard to economic assistance, efforts must be taken to discourage the concentration of investment funds only in certain areas. Otherwise, there is the possibility of creating centripetal economic relations and reviving old divisions within the Balkans, thus perpetuating regional noncooperation and instability.
The point of departure for an effective Western and international policy in the Balkans should be the stabilization of bilateral and multilateral contacts in the region, primarily through the continuation and institutionalization of the process of Balkan cooperation. Also, an effective policy of cooperation will emphasize the links between the Balkan states and the member states of the EU. Purposeful diplomacy, conviction, and effort will be needed if these goals are to be realized. Romanians believe that, instead of a "clash of civilizations," false opposition between Catholicism and Orthodoxy, increasing fear regarding the incompatibility of Christianity and Islam, and unrestricted East-West rivalry, a close, constructive cooperation is not only possible but necessary for the constitution of the new Europe, within which the Balkans could become a region of stability, prosperity and progress.
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Publication information: Book title: Crises in the Balkans:Views from the Participants. Contributors: Constantine P. Danopoulos - Editor, Kostas G. Messas - Editor. Publisher: Westview Press. Place of publication: Boulder, CO. Publication year: 1997. Page number: 237.
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