The UCPMB (Albanian guerrilla faction fighting for independence from Yugoslavia of the enclave around Presevo) and the Albanian Democratic Unity Party (PBDSH) have rejected Belgrade’s recent peace initiative. PBDSH President, Zeqirja Fazliu, declared the plan as “unacceptable” because it was an imposition and did not open any doors to negotiation. A PCPMB spokesman reiterated the same message: “We reject this plan categorically, it is not acceptable for the Albanian population”. Meanwhile to the north, European Union Foreign Affairs Commissioner Javier Solana visited President Vojislav Kostunica in Belgrade and pledged EU support: “We confirm our determination to continue to provide important economic and financial support to Yugoslavia, to aid the policy of democratic and economic reform and to promote reconciliation”. Hundreds of Belgrade residents gathered to protest against the presence of Solana, who had commanded NATO’s attacks on Yugoslavia as Secretary-General. While the climate today is different, with most Yugoslav residents wanting a quick return to the better lifestyle which preceded the conflicts in the Balkans, the same cannot be said of the Albanians. This people is a people apart, with its own culture, its own language, which is not Slavic, or Ugrian, or Latin and its own ancient laws, the “Kanun”. Hundreds of years of history had kept the Albanians confined to their own enclave of Europe behind the mountains. NATO’s meddling in complex affairs in regions which have nothing whatsoever to do with the main instigators of the Balkans War (USA, United Kingdom and France) has created an Albanian question. This question is due to become a serious problem in the near future, not only in Kosovo and Presevo but in a wider Balkan context. The first signs of this future conflict are visible in the words of the UCPMB and the PBDSH. Next stop: Macedonia.
TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.RU LISBON