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A Balkan crisis that some see as overblown

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A Balkan crisis that some see as overblown

Post by shammy on Tue Nov 20, 2007 7:02 am

November 19, 2007
By Nicholas Wood

Bosnia is facing its worst political crisis since the end of the war here 12 years ago, and its very future is in doubt. That, at least, is the conventional wisdom coursing among international officials and ethnic Serb politicians who are fighting over the way the country is governed.

As the argument rages, Bosnia's prime minister, an ethnic Serb, has resigned and Serb politicians are threatening to withdraw from the complex tangle of institutions set up to hold this state together when the Dayton agreement ended three and one-half years of war in 1995.

The current crisis is sending shudders through European capitals because it coincides with the vexed question of Kosovo and the determination of the ethnic Albanian majority there to break away from Serbia and become independent.

But reality may not be as dire as the frenzied talk, which even raises the prospect of another war. For it is clear that the main participants get some political mileage out of the doomsday tone and the points being argued. That is true of the foreign officials who administer Bosnia, the local politicians, and notably true of Serbia as it tries to stall steps by the West to recognize Kosovo.

The leaders of the Serb Republic, which makes up half of Bosnia and Herzegovina, are pitted against Miroslav Lajcak, a Slovak diplomat who is Bosnia's High Representative and the country's most senior international official, with the power to write laws and dismiss public officials.


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