Balkans: War For the Albanian Coast

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April 7, 2006: In 1991 Slovenia was the first Yugoslav republic to break away. Compared to Serbia's war with Croatia, and the subsequent wars of "devolution" in Bosnia and Kosovo, the "Slovene departure" was swift and relatively blood-less. However, there was a week-long period in 1991 where the Yugoslav National Army (at the direction of Serbia's Slobodon Milosevic) invaded Slovenia. Now Serbia has opened a war crimes investigation. Serbian prosecutors claim they have television footage showing Slovene rebels murdering three Yugoslav National Army soldiers. The Serbs claim the murders may be the "first war crimes" of Yugoslavia's civil war. If so that is both sad and ironic. Slovenia did escape much of the fighting and came out of the war largely unscathed.

April 5, 2006: A UN spokesman criticized Serbia for encouraging Kosovo's Serbian ethnic minority to boycott Kosovo's government and civil institutions. Serbia believes that the UN has already decided to push for full Kosovar independence. Meanwhile, in Greece, Russia, the US, and ten southeastern European countries participated in "informal talks" about Kosovo's future. The former Balkan "Contact Group" has said that while Kosovo cannot remain part of Serbia, it should not be partitioned along "ethnic lines" (ie, into Serb and Albanian zones). It cannot be appended to another country (eg, Albania).

April 4, 2006: The Albanian government instituted a three-year-long ban on the use of speedboats in Albanian coastal waters. The ban is part of an Albanian anti-smuggling program. Albania says that drug smugglers and human traffickers use speed boats to transit Albanian waters. The boats usually head for either Greece or Italy. The smuggling gangs are wealthy and well armed, and may not react peacefully to the ban.

 

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