News – Is the word ‘coloured’ offensive?

March 9th, 2008
This Tory MP is in hot water for using the word coloured. But is it offensive, and when did it become so?

The day after Bernard Jenkin was sacked as deputy chairman of the Adult dating free jewish online personals service Party, he has sparked a race row by using the word “coloured” in a radio interview.

In times when commentators say the term is widely perceived as offensive, a Labour MP lost no time in condemning it “patronising and derogatory”.

“It is shocking that in 2006 a Member of Parliament would still use the terminology ‘coloured’,” said Dawn Butler.

So is the word “coloured” offensive, or just dated? And why?

Question mark
A regular feature in the BBC News Magazine – aiming to answer some of the questions behind the headlines

“It’s wrong,” says Toyin Agbetu of Ligali, an African-British human rights dating ethnic. “Because it strips me of my identity and reduces me to the most superficial physical identifier, as opposed to my African ethnicity.”

The term was common parlance in the 1960s, but its origins are the problem, says Mr Agbetu. It comes from the ideology of racism, that white people are white, and everyone else is somehow other coloured. It fails to recognise that everyone has an ethnicity and is an inadequate “one-size-fits all” description.

Nor was it a term chosen by those it refers to, but instead imposed by the wider – and white – society.

Those who still use the term tend to be from older generations, he says, but adds that if they knew the history of the word, perhaps they would think again.

Universal use?

The debate is different in other countries, where the term is still widely used. In the United States, where the struggle for racial equality has been a huge political issue, the country’s foremost human rights group is the NAACP, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

Set up in 1909, and initially called the National Negro Committee, it works to eliminate racial hatred and discrimination. The group is mostly referred to by its initials, but the name itself has never been changed.

So what should Bernard Jenkin have said instead?

Mr Agbetu says he could have talked about “people of all ethnicity”, or specifically referred to African British or Asian British people.

Would everyone be offended by the use of the word? That depends, as taking offence is a subjective thing.

The ideal, perhaps not practical in Mr Jenkin’s case, but achievable with a bit of foresight, is to ask people how they would like to be referred to – who they are and how they define themselves, says Mr Agbetu.

Add your comments on this story, using the form below.

It’s perfectly reasonable to be offended by being called coloured, but how is it different to calling someone “white”? Surely, that’s a narrow and limiting definition of someone’s identity?
Gerry, London

What’s wrong with just referring to “people”? Why feel you have to use an adjective which differentiates?
Chris, Worcs

Isn’t it time we all stopped being so easily offended, both on our own behalves and on behalf of other people? Why does it matter? We’re all the same inside, anyway, we all love our children and want to get on with each other.

I’m not sure about how offensive it is – it’s just really inaccurate. I’m a pasty sort of ethnic dating site colour – I’m certainly not transparent or colourless.
Fiona, Maidenhead

It’s a dated term for sure, however, to chastise somebody for using the term “coloured” might be missing the point as I doubt it’s often used with racist intent.
Jim, London

When I was growing up in the 70s, “coloured” was considered by my white, ethnic dating site demographic as the polite word for dark-skinned persons. To call someone “black”, which is preferred by many people now, was extremely rude. In adulthood I see that we had this backwards, but it was well-intentioned.

I sympathise a little with Mr Jenkin, as this minefield is being constantly re-laid. For Labour to take such gleeful advantage is shabby. But he does need to keep up. I understand why “coloured” is seen as offensive now and certainly wouldn’t use it myself.
Rob Stradling, Cardiff

Don’t be confused by the use of “colored” in NAACP. The organization’s name goes back to the time when “colored” was respectful and civilized in comparison to other vocabulary used. In modern US-usage? Hugely offensive and racist.

It’s sad to see Britain moving to the hyphen-nationalities. For years it’s been a problem in the American ideal (or myth) of the melting pot that no one ever “melts”, but rather holds onto that hyphen. It undermines the hope that we are all equal and the same – on most levels – and focuses society on quantifying us by our differences.

Heidi, Washington DC

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News – Nato condemns Kosovo extremists

March 8th, 2008

The Nato Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, has blamed last week’s violence in Kosovo on extremist ethnic Albanian factions.

Speaking in Kosovo’s capital, Pristina, he said the attacks that killed 28 people from both Serbian and Albanian communities were “unacceptable”.

The Nato chief urged local Albanian leaders to condemn the riots and help rebuild some 300 burnt-down homes.

Meanwhile, Kosovo’s president said the security of Serbs must be ensured.

In his first interview since the violence erupted last week, Ibrahim Rugova told the BBC the Serb minority should be more integrated in Kosovan society.

But he said only an independent Kosovo would bring stability to the region.

Extremist forces have no role to play in settling Kosovo’s future

European Union statement

More than 3,000 Serbs fled their burning homes and churches when ethnic Albanian crowds attacked. Nearly 900 people were injured during the clashes.

Nato rushed in 2,000 more troops to help quell the violence.

The Nato-led peacekeeping force – now more than 20,000-strong – appears to have reasserted control over the province.

On Monday, Kosovo observed a day of mourning for the victims of the violence, as well as two ethnic Albanian boys whose deaths triggered the violence.

‘Political illusions’

“What happened last week, orchestrated and organised by extremist factions in the Albanian community, is unacceptable,” Mr de Hoop Scheffer said.

A French soldier serving in Nato-led K-For
24 Sept 1998: Nato issues ultimatum to Milosevic to stop crackdown on Kosovo Albanians
24 Mar 1999: Nato begins air strikes against Yugoslavia over Kosovo
10 June 1999: Air strikes suspended after Milosevic agrees to withdraw troops. UN approves peace plan for Kosovo, establishes K-for peace force
11 June 1999: Nato troops enter Kosovo
10 Dec 2003: UN unveils road map on conditions Kosovo must meet by mid-2005 for talks on final status
17 Mar 2004: Serbs and Albanians clash in the worst violence seen since 1999
In pictures: Kosovo mourns

He said the trust between the community and Nato-led ethnic dating in the United Nations-administered province of Serbia had been lost.

Serbia and the Kosovo Serbs strongly oppose ethnic Albanian demands for independence.

EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels called on both Serbs and ethnic Albanians to refrain from provocative acts.

They issued a statement calling on all leaders, “in particular the Kosovo Albanian leadership, to take dating love online service for the situation.”

“Extremist forces have no role to play in settling Kosovo’s future,” the statement said.

Intervention debate renewed

The head of the UN administration in Kosovo, Harri Holkeri, said he was shocked by the recent incidents, but that he was determined to see peace established there.

Patriarch Pavle, the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church,  blesses the cross during a service on Sunday
Serbia held a day of mourning on Sunday

Mr Holkeri said it was “utterly ethnic dating site” that ethnic Albanian leaders failed to condemn the violence against Serbs.

He made the comments as he visited a burnt-down block of flats in Pristina, inhabited by Serbs until the attacks.
He was accompanied by Kosovo’s Prime Minister, Bajram Rexhepi.

Mr Rexhepi reiterated that the predominantly ethnic Albanian provincial authorities would help fund the reconstruction of more than 100 Serb homes and at least 15 Serbian Orthodox churches that were damaged or destroyed.

Serbs and other minorities are guaranteed rights and positions in local and central government by the UN administration of the province but have often preferred to administer their own affairs.

