Slovenian media publish “non-existent” non-paper on redrawing of borders in Western Balkans

Slovenian media publish “non-existent” non-paper on redrawing of borders in Western Balkans

The infamous non-paper envisaging changes at the borders in the Western Balkans, the existence of which was denied by Slovenian PM Janez Janša, appears to be an actual document according to Slovenian media reports.

The necenzurirano.si website published a document which claimed is the non-paper sent to Brussels, and specifically to Charles Michel personally.

No one has officially confirmed yet that European Council President Charles Michel has received such a document from Slovenia. According to unconfirmed reports by necenzurirano.si, the document titled “Western Balkans – the way forward” was received by Michel’s cabinet in February. According to sources, it was certainly not drafted by the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Part of its content reportedly concerns information from Budapest. Nevertheless, diplomatic circles in Brussels refer to the document as “Slovenian”, since Janša’s cabinet is said to have participated in sending it to various recipients. Given that the said text constitutes an unofficial diplomatic document intended to unofficially communicate various positions and initiatives, it lacks both a head and a signature. Its delivery to Michel circumvented the official diplomatic post, and therefore its existence can be publicly denied at any time.

It therefore does not constitute an official Slovenian position, but only one of the informal proposals for possible solutions to issues concerning the countries of the former Yugoslavia. Its content, nonetheless, is in complete contradiction with all valid documents upon which the foreign policy of Slovenia is based. Moreover, the document is tailor-made for Serbian and Croatian nationalist circles, which have been attempting to dismember Bosnia and Herzegovina for three decades.

In this context, in its introduction the document mentions the “unresolved national issues of Serbs, Albanians and Croats” that emerged after the dissolution of Yugoslavia. The authors of the document emphasize that, even after the post-war prevalence of peace, the promised European perspectives and the progress of North Macedonia and Montenegro in this direction in the region, there exist several “key issues that remain unresolved”. These are the following:

– the 1995 Dayton Agreement, which terminated the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina that claimed more than 100,000 lives, practically recognized what had been achieved in the war but not in principle.

– at the moment, it is difficult to imagine the European perspectives of Serbia and Kosovo.

– BiH’s membership in the EU can be completely excluded.

– in the meantime, the free space has filled up by Turkey, which has increased its influence in BiH and North Macedonia.

– except for Turkey, a handful of local politicians and their supporters who personally benefit from chaos and dysfunctional institutions, no one is satisfied with the situation in BiH.

 

The document proposes “solutions” to these problems. The authors of the document emphasize that Serbia, Croatia and Albania currently have stable governments and their elected politicians are capable of proceeding to strategic decisions. The suggestions are:

1) The unification of Kosovo and Albania. “In Kosovo, 95% of the population want to unite with their Albanian nation of origin. The situation is similar in Albania. The border between Albania (a NATO member) and Kosovo de facto does not exist. The Serbian part of Kosovo is granted a special status – following the model of the South Tyrol.”

2) The unification of the biggest part of the Republika Srpska territory with Serbia. “The Serbian national issue can be largely solved by joining a large part of the Republika Srpska with Serbia. In this case, Serbia is willing to agree on joining Kosovo with Albania,” the document notes.

3) “The Croatian national issue can be resolved: by joining the predominantly Croatian cantons in BiH with Croatia or by granting a special status to the Croatian part of BiH (using South Tyrol as a model).”

4) “Bosniaks will thus gain an independently functioning state and assume full responsibility for it. A referendum is organised for people to choose between an EU and non-EU (Turkey) future. For the time being, a convincing majority of Bosniaks support the EU perspective but, in the case of the continuation of chaos and an increasingly stronger influence of Turkey and radical Islam prevail, the situation could drastically deteriorate over the next decade.

The authors claim, according to necenzurirano.si reports, that these “solutions” would speed up negotiations on the Western Balkan countries’ EU and NATO membership. However, these are proposals that are strongly opposed by the US, Germany, France and other European countries. Namely, the international community emphasizes the importance of the territorial integrity of BiH and opposes the redrawing of borders in the area of the former Yugoslavia. This would open Pandora’s Box and would probably lead to new wars. A green light for the dissolution of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the unification of Kosovo with Albania would offer new impetus to Serbian nationalists in Montenegro and to Albanian nationalists in North Macedonia, two NATO Member-States.

Slovenia’s and Janša’s alleged connection to this document is probably the biggest blow to the forthcoming Slovenian EU Presidency.

The fact that the document on BiH’s division indeed exists also allows for a new perspective to Slovenian President Borut Pahor’s visit to the country in early March. As BiH Presidency member Željko Komšić revealed earlier this week, Pahor asked him about a possible peaceful dissolution of BiH. Pahor’s cabinet later claimed that the President opposed the idea of disintegrating BiH. The question of a peaceful dismantlement was reportedly raised solely out of concern over these ideas.

By joining the Croatian diplomatic initiative, Slovenia has further distanced itself from the largest EU countries. Along with Hungary, it is supported by only three Orthodox countries: Greece, Bulgaria and Cyprus. The first two have their own interests in the issue of North Macedonia, especially in conditioning its further European accession. Russia, a key political ally of the Serbian member of the BiH Presidency Milorad Dodik, who speaks openly about the accession of the Republika Srpska to Serbia, also endorses changes to the electoral legislation in BiH in favour of Zagreb. /ibna