Balkans: October 13, 1999


An ethnic Albanian candidate in Macedonia's elections called for Kosovo independence, sparking an internal political row in Macedonia. 23 percent of Macedonia's population of 2.1 million people are ethnic Albanian. The election is scheduled for October 31. Of all nations in the Balkans, Macedonia is the most vulnerable to destabilization if a policy of "shifting borders" were instituted.

International sources said that only 4,400 of 22,000 Croats expelled by Serb forces from the town of Vukovar have returned. Vukovar, in Eastern Slavonia, is now under Croatian control. Serb forces occupied it from 1991 until January 1998. Meanwhile, a report prepared for the Croatian government estimated that the Serb-Croat war (1991-95) cost 37 billion dollars in terms of actual war damage and economic losses.

Greece has informed Turkey that it needs "tangible proof" of the improvement in Greek-Turk relations. This translates into real diplomatic efforts to resolve the stand-off on Cyprus and boundary disputes in the Eastern Aegean.




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