Albanian leaders accuse them of running parallel structures.

Read another articles about ed medicine.

News – UN pulls staff from E Timor chaos

March 7th, 2008
The UN has ordered all non-essential staff out of East Timor, which has been hit by a fresh outburst of violence.

Militias armed with guns and machetes have rampaged though the capital, Dili, torching houses and vehicles.

Hundreds of people fled their homes to find shelter in churches, as Australian troops tried to restore order.

A BBC correspondent says East Timor seems to be tearing itself apart, with the latest communal clashes coming amid a dispute between military factions.

Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri said the country was facing a coup attempt, but did not know who was behind it.

He said Foreign Minister Jose Ramos Horta was holding talks with the rebel soldiers whose grievances are believed to have sparked the unrest.


Dili is shouldn’t be like this. This is not what we are

Pedro Dating online services uk da Silva, Dili, East Timor
Send us your comments

He was speaking after Australian troops disarmed a group of men armed with machetes who had gathered in the centre of the capital, Dili.

The fighting has left at least 20 people dead in the past week.

The BBC’s Phil Mercer, in Dili, says the troops have made a specialty dating hiv positive, but adds that immense challenges lie ahead.


The Australian soldiers are to be reinforced in the coming days by hundreds more troops, as well as forces from Malaysia, New Zealand and Portugal.

However, many non-essential UN staff are pulling out and face evacuation to Darwin in northern Australia, a UN spokeswoman said.

Feb: More than 400 troops strike over pay and conditions
March: Government sacks nearly 600 of 1,400-man army
April: Rioting by sacked troops leaves five people dead
May: Violence intensifies; government appeals for foreign assistance
In pictures: Unrest boils over
Splits behind security woes

About 390 people will be flown out, starting this weekend, leaving about 50 staff to keep the UN mission to East Timor (UNOTIL) running.

Civilian militias – groups of youths who have aligned themselves with one of the sides in a military dispute that has split the nation – roamed through neighbourhoods in southern Dili early on Saturday, pelting houses with rocks and setting them on fire.

The unrest began in March, when nearly 600 of the army’s original force of 1,400 went on strike for better working conditions. They were subsequently sacked.

They have since gone to the hills, from where they have threatened to launch a civil war.

Tension turned to violence and five people were killed in clashes in April. Tens of thousands fled Dili fearing further unrest.

Death tolls

Cgi dating online script service say political infighting and ethnic gang rivalry have added to the violence.

Some of the suspicion dates back to Indonesia’s occupation of the country.

Nine unarmed policemen were shot dead on Thursday by troops who accused them of aiding the rebels.

On Friday five children and an adult were killed in a house that was deliberately set on fire.

Australia has experience of providing military aid to East Timor as it led a Dating free interracial online site
force into the country in 1999 to end the unrest sparked when the population voted for independence from Indonesia.

UN peacekeepers only left East Timor a year ago.

ed medicine, and more another.

News – Europe diary: Balkan trauma

March 6th, 2008

I am sitting, rather ghoulishly, on a bench beside a grave in a suburb of the Serbian capital, Belgrade. In the bright winter sunshine, gusts of wind carry a sudden fall of snow from the fir trees growing in the cemetery. The silence is only broken by the occasional caw of a crow. Black marble tombstones descend the hillside, row upon row, many of them etched with simple, but evocative, line drawings of those buried. These are family graves and sometimes, beneath the picture of a couple, one set of dates shows only the year of birth as the husband or wife still lives on.

But on the stone I am looking at there is just a name in Cyrillic and dates. Ana Mladic killed herself when she was 23. It is said that her father, the fugitive accused of war crimes, has on occasions broken cover to sit where I am. It is the government’s failure to capture him that threatens to stop talks designed to lead to Serbia joining the European Union.

Serbia faces an incredibly difficult year, with a succession of events that may be seen by some Serbs as blows to their sense of self. Either the delaying of talks planned for early April or the capture of Mladic will make some unhappy. The next blow could be the referendum in Montenegro. The government there wants to leave the Union of Serbia and Montenegro, the last scrap of the federation that once made up Yugoslavia.


Montenegro is place of wild beauty. The fringes of Lake Skadar are flood plains, twisted trees and reeds growing out of the water. When I visit it is a cold, grey day and the smooth surface of the lake isn’t the deep glorious blue of the picture on the cover of my guide book. Instead, standing on a mountain road writing a radio script I struggle to find an adequate description of the strange hue it has that day and give up. Later my producer, who I suspect would rather be known as a blunt no-nonsense type, reveals a poetic soul when she say it is the colour of old jade.

Lake Skadar (picture: Unesco)
Lake Skadar on a good day (picture: Unesco)

By the lake, amid a homely jumble of dried herbs and hats covering the walls, the Pelican Restaurant serves up amazing little anchovy-like fish in a lemony oily sauce. The man who catches the fish and arranges the wild flowers on the table keeps out of the way in the kitchen. His wife, a sensible looking woman in thick glasses, is the cook and refuses to reveal her recipe to me.

She is almost as reluctant to talk directly about the coming referendum, saying that she will vote, but it’s private and she will opt for what is best for the prosperity of the country. Finally after much prodding she talks about the current relative prosperity of Slovenia, already a member of the EU, and Croatia, a candidate country. She says suddenly: “If we’d known 15 years ago what we know now, perhaps we’d have broken away then, like them.”

Many Montenegrins see the sins of Serbia as a drag on their ambition to join the European mainstream.


Perhaps many Serbs will not be stricken with horror if Montenegro becomes Europe’s newest nation state after May. But Kosovo may be a different story. Talks on its status begin soon and there will be a definite result by the autumn. Many in the international community (is that the same as what used to be called “The Great Powers”?) want full independence.

Radical Party demonstration
The Radical Party could be this year’s big winner

The Serbian foreign minister, a great fan of what he calls “the Europeanisation” of Serbia and a former opponent of Milosevic, has a daily and forceful reminder of how the international community feels about that province when he goes into his office every morning. Opposite the foreign ministry, the military headquarters still stands but the top six floors are smashed up and buckled by Nato missiles fired seven years ago. But he tells me that an independent Kosovo would be a painful humiliation, a disaster for Europe and the region which Serbia could not allow, although he admits it could not prevent it either.

As I write, I have yet to meet with members of the Radical Party, but I wonder if this hard-right group will be the beneficiary of this year’s humiliations. I can almost see the shrug down the phone as a diplomat from another country that was once part of Yugoslavia tells me: “They are paying now for Milosevic – it’s time to pay.”

J R R Tolkien
Tolkien’s grim vision: Better suited to fiction than politics

The foreign minister is equally impassioned that Serbia was the victim of a criminal regime and victims should not suffer the punishment due to an assailant. It is perhaps fitting that the cameraman, the poetic producer and I have a lengthy discussion one evening about the Lord of the Rings, for those who covered the wars here called the region Mordor…

But what has always disturbed me about Tolkien’s classic is the lack of any possibility of redemption for those born within Mordor’s boundaries. There is no such thing as a good Orc. I only hope the “Great Powers” know that while this may be unsophisticated in fiction it is plain stupid in real world politics. Some Serbs, and some others, behaved like demons incarnate in the last decade. Now many feel their whole country and race has been demonised.

