Balkans: December 31, 1999


At the end of the year Serbia continued to pursue its "Russia and China" UN gambit, as reported in FYEO. On December 30 he Serb Defense Minister, Pavle Bulatovic, said in a series of statements that Yugoslavia intends to "broaden military, technological and scientific cooperation" with Russia. On December 31 Milosevic even went so far to suggest that Serbia would join Russia and Belarus in the their new "treaty of union." Milosevic is dreaming on joining a "mini-USSR." However, the Serb policy aim isn't farfetched. Serbia's aim is to coax Russia and China into vetoing UN sponsorship of UNMIK and KFOR operations in Kosovo when the mandate comes up for renewal in mid-2000.

Balkan intrigue continues. The Macedonian Interior Ministry stopped a truck carrying thirteen tons of "explosive material" at the Yugoslav border. The shipment originated in Bulgaria. Reports said the explosives were headed for a weapons plant in Uzhice, Serbia. The Macedonians identified the source of the shipment as a Bulgar ammunition manufacturing company named Souvenir. One analyst said Bulgarian smugglers prefer using the Macedonian-Yugoslav border through Kosovo to crossing directly from Bulgaria into Serbia. A KFOR and Macedonian government update on this story (of January 2) said the explosive base was worth around $200,000 but if refined would be worth around two million dollars.




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