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domenica 24 ottobre 2010

Clinton in the Balkans: stop China and Russia and promote the EU

Washington is officially back in the Balkans - a region that the U.S. wishes to support on its path towards full integration in the euro-Atlantic structures - with the visit of Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. The two key words of the mini-tour were diplomatic dialogue and reform.

First stop was the Bosnia and Herzegovina, almost two weeks before the elections, where the Secretary of State met with the Bosnian high places which he reiterated the urgent appeal to start the process of constitutional reforms necessary for EU integration of the country and NATO. In Sarajevo, after the inauguration of the new U.S. Embassy, Clinton also met with university students at the National Theatre, later comparison with the three parties (Muslim, Serb and Croat) components of the chair. It 'important to note that the two entities that make up Bosnia, the Federation BH Croat-Muslim majority and the Serb Republic with a Serb majority, are deeply divided on the issue of reform. While the Federation would like to move towards a more centralized state, the Serb component is strongly opposed, and remain steadfast in defending their independence, even threatening secession.

Second leg of the tour was just Belgrade, where President Boris Tadic and the highest authorities of Serbia, Clinton stressed the importance of starting as soon as possible the dialogue with Pristina to reach a settlement of the dispute over Kosovo, where the Secretary of U.S. State then went the next day, at the end of his whirlwind tour. In Belgrade, Clinton also saw Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic and Defense Dragan Sutanovac, as well as in the evening also meet representatives of NGOs. All stressed U.S. support for the efforts that Serbia is putting in place to fully integrate into the EU, hoping for an early start to dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. A dialogue, he said, "that will benefit both peoples, Serbian and Kosovar Albanians, in solving the problems of everyday life, and long-term relationship between the two communities."

Final and third stage Pristina, the capital of Kosovo. After welcoming the representatives of the city have accompanied you on a tour of the city, starting from the square as the statue of her husband Bill Clinton. By chance that the visit of U.S. Secretary of State has come in the midst of an institutional crisis in Kosovo, which is preparing for early elections after the resignation of Fatmir Sejdiu as president. The President of Kosovo has resigned after a Constitutional Court ruling that had declared incompatible with the role of the leader of her party, the Democratic League of Kosovo. "I was convinced that keeping the chair of the Democratic League without exercise does not violate the Constitution, but the Court decided otherwise, and then respect the decision," Sejdiu said, announcing his resignation.

In this meeting, Clinton received assurances that, despite the election campaign, should not stop dialogue with Serbian officials. Moreover, its goal is to have free elections, but also to convince the Serb minority in Kosovo to vote representatives. Mrs. Clinton, however, would not only safeguards the future of technical negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo but also for after the election. Why Kosovo deserves a strong coalition to challenge the rampant corruption and economic underdevelopment. At the end of this short trip you can draw some conclusions. First, the visit has softened the nationalist Serbs in Bosnia Serb entity ensuring longevity. Serbia has promised that the Clinton rapprochement with the West, but without guaranteeing the acceleration of the integration process. In Kosovo has, however, urged the beginning of the dialogue, despite early elections. But to accelerate these two processes we need the OK from EU.

For this it is clear that the Obama administration will monitor closely the situation in the Balkans, not leave the field open to Russia, to counter the economic penetration of China and the EU that its finally support - they say in Washington - still needs the U.S. to manage the complicated chessboard of the region.

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