As an Albanian from Tirana who has travelled around the Balkans, I’ve seen we, southeastern europeans, have a lot in common and hostility ultimately disappears at a one on one level. If I wanted to get ‘revengeful’ and claim that politicians need to apologise, I think it has to start with the ‘great powers.’ Nevertheless, I am only praying for some tolerance and love.
arba, brighton, uk

I don’t understand all you people. Kosovo should be problem of Serbia not problem of other countries. Does UK, France or Garmeny their problems solving with help of NATO?
Sveti Sava, Budva

I’m an 18 year old Serbian student nurse, who never supported Milosevic and had no part in any of the wars in the 90s. Nevertheless, I cannot help but feel some “collective” guilt for the atrocities which were committed in the name of all Serbs. I don’t think it’s justifiable that we Serbs should feel guilty for something which most of us had no part in, but our nation now has a guilt complex, despite the fact that many many people did not even support Milosevic. In reality, “Slobo” didn’t do any good for the country he loved so much. He has left us with a guilt complex, with the loathing of the international community upon us, a messed up economy and a lifetime of work to do to overcome a decade of trauma. And now he has left us without explaining why he committed such terrible deeds in our name. I don’t feel proud to be Serbian anymore, and for me, that is the real “Serbian Tragedy”.
Jelena Krstanovic, Belgrade, Serbia

The EU should not try to intervene into the Montenegrins drive for independence. Allow some sovereignty at last!
Xavier Schoumaker,

I am absolutely 100% in no doubt Kosovo will get its Independence, there is no question to that. I lost 12 member of my family massacred by the Serbian army on January 1999. I have do not hold anything against the innocent minorities unless those who have something to hide, Only the people that caused atrocities to Kosovo Albanians are afraid to come back because they know what they have done. I dont understand why people comment on something that they have no idea about it.. I believe the only views that should be taken into consideration are of those who live in Kosovo. Serbs also should keep in mind the crimes they committed in Kosovo. Now I would like ask everyone if they were in my place. How would you feel if you saw the Army that killed 12 member of your family wondering around your streets?
Adrian, Drenica (Kosovo)

If Kosovo gets independence, and Monenegro as well, then Republika Srpska in Bosnia has the equal right to get its own independent state. How about Nortehrn Ireland, Baskia etc.
Bojan, Ottawa, Canada

Serbia has more of a right to Kosovo than Britain to Ireland and Scotland, or the US to California and Texas. Many look forward to the day the US and UK pay for their war crimes.
Boris, Toronto

New war is coming!!! Soon.
serbia, ny

I am a croat living in part of Croatiaw once known as “Krajina”. In 1991 Serb paramilitary and yugoslav national army,JNA expeled me,my parents and my sister,along with thousands of croats from our homes. My childhood was ruined and i still carry traumas of living as a refugee in aweful conditions. I am proud of our victory in 1995 that pushed the serb army out of Croatia and alowed me to come back to my home. As for the Serb civilians that left Croatia,many of them came back,official numbers are that 40 percent did come back. Many don’t want to live under Croatia and those people come here to sell their property and buy one in Serbia.
15 local muncipalities in provincial Croatia are governed by SDSS,a serb ethnic political party.
So much about ethnic cleansing of croatian serbs!
Bojan, Plitvicka Jezera,Croatia

Let bygones be bygones and lets move towards the future instead of arguing, playing the blame game. With Europe’s help (not backstabbing) region can move forward. It is all about compromise is it not?
Petar, Melbourne, Australia.

One of the reasons that nationalism has been able to thrive in this region is poverty. Most people who live in what is called the Balkans are poor and have few prospects of improving their lot. Clearly a class perspective that unites people in what they share in common – fighting to improve their lot against the criminal political elite and their shady entourage.

Another issues which divides people is their sense of national identity which often demonises other ethnic groups for atrocities committed against their own people in some distant past. At the same time the massacres committed by their own group are not even mentioned. In Bulgaria at the moment we have the development of a party Ataka which is aiming to demonise Turks and Gypsies. They need to be opposed if Bulgaria to avoid ethnic strife.

I support the right of nations to self-determination but don’t believe that this is going to solve the root problem – POVERTY.
ian, kardzhali, bulgaria

I have been living in Belgrade since September 2005. After 15 years of sanctions and NATO bombing against a small country, I am amazed at Serbian ability to shrug it all off and continue to go on with their lives cheerfully. Online dating vancouver
and independence have been granted to every ethnic group of the former Yugoslavia before any violence took place. But Serbian demands for the same in the new states of Croatia and Bosnia have been denied. The same is about to occur in Kosovo.
George C. Thomas, Belgrade, Serbia Montenegro

It’s really funny to see the Westerners posts here. Remember the overnight recognition of Croatia’s independence? Why is it possible to do this now for Montenegro and not then for Croatia? I strongly believe that a 3 year delay and discussions about the status of the Serb minority would have solved the problem. I support the independence of Kosovo, Montenegro, even a partition of Voivodina would be OK. But then, if you use the ethnic criteria to draw borders, why not partitioning Kosovo, Croatia and Bosnia too?
Adrian Popovici, Timiosara, Romania

If Serbia can claim Kosovo as Serbia because of its historical link to Serbia, then they have to quiet their claims for Croatian territory which was historically Croatian and settled by Serbs.
Tonci, Toronto, Canada

I can’t believe some of the comments on this page, Yugoslavia was like a bad family, who mistreated all of it’s members. When its members realised all this and they could stand up on their own feet they did and that’s why this has happend. Kosovo should get their independence, Serbs say they are concerned about the 5% of the population that lives there, but if Kosovo doesn’t get the independence, shouldn’t we be worried about 95% Kosovans living there?
Lani, London, UK

I think the problem is hence, how can Albanians feel safe if Serbia is still in control? And will independence be a short term solution. In 50 years will Serbia forcefully re-take Kosovo?
V, Dushaj, New York, USA

Please people,look forward don,t look backwards. All this countries in Balkans, one day will be together again. Of course as united states of europe!
Shpetim, Tampa, Florida, USA

Nobody should demonise an entire people for the sins committed in their name, but people should acknowledge and condemn the evils performed in their name. From 1945 to 1991 Croats were demonised as fascists even though more Croats fought as Partizans rather than Ustase. This demonisation led many Serbs to fear any expression of Croatian self-determination.

In 1989, Milosevic elminated the autonomy of two regions: Vojvodina and Kosovo. And then he started demanding special status for Serbs in Croatia. His double standard coupled with his push for extreme nationalism is the direct cause of the current mess Serbia is in. As a Croat, I wish Serbs well in the future, but they must face up to the past, recognise it, acknowledge it and move on.
Justin, Toronto, Canada

I’m terrified of double standards:

– Independence of Serbs from Bosnia or Croatia is not acceptable. Independence of Albanians from Serbia is.
– Serbs were forced out from Croatia because they wanted independence — NATO plains bombed their positions during the final ethnic cleansing of Croatia. NATO forced Serbs out of Kosovo and bombed Serbia because Albanians wanted independence.
– Some people that are war crime suspects in the Hague tribunal are presumed guilty and cannot be politically active. Others are instead sent home to lead a political party (Seselj-Serbian vs. Hardinai-Albanian example).
– We want one warrior dead or alive (Mladic) but put another (Taci) to be the prime minister of Kosovo.
– You apparently cannot sue someone for an aggression if you are not a member of UN. Serbia sued NATO countries and that case was not accepted on the base of this technicality. Serbia sued NATO but you cannot sue an organization for anything like bombing — that case is not covered. Bosnia sued Serbia and that case was accepted.

