In A Bid To Get Entrenched In The Region Nato Launches Development Of A New Strategic Balkan Concept

On January 14 the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation began to develop a new strategic concept in the Balkans. Intended for a period until 2005, the concept seeks to create conditions for protection of the interests and sealing of the presence of the NATO forces in this region on a permanent footing, RIA Novosti quotes a military-diplomatic source as saying on Wednesday with reference to unnamed representatives of the NATO Brussels headquarters. According to the source, in line with the budding concept "the structure of the NATO group in the Balkans, its forces and means composition, goals, resources and financing will practically remain unchanged. It is also planned to open a new route for NATO logistic supply via Yugoslavia". In order to demonstrate the Alliance's adherence to the arrangement of peaceful life in the Balkans, part of the functions of the NATO forces is intended to be passed to civilians organs of power. The source said that, in the development of this concept, matters of troops control and operative activities, especially the conduct of psychological operations and mass media work, all-round supply for the group of forces and arrangement of their interaction with the civilian authorities will be thoroughly analysed and worked out. The development of the new concept is to take four months /from mid-January to May/. First coordination of this concept between the NATO allies is planned to be held at the end of February, said the source. According to it, the public opinion poll held by the international military police among the Serbian population of Kosovo has shown that the role of the United States in Kosovo is negatively assessed by 68.12 percent, rather negatively by 16.76 percent, rather positively by 9.29 percent, positively by 1.28 percent of the polled. For comparison's sake, the role of Russia in Kosovo is extremely negatively assessed by 39 percent, rather positively by 36 percent of the respondents.

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