Balkans: The Transdniestr Powder Keg

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April 24,2008: Moldova and separatists in the Transdniestr are once again discussing creating "one common state." The Transdniestr separatists want a guarantee of "equal rights" in this "common state." The separatists have been demanding the creation of a separate country or extensive autonomy. A copy of the draft treaty is circulating among diplomats and a few media organizations. The draft treaty stresses that the international community has a greater interest in the emergence of stable states with clearly defined borders, as opposed to amorphous state formations in which centrifugal tendencies predominate, such as Serbia and Montenegro. That is very interesting. It suggests that the diplomats recognize that Moldova is a war waiting to happen, one that would involve Russia, and they are trying to stop it. Transdniestr has many ethnic Russians.

April 22, 2008: European Union EUFOR peacekeepers in Bosnia is engaged in an operation to "root out" what is described as a Bosnian Serb "support network for fugitive war crimes suspects." The EUFOR peacekeepers raided a house in Banja Luka. Several major war crimes suspects remain on loose. Analysts have suggested that some of the Balkan smuggling and crime syndicates have been involved in helping hide war criminals. Why? Money.

April 19, 2008: The Bulgarian government said that it wanted Turkey to join the European Union. The Bulgarian statement specifically mentioned the Balkans and said that Turkey would play a major role in keeping the Balkans stable. Bulgaria fears Turkish political "isolation" and would rather see Turkey as politically part of Europe than part of the Middle East.

April 9, 2008: The UN criticized Serbia for planning to include Kosovar Serbs in Serbian elections scheduled for May 11. Serbia is using the elections to try and create the "de facto partition" of Kosovo. Ultimately Serbia wants to absorb parts of Kosovo north of Mitrovica.

April 8, 2008: . The United States officially opened a US embassy in Pristina, Kosovo. Kosovar Albanians view this as a statement that Kosovo is a full-fledged nation state.

April 3, 2008: The March election of Demetris Christofias as president of Cyprus has created new hopes for ending the island's divided status. Christofias is a Greek and a Communist and wants to end what he called "hardline policies" by Greek Cypriots towards Turkish Cypriots. In the wake of his election Greek and Turkish Cypriots are ripped down a barricade near a border crossing point in Nicosia's business district. Both Greek and Turk businessmen in the area supported the action (more customers). Later on Turkish soldiers closed the crossing point, then re-opened – a statement that the bigger political issues remain unresolved.

NATO admitted Albania and Croatia as members. Macedonia, however, was not admitted. The reason? The continuing "name war" between Macedonia and Greece.

 

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