Milosevic, Tudjman Tie The Knot

  • Share
  • Read Later
ATHENS: The last time Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and Croatian President Franjo Tudjman met alone, in 1991, many believe they discussed the division of Bosnia. This time, a more promising result: After a meeting Wednesday near Athens, they surprised the diplomatic community by announcing the establishment of diplomatic relations between Croatia and Serbia, which have been at war for most of this decade. "For the entire region, this is probably a good thing. The jury's still out for the federation of Bosnia and the unstable government there," says TIME's Central Europe bureau chief Massimo Calabresi. "Stronger ties between Serbia and Croatia are not likely to be good for the Bosnian Muslims." Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis apparently played matchmaker, but Calabresi notes each man stands to gain from mutual recognition and the establishment of ties. "Both nations are in bad economic shape, so Milosevic sees the possibilities of greater trade with Croatia. Mending fences with Croatia also goes a long way toward assuring international investors that Serbia is no longer a pariah state. Tudjman gains another feather in his cap as father of his country." Tudjman said afterward: "We agreed on normalization of all issues and all open problems." That may mean some progress was made toward resolving border disputes between the two nations, as well as the future of Eastern Slavonia, a region of Croatia that resisted secession from Serbia-dominated Yugoslavia. Croatia only last year put down a rebellion by the local Serb population, and the conflict drove many Croatian Serbs into Serbia and Montenegro. Scot Woods