Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Marginal Issues for Marginal Leaders

Few days ago Croatian President Stipe Mesić (Stipe Mesic) reminded people that he still exists with his views that Croatia should claim 15 billion euros of war reparations from Serbia. He succeeded in bringing attention to himself, but he also gave ammunition to another embattled Balkans leader.

Zoran Djindjić (Zoran Djindjic), Serbian prime minister who so far seems to have the upper hand in his struggle with "soon-to-be-renamed-Yugoslavian" president Vojislav Koštunica (Vojislav Kostunica) is facing the rapidly shrinking popularity of his governing coalition. So, Mesic's initiative came like a godsend, since it gives him opportunity to flash his credential of Serbian nationalist. Djindjić quickly answered to Mesic's claims by announcing Serbian counterclaim – some 150 billion US$ for 200,000 or so ethnically cleansed Serbs, destroyed homes, stolen property etc.

Naturally, Croatian politicians called this claim "outrageous" and "ridiculous", while Croatian public is again going to relive the traumas of the past decade. The issue is going to help Mesić and Djindjić, but it would do both of their countries very little services.


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