If you still remember hurricane Katrina this sounds like a famous example of “white people looking for food” and “black people looting” (for a picture showing white/black people taking some food from a flooded grocery store). You make the conclusion.
Alex, CA,

Granting Kosovo independence will be a very dangerous precedent legally it is a part of Serbia, a sovereign nation like any other. If one part of one sovereign nation might be removed, then other nations can be divided as well Moldova, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Romania, Turkey, you name it! And there will be neither legal nor moral obstacles to stop other bids for independence. Potentially, that implies that even Texas has the right to secede from the US. Its a Pandoras Box.
Boris, Riga, Latvia

I found many of the comments here based on dangerous forms nationalisms, that created this situation in the first place. Unfortunately, this wasn’t limited to any group.
John Schubert, Milwaukee, USA

Double standards are key problem. If Kosovo and Montenegro can gain independence then Serb Republic has the same wright. Serbs responsible for the Balkan wars are in the Hague. What about Albanian war criminals like Ceku and Haradinaj (they are becoming prime ministars). Do not speak about justice. The new world order created by Sauron and Tony Blair are based on pure force with some “colateral damage” (dwarfs and Serbs)
Bojan, Nis, Serbia

We are all victims of a wrong political system. I hope that people peacefully will confront there problems instead of running away from them.
But I am happy about one thing. That despite what every one is writing, no mather if it is wrong or right, we are all having a diaolog.
“So there is something positive, in all this mess, we do not kill each other – we just discuss”
It is time for us all to do some own searching within our selfs and take the consequenses for what we have done.
Jasmin Zahirovic, Bosnia and Hercegovina

Mark Mardell is becoming a correspondent in the great tradition of Alistair Cooke; please keep posting his contributions, which I now regard as essential reading on entering the BBC News website.
Tim Howell, Brussels/Belgium

It will be a real fun to watch all these ethnic dating joining the EU in the near future and basically leaving together again. Hopefully the EU will have the capability to control them all, we all can get the first taste by following Slovenia/Croatia conflict in the coastal region. This is a crazy part of the world, and believe me I know that…you can have a perfect mess even without Serbs.
Wish you all good-Muslims, Croats, Slovenians, Macedonians, Montenegriners, Serbs and Albanians-but my kids will grow up in the US.

slobodan paessler, Galveston, USA

Demographic majority of Kosovo Albanians does not give them a right to national independence. They are certainly entitled to cultural autonomy. And that’s where the EU can be a positive influence, making blind date service online dating
and decentralization a pre-condition for Serbian membership in the Union. But to demand Serbia’s break-up is to set up a dangerous precedent in Europe, where minority populations are present in every country.
Sergei, New York, USA

Serbs should start working on their feelings, loosing Kosova is not a humiliation, it will be a relief. Kosova can not function under Serbia. It didn’t work for over 80 years, why would anyone think that it could work in the future. Luckily for us, the world has understood this, I hope the Serbs will too.

Merkur, Colombo, Sri Lanka

What lesson will allowing Kosovo independence provide? Are we willing to accept that, by using a terrorist organization (KLA) and embracing foreign legions to murder traditional Serb and Roma inhabitants, destroy countless 1000 plus year old churches, and decimate a once wealthy region’s culture and spirituality, an ethnic group can become independent?
Alex, Cleveland, Ohio USA

Let’s make this simple. Give albanians Kosovo. But they have to give all Church lands to Church and all land owned by Serbs back to Serbs. Let’s see how much then remains.
boris, chicago, usa

There is not one Kosovar that has not been directly effected by Serbia’s past aggressions. For them living under the Serbian flag is impossible. It could easily be said the regime of Milosovich is solely to blame , but this would be a lie. The fact of the matter is when autrocities are committed not only the heads of state are guilty.
hal, NJ, USA

Serbia was and is still the most ethnically diverse place in the Balkans. Croatia ethnically cleansed its terriotory from Serbs and gypsies. Kosovo ethnically cleansed its territory from every minority. That tells you all.
Eroic Dragutinovic, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.

I am Serbian and my family and friends are Serbian. I don’t know ANYONE who participated in the war, or worked for the Milosevic government. There are 10 million Serbians in Serbia and around the world. Not everyone committed war crimes; not everyone supported Milosevic’s government! Majority of people were just concerned how to feed their family on 100 Euros a month during the Economic Sanctions. People committing war crimes were, for the most part, paramilitary and professional solders. Milosevics own politicians were holding him in power. Those solders and politicians are now the richest people in Serbia; they don’t need to survive on 100 Euros. It is wrong to blame the whole country for the crimes of few. If Serbian people could have removed Milosevic sooner that Oct 2000, they would have.
Jelena, Chicago, US

To everybody who recognise that a civil war is not a fantasy book about strugle between good and evil, thank you for your comments. i hope serbia gets a break it deserves and life gets better soon.
velibor, london uk

Does nobody want to mention the student protests in Belgrade throughout the ’90s against Milosevic’s regime? Does nobody want to talk about how severely we were beaten up by our own police and military on every street corner for 10 years? Are we going to foget that 5 mn Serbs on the streets of Belgrade led to the final fall of Milosevic and not the NATO bombing of the country? I will say no more….

Please, stop trying to make all sides in the latest Balkan war equaly guilty. We are not the same! I lived through that war (in Sarajevo) and I know who was shelling innocent civilians and “cleaning up” the area from unwanted elements=Muslims. I don’t have problem saying that both Muslims and Croats did some prety augly things in this war, too. Even though its difficult, when you put the numbers on the table it is clear who is a victim and who is the agressor.
Some people are trying to pass 32,000 Serbs that died in the 1992-1995 war as victims. Read the documentation carefuly and you will find that majority of those people died as soldiers. And I would really like to hear one Serb (not a politician) to admitt the crimes that some of representatives of Serb nation committed. Serbs should look up to Germany and the way they fought out the national guilt. They are one of the most developed countries in Europe now!
It’s about thime Serbs exit the dark ages and start living in the present not in the past!
Mila, Seattle, USA

Whichever way you look at it, no country or alliance has the right to permanently interfere with the sovereignty of a nation. That is a preserve of that nations peoples .Interference in order to safe guard human rights of Kosovo Albanians is commendable, but it must not be used as an excuse to divide. The “west” must return Kosovo to Serbia once it is clear that Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbs can have their human and property rights protected.
Christopher Christofi, London UK

In Bosnia the Serbs will never get help and forgiveness, not from me, from my children, my grandchildren, never never never. Can’t forget, can’t forgive. I lost my late teens and early 20’s in poverty and on the front line, and will do again to defend what is mine and to try to inflict at least small part of the pain to Serbs that they inflicted to me, my family and my people. It is easy for all of you to sit in you comfortable homes in London, Berlin..etc…and with scarce information you have, tell us what is right what is wrong. If you’ve been in Bosnia from would know it all.
Jusuf Prazina, Sarajevo, Bosnia

Sad to say, but the Serbs in Serbia have themselves and their misguided communist experiment to blame. In the end, a relatively homogeneous Serbian “pashaluk” will be all that is left in the wake.

