SUN, 06 MAR 1994 21:06:09 GMT
AIM, Skopje, March 3, 1994
Summary: Although Macedonia is considered as a region which will, in the final distribution of the spheres of influnce between the West and Russia, end up in the West - it still is not a fait accomplis. Has not the moment arrived for Belgrade and Athens to demonstrate jointly how unpleasant a combined Serbian-Greek isolation can be. Karadzic has called Macedonia again to join Serbia and Montenegro in order to be protected against Albanian nationalism.
After the initial fear felt after four Serbian airplanes were shot down over Bosnia, the atmosphere in Macedonia is slowly calming down. When it proved that the Serbs will after all not respond to the efficient action of the NATO air-force, as they had threatened just before it took place, certain relief was felt among the population of Macedonia. Because, before this had become clear, it was feared that the escalation of the conflict in Bosnia could bring war not only to the border of Macedonia, but into it as well.
The statement of US Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, carried by all Macedonian media on Wednesday and Thursday through the news agency Makpres, also made life easier. According to the news, the first man of American diplomacy repeated that the USA are interested in the situation in Macedonia and protection of its territorial integrity. Although that too is a confirmation that Macedonia is, after all, as Macedonian media recently speculated, considered as a region which will in the final distribution of the spheres of influence between the West and Russia, end up in the West - it is not yet a fait accomplis.
Indirectly, the Serbs are still showing signs that they have not completely let go of this former Yugoslav Republic, which still features in the Serbian nationalistic circles as "Southern Serbia", and the Macedonians, if not as the Serbs from the South, then certainly as the "Orthodox brothers" who ought to be "protected".
In parallel with Karadzic's recommendation addressed to Macedonians that they will be destroyed by the Albanians, the FR of Yugoslavia closed its sky to Macedonian passenger planes, because, as the official statement read, Macedonian air companies did not pay their debts for using the Serbian air corridors. Therefore, after the blockade of land routes for Macedonian goods when the Greek Government introduced the economic embargo against Macedonia, the same happened with the air route now by decision of the FRY organs.
Altogether, when speaking of transportation connections - both railroad, roads, and air-corridors - Macedonia is forced to seek alternate routes, which are more costly, longer and insufficiently serviceable. The question here is - has not the moment when Belgrade and Athens (which is in a dispute with Skopje because of the name of the Macedonian state and its state insignia) will jointly demonstrate how unpleasant a combined Serbian-Greek isolation might be.
If it presents what one may call a real pressure, then the movement of tank units in Kosovo, is also a psychological pressure. Because, all analyses of the observers in the Balkans so far show that the conflict in Kosovo would, by a principle of connected vessels, spread into Macedonia.
In such an atmosphere, the Americans have started a new action of discouraging Macedonian neighbours from threatening Macedonia. American Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, stated in this sense, as Macedonian news Agancy, the Makpress carried, that the USA "are highly interested in preservatioon of territorial integrity of that country." Stressing that he thought that "its future is important to the USA", he added that the Serbs "were clearly made to understand that, should they jeopardize independence of Macedonia in any way, it would provoke a powerful response" of his country.
Almost at the same time with this new warning of Christopher's, the media in Macedonia carried a part of the interview the leader of Bosnian Serbs, Radovan Karadzic gave to the Greek weekly ENA, which in a way placed Christopher's statement into the reality of the Balkan context. Through this Greek weekly, Karadzic called Macedonia again to join Serbia and Montenegro, i.e. Yugoslavia, in order to protect itself against Albanian nationalism. And as the independent Macedonian TV station A-1 carried, Karadzic specified that "Macedonia's place is within the new Yugoslavia, even if as an independent state".
Should Macedonia insist on staying without, its borders will be overflowed with Albanians, the leader of Bosnian Serbs sent word to the Macedonians, as the only politician in the world who found that the Greek decision to introduce the embargo against Macedonia was "a wise decision". According to his words, the current situation in Macedonia presents a true danger for Greece and Serbia.
Developing further his concept of arranging the relations in the Balkans, Karadzic assessed that if Macedonia found itself under the protection of Yugoslavia, the Serbs would "have a common border with Greece". He called Athens again to form a Greek-Serbian Confederation, which could be "a happy marriage and a great opportunity for a joint development of the two nations linked by Orthodox Christianity" - TV station A-1 transmitted the article of the Greek weekly.
After a long calm period, this is how the old offer made by the President of Serbia, Slobodan Milosevic, publicly announced more than a year ago for the first time, was promoted again.