Balkans: NATO Moves In

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April 29, 2006: Several Balkan nations want to join to NATO. Croatia has made a serious bid to join and so has Albania. Macedonia is modernizing its military, in an attempt to meet NATO requirements. All three countries believe that they will be invited to join NATO by 2008.

April 28, 2006: The US and Bulgaria formalized a ten-year military training and security agreement. The deal permits up to 2,500 US to use Bulgarian facilities on a six-month "rotational basis." During the Cold War some U.S. units "rotated" in and out of bases in Germany, usually on a six-month to one year basis. Two air bases figure prominently i the deal: the bases at Graf Ignatievo and Bezmer. US troops will also train at the Novo Selo training site. There will be some logistics and support facilities at Aitos. The US has reached an agreement with Romania to be able to use some Romanian military facilities.

April 26, 2006: Borders are always touchy subjects in the Balkans. Serbia is very touchy about the potential "border shift" that would make Kosovo a separate nation. Kosovo, however, is troubled about its Macedonian border. Kosovar Prime Minister Agim Ceku is arguing that the Kosovo-Macedonia border must be "renegotiated." Kosovo claims that a border deal negotiated by Macedonia and Serbia (in 2001) mistakenly gave Macedonia 3,000 acres. The land in question is described as farmland. At least-- for the moment-- everyone is discussing the border problems, instead of going to war.

April 25, 2006: The 1999 Kosovo War continues to roil Serbia. Serb prosecutors indicted eight police officers for killing 48 Albanian Kosovars. The murders occurred in 1999. One of the indictments is for the murder of a family in the village of Sueva Reka in March 1999. The prosecutors indicated that the victims of that particular atrocity were brought from Sueva Reka and buried in a mass grave near Belgrade (at Batajnica).

 

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