Despite all of this, the West should be very, very wary. Independent Bosnia and soon to be at least partitioned Kosovo remain safe havens and launching pads for Islamic terrorism as they have been for the better part of the last 700 years. Islamic fundamentalism — however repackaged, spun and softened by 21st century political correctness — thinks in terms of centuries, not 30 second tourism commercials, three minute nightly news segments, or single election cycles.

Alexander, Chicago, USA

What we, US and Engand primarily, have done in former Yugoslavia best can be described as “crimes against humanity” All of these former Yougoslav contries would have been far better without our “humanitarian bombing” interventions.
Bobby, Miami, Florida

Every side has committed horrible attrocities during the last decade. But the Serbs have to accept the fact that their attrocities were on a huge scale. You cannot say that the war is the fault of both sides when YNA and Serbian paramilitary units shelled our houses in Bosnia while we still had no military. It is absurd and aggrevating to hear Serbs say that they are not the aggressors. It is like hearing a German saying we went into Poland to liberate fellow Germans. I have lost my house, my childhood, my memories and family members. I am willing to get past this but it makes me mad when I see Serbs with T-shirts of Gen. Mladic saying “Serbian Hero”. All sides including the Serb, were screwed over by our governments and leaders. Not every Serb soldier was a war criminal. But some of their actions now is what is enraging everyone around the world.
Mirnes, Jacksonville, FL

Well I agree that blaming all serbs for crimes of their army during the war is unjust. But so was that way serbs portrayed croats at the outset of the war and still in fact do: they portrayed us as ustashe, and nazis, making no distinction that nazis in Croatia in World War 2 were less that 0.5% of the population. So in effect, whats happening to serbs today (demonization) is exactly what they were doing to others for decades even before the desolution of jugoslavia.
Tomislav, Toronto,Canada

A policy of double standards was adopted which remains highly visible even today due to the black and white picture which is still being put forward: Kosovo can obtain independence but Republika Srpska can not, Albanians were expelled from Kosovo but Serbs ‘left voluntarily’, Serbia proper was an aggressor in Bosnia but Croatia was not despite the presence of thousands of their soldiers and so on. Serbia sinmply can’t apologise for the ‘genocide’ in Bosnia as it did not take place, 100.000 people died (according to a Bosnian Muslim investigation) of which tens of thousands of Serbs. This hardly qualifies as the destruction, in whole or in part, of a group as such (the definition of genocide as contained in the Genocide Convention of which not many people here seem to be aware). Crimes certainly were committed but all sides were involved. Those who took part in operations of this kind should be singled out and sentenced. Convicting a whole country is adult dating free jewish online personals service, doesn’t reflect accurately the Yugoslav war of disintegration and will not in any way diminish tensions. Nor will a policy of double standards….
Djordje, Geneva, Switzerland

Good luck to Kosovo in her battle against a larger foreign power. Serbia has long lost any moral claim to that land. Serbs might regard Kosovo as the “cradle” of their culture, but it is also the site of their shame.
Seamus, Galway, Ireland

Just about those comments on Vojvodina. Please don’t compare Kosovo and Vojvodina. Not saying that there are no problems in Vojvodina, but it is totaly different. (Vojvodina is mainly Serbs from Vojvodina vs. Serbs from Belgrade problem, with some minor nationalistic incidents.) Alse, today (09-03-2006) is 16 years from first demonstrations agains regime in Belgrade. Turns out that citizens of Belgrade were the first one to have army tanks thrown at them.
Yet, not to be blind they had incomparably better treatmant then those in Sarajevo or Srebrenica.
Dule, Novi Sad, Serbia

The comments at this post are obviously from relatively educated people and yet it again painfully reminds me how people of the region still cling on to the concepts of collective responsibility, guilt, crimes… How do you really identify yourselves by your nationality? What does mean being an X versus being a Y? Or should I say culture since nationality basically cannot even be defined except by a personal declaration of being a Serb, Croat, Bosnian… People talk about the history, World War II, World War I, the Ottomans etc. What I see of the region where I was born is nothing but a big football field with hooligans cheering their team and fighting the other team (actually that’s how the whole mess started). To be fair, I cannot say that the rest of the western people are inherently more civilised than the people from the Balkans, it’s just that the Balkan seems to have more than a fair share of historical baggage which most people cannot overcome.
Andrew, Singapore

Asking Kosova to stay together with Serbia is the same as leaving the abused child to stay with the abuser. Nobody would allow that of course, let alone people of Kosovo ,and for the abuser of course he wants it because he can abuse it more
Arberi, Houston,Texas

To ask the Serbs to accept Kosovar independence is as acceptable to them as it would be to ask France for Parisian independence (controlled by ethnic Germans say).

There is no doubt that many Serbs committed many attrocities during the Balkans conflicts. Many have posted here to remind us. What we do not hear about though is the attrocities – massive attrocities – committed by their neighbours. It is not credible or reasonable to suggest unilateral apology from Serbia. If you live in Sarajevo – have a think about the prejudice you may have prior to posting. We need balance – and opportunities for all sides to both apologise and redress some of the losses they inflicted where possible. Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia and Kosovo are ALL implicated deeply here. To focus on one is unbalanced and continues to fuel the problem.
Swithun Mason, London, UK

I guess the Serbs must have been very bad in their past lives because it seems they are paying for everything now. It’s just beyond me how the logic of this world works. If you punish them for what they did, maybe they will learn a lesson and become better people. But constantly pitting the fault on the Serbs will of course cause them to fight back and rebel. If you feel you are not being taken care of, you have to take care of yourself. It makes perfect sense to me.
Filip, Toronto, Canada

Kosovo is legally and historically a part of Serbia. Just because the demographics now favour the Albanians does not give the international community the right to rip it from the motherland.
Boris , Canada

As someone said, ask any Serb about joining the EU & you will likely find deep hesitation. Slowly but surely, every piece of the former republic is being taken away from them. (Recall, they were the capital.) The international community is carving this once thriving land up for their own purposes. Yes, crimes were committed, but not only by Serbs. Yet, we place the entire blame on them and rip their land apart. Why then would a Serb want to join the EU? For that matter, of what true benefit to them would the EU be? Many prosperous countries trade internationally and thrive who are not a part of the EU. I live in one of them. Serbia is losing it’s identity at the hands of the international community. And quite frankly, I am ashamed to be associated with a country who spearheaded the NATO bombing and breakup of the former republic.
Pat Caffrey, Westfield, NJ/USA

Why is it so difficult for all sides to admit they committed crimes? The Serbs are the only ones to admit to it. In Bosnia 100,000 people died, 32,000 were Serbs; did they “kill themselves”?
Gogi, New York, USA

Serbia’s current condition serves as a reminder to all: bad behavior brings repercussions.
KRS, Philadelphia, USA

I always wondered whether people that still believe that there are “good” and “bad” in a war exist. Now, I must say I am disappointed to see that there are so many in this world. Blindness, ignorance or what? I would appreciate very much if you could double-think before sending your posts as there are many people that actually went through all these wars in the Balkans. We couldnt switch our TVs off.
Nina, Sarajevo, Bosnia

The “international community” needs to patient, firm and even-handed in its dealings with Balkan countries, including with Serbia. This includes a slow and painful education of balkan politicians, none of whome experienced democracy, freedom of speech, full freedom of religious life, etc during their jouth and early adulthood (so when they speak of democracy or freedom, they really do not know exactly what they are talking about). It is not easy, but so far Europe (the European Union) has done an outstanding job in a very short period of time. I hope they will continue.

