PORTUGAL: NEW INITIATIVE FOR PEACE IN BALKANS

Dr. Jaime Gama, the Portuguese Foreign Minister, is currently on a visit to Belgrade, Kosovo and Podgorica to prepare the ground for Portuguese collaboration in economic programmes for Yugoslavia and to suggest a peace initiative to quell the growing instability in Kosovo and southern Serbia. Next Monday, in Brussels, Dr. Gama will present the Portuguese proposal for the application of European Union funds in the Balkans. This programme includes a special fund for the creation of a buffer zone in the Presevo Valley, where the Albanian separatist group UCPMB are fighting for a secession of the enclave away from Serbia and into an enlarged Kosovo as the first step towards a Greater Albania. To highlight is the tolerant and long-suffering position of the Yugoslav authorities, who appeal for a “common solution” with the Albanians, a solution which includes cooperation with the European Union and even with NATO. Dr. Gama speaks of “new relations” with Yugoslavia in a broad front of bilateral collaboration in the areas of the economy, politics and cultural issues. The Yugoslav authorities welcome Portuguese investment in the areas of infrastructures, telecommunications, energy and agriculture, areas which the country wants to develop to rebuild the economy after years of conflict and interference from abroad.

TIMOTHY BANCROFT-HINCHEY, PRAVDA.RU, LISBON