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West Balkan has potential for conflicts: 18 possible conflicts could light up other ones

DW stated that Staininger, when asked about the current situation in Kosovo, said that Kosovo is currently facing enormous difficulties, because, although the relations between Belgrade and Pristina have noticeably improved, there are regular tensions

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Sylvia Steininger, politics experts, says that Western Balkans is not settling down, and that potential for conflicts is extremely high, and as a proof of it, she listed division, separatism, anti-government protests, provocations along ethnic lines.


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The question remains whether Balkan remains a "powder keg" ? Staininger to "Deutsche Welle" says: "In this geographically small region, there are a large number of highly toxic and very long-lasting conflicts. It is particularly noticeable that the number of ethnic conflicts that we've been following for years, even decades, certainly have not decreased in the Balkans. In our opinion, the potential for conflicts in the Balkans remains noticeably high."


Institiut for research of international conflicts from Heidelberg (HIIK), where Staininger works for, noticed 18 conflicts, most of which are not violent, but as she said for "Deutsche Welle", last year, there were only two isolated conflict, the conflict between the opposition and the government in Kosovo and an identical conflict in Macedonia


She, however, noted that the two conflicts were practically the lowest level of a conflict in which violence is used.


Foto: AP/Tanjug

Foto: AP/Tanjug


According to her, there can be seen three groups conflict in the Balkans.


- The first group includes those who have a strong ethnic background and are mainly remains of the Balkan wars, and are therefore in the former Yugoslavia. The second group are the classic conflict between the opposition and the government, which appears in the non-violent level in Romania and Bulgaria, Kosovo and Macedonia. The third group conflicts are those relating to militant groups, such as conflicts between xenophobic, right-wing, to the extreme right-wing groups and minorities in Hungary and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) - she said.


Kosovo against enormous difficulties 


DW stated that Staininger, when asked about the current situation in Kosovo, said that Kosovo is currently facing enormous difficulties, because, although the relations between Belgrade and Pristina have noticeably improved, there are regular tensions.


- We have witnessed one of them in mid-January when the Serbia sent the first passenger train in 18 years from Belgrade to Mitrovica. In addition, a line of conflict between the opposition and the ruling Albanian nationalists within Kosovo remains, led by Prime Minister Hashim Thaci. Albanian nationalists are increasingly trying to prevent implementation of the agreement with Serbia and Montenegro, by making use of tear gas in parliament or by violent riots in the capital Pristina - she said.


Foto-ilustracija: Tanjug/Nemanja Jovanović, Wikipedia

Foto-ilustracija: Tanjug/Nemanja Jovanović, Wikipedia


Great test of endurance for Bosnia and Herzegovina 


Staininger says that intensifying discourse regarding the possible secession of the Republika Srpska was on the rise in the past few years in BiH, but also, the threat to state sovereignty from Islamic groups in BiH should not be underestimated, considering that more than 200 residents of the state joined the armed conflict of Islamist groups in the Middle east since 2012.


- The combination of these two conflicts, for one fragile country like BiH, is a great test of endurance - concluded Staininger.


Foto: Wikimedia/Ex13

Foto: Wikimedia/Ex13


Tense in Macedonia


Speaking about Macedonia, she said that the conflict with the opposition last year was one of the worst crises that HIIK followed in the Balkans.


- We have determined a violent level in Macedonia and it doesn't seem that it could deescalate in this year. Our prognosis is therefor negative. We are following the protests with great concern around Albanian Language as second official language. Mixing the questions of political rule of the ethnic ressentiment in the Balkans is an explosive combination - said Staininger.


Staininger concluded that the large number number of long term "very toxic" conflicts is noticeable on Balkans, which are monitored by the institute and which are not reducing. 


According to her, EU plays an important part in the entire area of Western Balkans, and for the countries of former Yugoslavia, EU is an option for the future, but also, very frequently, a goal for further transformations towards democracy.


Foto: Tanjug/AP

Foto: Tanjug/AP


(Telegraf.co.uk / Tanjug)

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