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  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Conflict over Abkhazia, squeezed between the Black Sea and the Caucasus mountains, has festered since the 1992- 1993 fighting. Internationally recognised as part of Georgia and largely destroyed, with half the pre-war population forcibly displaced, Abkhazia is establishing the institutions of an independent state. In twelve years since the ceasefire, the sides have come no closer to a settlement despite ongoing UN-mediated negotiations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Government
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Georgia, Abkhazia
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The law does not yet rule in Bosnia Herzegovina. What prevail instead are nationally defined politics, inconsistency in the application of law, corrupt and incompetent courts, a fragmented judicial space, half-baked or half-implemented reforms, and sheer negligence. Bosnia is, in short, a land where respect for and confidence in the law and its defenders is weak.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Herzegovina, Eastern Europe
  • Publication Date: 09-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The war option has, for the moment, been checked, but Macedonia is very far from being at peace. Neither the agreement signed on 13 August 2001 2 by the four Macedonian governing parties – two ethnic Macedonian, two ethnic Albanian – nor the subsequent limited NATO deployment, nor the first-stage approval of necessary constitutional amendments by the Macedonian parliament on 6 September have yet given anyone confidence that peace is sustainable. The parliamentary vote, for example, came only after an acrimonious debate in which markers were laid down that ultimate approval of the legislative package could not be taken for granted.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Security, Human Rights
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Macedonia, Albania
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Macedonian and Albanian political leaders signed a political agreement – hailed by its Western midwives as a peace agreement – on 13 August 2001. NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson and the European Union's High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, flew to Skopje to attend the signing ceremony. But the strange context of the signing showed just how implausible it is that, without further extraordinary efforts, the agreement will actually provide a workable way to keep multiethnic Macedonia out of civil war. Details of the agreement had been hammered out by 8 August in Ohrid, a resort town chosen for the negotiations because it was some distance away from the latest fighting. Signature was delayed five days, however, while Macedonian government troops and ethnic Albanian rebels engaged in the deadliest series yet of tit-for-tat retaliations. Terms of the agreement were withheld from the public lest they provoke violent responses from hardliners on both sides. The ceremony, when it finally occurred, was carried out almost furtively, in a small room of the President's residence, without live television.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Politics, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Macedonia, Albania
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The past decade in the Western Balkans has seen very few peacefully negotiated transfers of territorial control. The most recent example ñ albeit one not involving any change of sovereignty - was also the only one achieved by NATOís direct mediation. In May 2001, the Presevo Valley was brought back under Serbian government control, ending an ethnic Albanian insurgency that had lasted some seventeen months.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Balkans
  • Publication Date: 07-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Despite the ceasefire announced on 26 July 2001, and the promised resumption of political talks in Tetovo on 27 July, Macedonia is still locked in crisis and threatened by war. Neither ethnic Macedonian nor ethnic Albanian leaders have been converted to belief in a 'civic' settlement that would strengthen democracy by improving minority conditions, without weakening the integrity of the state. Ethnic Macedonians fear that civic reforms will transform the country exclusively to its, and their, detriment, while ethnic Albanians are sceptical that any reforms can really be made to work in their favour. Nor have separatists from both sides, within the country and in the diaspora, given up their conviction that security for their communities can only be achieved by demarcating – and hence competing for – ethnically “pure” territory.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Macedonia, Albania
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: In late February, violence flared in Albanian-inhabited villages in northern Macedonia close to the border with Kosovo. In mid March, the violence spread to Macedonia's second largest city, Tetovo. The rebels claimed to be defending themselves against Macedonian security forces, i.e. their own government, and to be fighting for Albanian national rights in Macedonia. The coalition government in Skopje promptly raised the alarm, blaming Kosovo Albanian elements for exporting rebellion to Macedonia, and calling for the NATO-led forces in Kosovo (KFOR) to seal the border. The rebels claimed they were local Albanians, numbering 2,000 and recruiting dozens of volunteers from the surrounding area every day.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Macedonia, Albania
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The extraordinary parliamentary election to be held in Montenegro on 22 April 2001 is focused on the single issue of the republics future status, whether in a continued federal union with Serbia, or as an independent state. The election was called following the break-up of Montenegros ruling coalition at the end of December 2000 over this very question. Following the ouster of Slobodan Miloević as president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) in October 2000, Montenegrin President Milo Djukanović opted to formalise the republics break with the FRY, which in practice had already ceased to function in any meaningful sense. On 28 December 2000 two of the parties in the ruling .For a Better Life. (D.B) coalition, Djukanovićs Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) and the Social Democratic party (SDP), adopted a new Platform on relations with Serbia, which envisaged a loose association of fully independent states. The anti independence Peoples Party (NS) promptly left the DŽB coalition, thus precipitating the forthcoming election.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Yugoslavia, Serbia
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Reunification of Mostar is key to the reintegration of separatist Herzegovinian Bosnian Croats into Bosnia. After years of fruitless post-Dayton efforts to wean the Bosnian Croats from Zagreb and reorient them toward a constructive role in Bosnia, the international community at long last has the capability to achieve this goal. The success of the democratic forces in Croatia in the January-February elections there has brought reliable partners to power with whom the international community can work in Bosnia. Policy initiatives in Herzegovina will not require new resources and, if achieved, can lead to a reduction in the international profile in Bosnia. Failure to act on these opportunities will cripple the Bosnian peace effort and weaken the new government in Croatia. These issues present serious policy challenges.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, Politics
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Herzegovina, Eastern Europe, Croatia
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Montenegro has been a crisis-in-waiting for two years now, with Belgrade opposing efforts by a reform-minded government under President Milo Djukanovic to distance itself ever further from its federal partner Serbia. Federal President Slobodan Milosevic has steadily escalated the pressure against Djukanovic, probing the extent of NATO support for Montenegro and pushing the Montenegrins toward a misstep that might undermine their international backing. Each of the three possible policy-paths facing the Montenegro government, however, is unappealing in its own way:Going ahead with a referendum on independence for Montenegro would risk radicalising a population still peacefully divided over the issue, and would offer maximum provocation to Belgrade, which retains a powerful military presence in Montenegro. Maintaining the status quo may offer a better chance of avoiding open confrontation with Belgrade, but it leaves Montenegro in a limbo. Its friends are not offering all the help they could, on the grounds that it is not a sovereign state; but prospects for selfgenerated income through inward investment or revival of the tourist industry are still hostage to international risk perceptions. Achieving rapprochement with the Serbian government would be possible if Milosevic went. But Montenegro cannot afford to leave its future in the unsure hands of the present Serbian opposition. And as the atmosphere in Serbia steadily worsens, political and public opinion in Montenegro appears to grow ever less willing to compromise.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, NATO, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Serbia, Montenegro