Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Progress in the Balkans

In spite of problems, things are moving ahead in important parts of the Balkans. There might be three dead in the less than perfect Albanian elections and three well-placed bomb explosions in Pristina, but between Croatia and Serbia there is a slow but steady improvement in the relations.

In the next few days, Croat President Mesic will visit both Serbia and Montenegro. Serb President Tadic and Mesic will visit northern Serbian town of Subotica where the two will visit the refugees’ camp and talk with Serbs who left Croatia after the so called Operation Storm.

This was the Croat military operation in August 1995 which lead to some 200 000 Serbs leaving Croatia. The visit a decade after the operation is thus of high symbolic importance in terms of recobciliation and paving the way for better relations.

They will also talk with the representatives of Croatian national minority who live in the province of Vojvodina. And later, President Mesic will travel down to Tivat in Montenegro to meet with what’s left of the Croats that used to live in the beautiful area of the Bay of Kotor.

This is important. Croatia and Serbia remain the two most important countries in the region. Better relations between them means better conditions for stability and progress in the region as a whole.