My hope is that I will be soon able to take my children and show them some very beautiful parts of the Balkans, the ones I saw during my childhood before the war. I hope that the richness of culture was mostly not destroyed during the war and that once this culture is permitted to flourish in a safe environment, this region of the Balkans will become Europe’s treasure rather than its constant source of problems.
Tomislav, New York, USA

Take from us our lands, we can not stop it.
Take from us our independence, we can not stop it.
Take from us our economic resources, we can not stop it.
Take from us our weapons, we can not stop it.
Take from us our political system, we can not stop it.
Take from us our history books and schools, we can not stop it.
Take from us our lives, we can not stop it.
Incriminate us for all the deeds and evils of this otherwise remarkable world.
But you will never take from us our dignity and our pride. We can not stop it.
Because we will endure to be humans despite all the injustices that you may yet invent.

Roman, Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro

The Western media forget the 250 000 Kosovo Serbs and others who have been living in exile since June 1999 as well as those Serbs from Croatia and Bosnia who were forced to flee before daytion in 1995. It is now 2006. A visit to Belgrade will show that there is a distinct lack of men of a certain age. Blair, Albright and their cronies have not condemned the ethnic cleansing of Serbs, Croats, Roma,et al from Kosovo. They have remained silent – as has the BBC – when Serbian churches are burnt and Roma housed on radioactive dumps. Kosovo has now got rid of miost of its ethnic minorities and moderate Albanians and is a safe haven for drug and people traffickers. NATO spokes men said ‘Serbs out, refugees back’ The Serbs are out, but many refugees are not
J. Knight, London UK

With the direction the European Union has taken on Kosovo (and the strong influence being imposed by UK/US foreign policy), I have grave fears for my parents’ motherland, Macedonia. It seems that as soon as the Albanian population outnumbers all else in that country, there too they can (succesfully) claim independance and add another piece of Europe, to an already growing Albania. It appears that the dream of a “Greater Albania” is no longer a dream. For this, the European Union, and in particular, Britain, should hang their heads in shame.
Tom Petrovski, Sydney, Australia

It is time for serbs to open their eyes and realise what their hegemony produced in former Yugoslavia. All the suffering, destruction and death cannot be easily forgotten. I hope when they realise what they did, they will also realise that they are not the victims here, and maybe their political elite will find enough strentgh to appologize to their neighbours for what serbian millitary did during 1990s.
Ljubisa, Rijeka, Croatia

To me, independent Kosovo must mean a country independent from criminals, thugs and thieves. If they want independence, the Kosovos Albanians must, for the start, return Serbian property and make sure that the Serbs, who lived there for centuries, can keep living there in peace, in their own houses, go to their own churches, work on their land, speak their language and take part in political life. This is what the discussion should be about.
Unfortunately, the West is not doing anything for this to happen. EU already got new “democratic” members, namely Latvia and Estonia, where ethnic minorities, many born and living all their live there, are branded “Aliens” and denied basic human rights – rights to use their language, right to vote, right to become a citizen without humiliating procedures, limited in jobs they can take, and those who fought against Hitler in WWII, unlike Nazi SS veterans, do not enjoy any privileges and honours. Isn’t it Mordor?
How hypocritical it is for the EU to elevate themselves to a superior moral position and think they can lecture the others what to do?

Oleg, UK, Russia

Serbs need to pay for the crimes they committed in Kosova . We don’t need their apology .
Ilir, Koshare

Kosovo is a small country apparently with no major natural resources or established industry. How would an independent Kosovo support itself as a Nation.
Kev, London

It is clear that Kosova will achieve its independence. Whether can survive economically in its own, that is up to Kosovars to debate. The idea that Kosova most stay in Former Yugoslavia because of their weak economy and because of corruption that is going on there is ridiculous.
Agron Rama, Vushtrri, Kosova

If Kosovo can get independence from Serbia and most likely join Albania as it is full of Albanians, why can’t the Serb part of Bosnia leave the rest of Bosnia and join Serbia? I think it’s because the West see’s Serbs as bad guys when in fact they just didn’t have as good a PR team as other parts of the Balkans.
Chris Stevens, London

The fiction of a unified Yugoslavian state will hopefully finally die this spring when Montenegro hold the referendum, and Kosovo leaves Serbia. Maybe the Bush administration should take a hint from Yugoslavia’a demise and allow Iraq to be partitioned up into several states. Like Yugoslavia, Iraq was never meant to be a unified state, both were held together by totalitarian dictators.
Frederick J. Bainhauer III, Allentown, PA USA

The Serbs feel “That their whole country and race has been demonised” which it seams untrue according to them but what about: When the Serb Army with the tanks that killed thousand of Albanians and made over a million homeless when returned to Belgrade by force from Nato – accross Serbia and especially Belgrade throw flowers at them – as a way of solidarity and support for their slaughter. This i don’t understand! You can’t one time support it and then condemn it as it may benefit you, but in truthfulness you still support it!!

K Shehu, Kacanik, Kosova

Indeed it will be a tough year for Serbia but, in terms of hardship, it will be insignificant compared to the tragic years endured by some of Serbia’s neighbours as a direct result of Serbian politics and policies. Perhaps Serbian moderates should view this year as a year of opportunity, to demonstrate once and for all a willingness to acknowledge the crimes perpetrated in their name. Perhaps it is a year in which the concept of a ‘Greater’ Serbia need not be based on hateful and destructive attitudes to Serbia’s neighbours but rather on a more moderate and more modern Serbia. However, as long as 86% of Serbs who voted in a recent national television poll in Serbia consider Ratko Mladic a ‘victim’ as opposed to a ‘criminal’, it is difficult to imagine that a great confessional, idealogical awakening will occur any time soon.
Jim Marshall, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

It is time for the International Community to put things right in this part of Europe. Now it is the era of free nations, free countries, to decide for their own fate, for their future. This is what is happening in this part of Europe. The Serbian nation needs to move on, and the best way to do so is to distance itself from the dark era of Serbian dictatorship, recognise and respect other nation’s freedom, and coexist with the neighbouring countries. Kosova Independence is in no doubht very close.
It is up to Kosovars to make the most of this historic moment, to tell the world they can successfully govern their country.
Mark Nela, Isleowrth

It seems that some people still need a reality check. Has anyone asked the Serbs whether they want to join the EU? It it more likely that Europe wants Serbia to complete its little jigsaw puzzle but hopefully the Serbs will keep this piece to themselves. Better to be a ruler of your own than a slave of others. Now that the EU constitution is rejected, just how are all these potential new members going to join?
Zoran, London, UK

