Crises in the Balkans: Views from the Participants

By Constantine P. Danopoulos; Kostas G. Messas | Go to book overview
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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.

Aside from press monitoring and the author's own conclusions, interpretation of Romania's perception of the impact of the crisis and its possible resolution are based on informal conversations which the author has held on a regular basis, since 1992, with Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu, Chief of the General Staff Dumitriu Cioflina, Deputy Defense Minister loan Mircea Pascu, and Director of Romania Foreign Intelligence loan Talpes.
Tv Euronews, October 14, 1995.
In an April 5, 1994 meeting with Slobodan Milosevic, Romanian President Ion Iliescu characterized Serbia (and Yugoslavia) as "the very best neighbors of Romania." Milosevic and the Yugoslav Ambassador to Bucharest have affirmed the same. See for example, Adevarul, September 9, 1994, and Vocea României, November 28, 1995.
See Iliescu's statement to the press during a visit of Yugoslav President Dobrica Cosic in Bucharest, Tanjug, February 25, 1993.
See The Observer, September 16, 1994; Deutsche Welle, November 28, 1995; and Adevarul Economic, December 1995.
For this reason, US intervention and leadership, which had been manifestly lacking in the first five years, was welcomed by Romania. See Presidential Press


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