Balkans: December 10, 2003


: A follow-up on the trial of November 17 terrorists in Greece: A Greek court sentenced November 17's leader, Alexandros Giotopoulos, to 21 consecutive life terms for a total sentence of 2,440 years. Chief assassin Dimitris Koufodinas, received 13 life terms.

UNMIK published its "Standards for Kosovo" report. The report sets targets for economic performance, implementation of the rule of law, and democratic reforms for the province. These must be met by sometime in 2005 before final status talks begin. The report includes standards for returning property to Serbs who fled after the Kosovo War in 1999. Kosovar Serbs issued a statement saying the UNMIK report does not effectively support Serbian rights.

U.S. and Romania have continued to discuss the relocation of US troops to Romania. Bulgaria is also under consideration. Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith told officials in both countries that the Us is interested in realigning its global posture but to do so with a much lighter footprint -- to have the kinds of capabilities around the world that will allow us to react quickly, with easily deployed forces, with lighter forces." Support facilities in Romania and Bulgaria would put US forces closer to southwest and central Asian hotspots.

December  9, 2003; Russia reported that at least six more ammunition trains will take weapons and ammo out of Moldovas Transdniester region before the end of 2003. Russian sources said 40 trainloads have left the Kolbasna depot in 2003. However, another 50 (possibly more) trainloads will be required before the withdrawal is complete.




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