As the wife of a Kosovar Albanian who fled here during the war, I am naturally in favour of Kosovo achieving independence. Also, having visited this country it is clear to me that having an ethnic Albanian majority means that being ruled by Serbia is no longer an option and in view of the genocide committed by the Serbs against the Albanians, it is high time they were divorced from Serbia, as should be the case for Montenegro, and given autonomy to rule themselves. Whether the Kosovan government can stamp out corruption is another matter but they should not be under the yoke of another power, which is no longer the Yugoslavia of old. The Serbians can be likened to the British when they held an empire – times change and people need to be given autonomy and their freedom, especially the freedom to practise their religion, speak their language and teach their history.
Francesca Sokoli, London, UK

When the Kosovo Albanians complete their domination of the drug, weapon and slavery trades in western Europe in a couple of years, you will all agree that Milosevic was right.
Mat , Sofia, Bulgaria

I fully support Kosovian independence, these people did suffer enough under Serbian regime no question about it. good luck :)
Tomasz, Krakow, Poland

The Serbs I know would all be a lot less hostile to the west – and possibly co-operative on the war crimes issue – if they felt that they were not constantly demonised. There is a (in my view) legitimate grievance that they are being made to pay for Milosovic in a way that Croatia has never paid for Tudjman. So many Serbs lost everything (pension, property etc) to the brutal Croat ethnic cleansing but only Serbian agreession seems to be on the agenda. Resolve that and we might find Serbia a place that we want in Europe and that wants to be there.
Swithun Mason, London, UK

“Playing the victim” card will unfortunately not do if the Serbian people really want to move forward, in every sense of the word. The incomprehensible unwillingness to apologise for past sins committed in the Balkans in which the Serbs, whether one likes it or not, have the lion’s share will keep Serbia and the rest of the Balkan countries in certain stagnation, indeed, slaves of the past. What I am most disappointed about is when I hear or read the opinions of many Serbian youth who live in the West, but for some inexplicable reason maintain an opinion similar to their parents or grandparents. They should know better, there is really no excuse for this. They are the future of Serbia, a future they should build together with their Albanian, Croatian and Montenegrin neighbours. We eat pretty much the same food, we drink the same drinks, we have the same customs. Let’s make en effort to speak a language we can understand. And that requires repentance, humility and determination to move forward.
Julian, Ulm, Germany

I am saddened to see whats happening to Serbia and its people. I also believe that this flow of things cant be changed now, as all of it has begun with wrong nationalistic policy towards Kosovo Albanians years ago. I was speaking with my friends the other day, and noticed that Serbia on the map would look really strange once/if Kosovo gets its independence. However, I agree with those who say that better times are coming to Serbia once those two issues (Montenegro and Kosovo) are resolved. Serbia is still having great economical potential, territorially well places at the heart of the region, and has got beautiful people, good chances to develop its tourism. Still, in order to move forward it is necessary that now people get rid of the history, accept new reality and start from the scratch building its European perspective.
Igor, Pristina, Kosovo

Hundreds of thousands of Serbs were forced to leave their homes in Croatia. Many more had left Kosovo. For some reason, this fact is never mentioned in Western media. The ethnic Serbs demands for a separate state in Croatia and Bosnia were rejected by the west, but the Albanian demand for a separate state in Serbia seems to be accepted.
I’m not saying Serbs did not commit many crimes. They did, and those responsible should pay. But they were, and are, the victims of crimes and ethnic cleansing by others – Croats, Bosnians, Albanians.

David, Israel

The debate over the ‘demonisation of Serbia’ has centred on the past; on whether Serbia’s supposed crimes were bad enough to warrant demonisation. Not wishing in any way to deny or defend those crimes I nonetheless feel this is counterproductive. Instead, the international community should think about the alienating effect this ‘demonisation’ is having on the country’s poor youth/political moderates. It is well documented that extremist movements prosper in conditions of material poverty (one does not even have to leave English shores to find examples of this). The last thing europe needs is a whole generation of Serbs (the same Serbs that should be joining the European Union in the not-too-distant future) with a siege mentality.
Luka Gakic, Oxford University, UK

It is hard to believe that after all the crimes against humanity and horrible ethnic cleansing that the Serbs (I stress serbs, not Milosevic, because crimes were comitted even when Milosevic was not in power)have comitted against all their neighbours, there is no proper apology, compensation, return of the dead bodies and catching of the main war criminals. I know that Serbs have suffered some revenge from the neighbours and from the international comunity for their horrible crimes, and I am sorry if innocent people have suffered, but this goes by the saying: “You get, what you saw”. If Serbs stop living in the past and leave their neighbours in Kosovo, Montenegro and Vojvodina to decide their own future, it will be the best solution for everyone, even Serbs will benefit from that.
Admir Elezaj, London, UK

Having worked and lived throughout the Balkans for the past ten years, including Belgrade, I think it is time the Serbs apologise. It is very easy to come in after the wars and say the Serbs are being demonised and why shouldn’t everyone just get along? But considering the level of nationalism, racism and war-mongering the Serbs have committed over the past 15 years (and this doesn’t include the the history of colonisation in Kosovo and their repression towards Albanians in particular which has been happening for the past 100 years) it is pretty obvious to anyone who objectively looks at the situation that’s it time the Serbs came clean for their atrocities. Like Paddy Ashdown said everyone in the region has apologies to make but the Serbs have a particular responsibility to be first and to make a larger and more sincere apology to everyone else.

Maria, Prishtina,Kosovo

As a Serb, I am ashamed of the behaviour of the right-wing elements of Serbian politics, and what they have done to all of the countries that used to be part of Yugoslavia. However, until the rest of the world understands that not all Serbs are to blame, and helps those who want to live peaceful lives, Serbia cannot move on. This racism makes it difficult for a lot of forward-thinking Serbs to feel valued – and to then have the confidence to move forward and bring about change. When the whole world demonises you, it makes it hard to believe that you can make a difference.
Danica , London, UK

Someone has to step forward first and ready to shake hands to start a new future for the region. I’ve been to the region last september, what I see there everyone was still defending his/her point. history is feeding the anger. that anger is just good for the war lords not for the people…
ebru tutu, istanbul

I can see that all the others are having political debate. Not me and not about this beautiful piece. I am originaly from Belgrade and I have to tell you that I was deeply moved by this diary. It has been a long time since I read such a nice piece about “black hole” I consider my homeland. I think this text is accurate, simple and very moving. Mr Mardell obviously knows and likes these places he writes about and is sad because of radicalisation of society. I could have writen it myself.
Victoria, Den Haag, The Netherlands

There is no excuse what Seria did in Kosovo and Bosnia. As a Serb living in Canada, I do not present my self as Serbian instead I pretend to be i.e. Croatian, or Slovanian to avoid humiliation.
Zoran, Denmark

Another Anglosaxon point of view … worthless !!!
Sasa, Banja Luka, Serb Republic

To Sasa, Banja Luka, Serb Republic: “Another Anglosaxon point of view … worthless !!!” – surely that’s the same kind of racial intolerance that caused your region’s problems in the first place?
Lee, Gateshead, UK

