Balkans: September 27, 1999


Six people announced they will run for president of Macedonia in elections scheduled for October 31. President Kiro Gligorov (head of the Social-Democratic Alliance of Macedonia, SDSM) announced he will not seek a third five-year term. Deputy Prime Minister Boris Trajkovski (Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity VMRO-DPMNE) is the current front-runner. The SDSM selected Tito Petkovksi as its candidate.

NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana said that rebuilding the Balkans is "impossible" as long as Serb President Slobodan Milosevic remains in power. Solana added that Europe needs to be able to conduct military operations "on the continent" (in Europe) without U.S. assistance. Solana's tenure as NATO Secretary-General ends October 6. He will be replaced by former British defense minister, George Robertson.

Over 50000 Serbs marched in demonstrations in Belgrade. Their chief demand is the resignation of President Milosevic. Several protest leaders compared Milosevic to a "Latin American dictator." The Alliance for Chance (AFC) was one of the main organizers of the protest march.

The Greek government announced that it will lead efforts to "bring Turkey and the European Union" closer together. The Greek government acknowledged that the current thaw in Greek-Turk relations could lead to an opportunity to reach a new agreement on the Cyprus issue and address other issues (such as lingering disputes over Aegean Islands) that divide Greece and Turkey.

Several press sources have reported that the US and Bulgaria intend to increase military cooperation. A Bulgarian government spokesman acknowledged that Bulgaria and the US are working on an agreement that would "provide US troops with supplies" on a "payment" basis. The US denied it was seeking bases in Bulgaria or spy facilities.




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