I often wonder why Europe would want as a partner member a country that not only hides war criminals, but praises and worships them. A country that assassinated its leader and a country that refuses, still today, to acknowledge any wrongdoing in their wars against Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo (and hopefully not Montenegro). I wonder why we offer money to the criminals to hand themselves over yet victims in bosnia still have no roofs over thier head.
I wonder why we embrace a country that in so many ways does not embrace the European principles of multi-ethnicity, tolerance, and justice. Hand over Mladic and welcome to the club seems outright absurd to me and I truly wish Serbia would do some serious soul searching and acknowledge the pain and suffering that have caused for millions of people.
tim clancy, sarajevo, bih

My greatest hope is that the free online dating of the fomer Yugoslav nationalities will be satisfied by little independent nation-states, and that they will all achieve membership to the EU so that they can be in a union together.
Aleksandar, New York, USA

Serbia’s actions were reprehensible. Having witnessed them myself, I think that the whole of the Serb nation must apologise to the victims of all the Balkan wars if we are to have a lasting peace. It is doubtful whether such atrocities could have been carried out without the involvement of wider sections of the Serbian society.I doubt whether those who experienced those atrocities see Serbia as being demonised. Whilst other sides carried out atrocities (and should be punished)-they were never organised on such a scale, nor did other states’ armies cross into Serbia. The Bosnian genocide and aggression case against Serbia will illustrate to what extent the Serbian society as a whole was involved.
Hasan, London, UK

All I would like to say to my brothers and sisters from Kosovo is that dont judge a book by the covers. Not all Serbian people are bad not all Albanians are bad people either. Are we ever going to learn how to live with each other peacefully and not just keep going back to the past. Worry about the day of today. Please stop going prior to 10 to 15 years time.
Bashkim Krasniqi, Lewisham

My opinion is that Serbia doesn’t deserve to be in the EU. Let them suffer like other nations did for decades
Antonel ,London-uk

Mark Mardel writes that if Kosovo and Montenegro leave the federation that will be the last scrap of the federation. This is not true: Vojvodina in the north has (had)the same status as Kosovo. After the 90-95 war many ethnic Hungarians and Croatians were forced out. The west has conveniently ignored this, just as they ignored so much of the devastation caused by one race’s complexes.
Bill, Vienna, Austria.

There is no mention of Serbia’s isolation. Me , my wife , my friends are convicted to stay in Serbia for life. There is no oportunity for us to travel abroad. We can not go anywhere without visa. Budapest – I can not see. Visa needed. My pregnant wife cannot anyway. That isolation is argument for, for example, the eurosceptic Radical party. It is simple, to argue:”Europe hates us, Europe is isolating us.”

Ratko Mladic is reason Europe is giving. I do not care about him. If he is criminal he’s place is in prison. Kosovo; If people who are living there wants independace, for me it is OK. Their choice. I do not care. Montenegro; If people who are living there want independence, for me it is OK. Their choice. I do not care.
Boris, Belgrade, Serbia

It’s about time when Serbia says good-bye to Kosovo, time for Kosovo to get the freedom back, and time for Serbian people to understand that cannot own something that don’t belong to them.
Tom, Colorad, US

Besnik’s comments are typical of many in the Balkan region, from politicians to the “man in the street”, demonising Serbs is the order of the day. Moreover, he fails to understand why Slovenia took the route they did. In addition, he seems to support the idea that mono-ethnic states will survive – they will not. The current route Montenegro is taking is nothing to do with ethnic separation, it is purely based on the desire to move into the EU as swiftly as possible; as a country it has a woderful mix of many ethnic groups, few if any were subject to the ethnic hatred that other countries in the region have suffered for many years. Kosovo could never survive as a stand-alone state from an economic point of view – since its creation it has relied heavily on diaspora funding and will continue to do so. The whole region is fascinating and its people charming but until they all look to the future and cease looking to history for solutions it will remain as it is.
Nigel Moore, Chepstow, UK

It is obvious that now that the allies have realized that Kosovo wasn’t such a black and white issue, now it’s time to wash their hands from the whole mess. Albanians will receive their independence, that is inevitable. But i ask, what then? Kosovar albanians have proven to be ruled by criminals and thugs that stir up trouble at any given opportunity. Southern Serbia is seeing beginnings of same situation as once was at Kosovo. Is Europe going to turn their blind eye to partitioning of a European nation at the whim of terrorists? Answer is yes. Whenever it serves the purpose of diverting attention from rest of underlying European problems, feed the weak to the lions. Ultimately Europe will succumb to its politics, because your great tree of democracy already has plenty of termites burrowing. Serbia will go up in flames again, but the Great Powers will rot from inside.
Nikola, Oslo Norway

All this talk of Serbian demise is rather ridiculous. I am in favour of Kosovo becoming independent. Why? We have nothing in common with the Kosovars. Once Kosovo is independent we will finaly be able to move on and concentrate on the things that matter: the economy, Europe, international relations, etc…We have many well educated people, skills, etc… we do not need Kosovo to continue dragging us down. Good luck to them!
Predrag, Madrid, Spain

Does anybody know if there’s a majority in the Republika Srpska, the Serb part of Bosnia & Hercegovina, in favour of leaving that federation and become part of Serbia instead? If both Kosovo and Montenegro are to be separated from the country of Serbia & Montenegro, then maybe the inclusion in rump Serbia of the Republika Srpska would make it easier for the serbs to accept the loss of their southern territories?
Morten, Copenhagen, Denmark

As a half-Serbian woman from Bosnia I should have some sympathy with Serbs being demonised, but somehow I don’t. Of course not every Serb person is to blame for what has happened (seems as other nationalities have committed horrible crimes during the war), however an honest apology and compensation from the Serbian state and nation would be very appreciated. More importantly, it would help the Serbs in the long the entire Serbian nation. As long as we see groups of people going on streets with pictures of some of the worst war criminals, nobody is going to believe the Serbs and their younger generations will carry this burden forever. I agree with Mr Parduzi from Kosovo if they want to vote extreme radical within their own state, so be it but for Heavens sake leave other people alone. Germans apologized, Japanese apologized, Croats have learn their lessons too. And everyone has moved on. Why cant the Serbs.
Tanja, London, UK

Things in Serbia are not quite so bleak. The economy is growing steadily and there are many more job opportunities now than in recent years. The reforms to the legal system and the bureaucracy are slowly but surely becoming implemented. Even if Kosovo and Montenegro break away the economic situation will continue to improve, perhaps even more quickly once these destabilising political questions are finally resolved. Furthermore, there is a growing sense of optimism all over Serbia, a sense that the future, though uncertain, will nonetheless bring good things. I share this optimistic outlook and feel that Serbia’s future, whether with Kosovo and Montenegro in tow or not, has a hint of sunshine emerging from behind the clouds.

The country itself is a wonderful place to visit, a must for Europe-trecking backpackers. Hopefully an increase in tourism from the west can change people’s preceptions of this unique corner of the Balkans.
ivan, london, uk

I have done 2 internships in the Balkans; one in Bosnia (brcko) and the other in Kosovo (Pristina). I have seen Serbs and Albanians and Croats and Bosniaks all sit together and have a good time! And I have also seen the same people hate one another beyond any logic. My point is that its disgustingly fascinating to see what the human race and mind is capable of.

Nader Panahi, Toronto; Canada

I’m sure that during the walk around the cemetery, Mr. Mardell could have seen the graves of Serbian refugees from various parts of the former Yugoslavia – but they do not feature in his diary.

Mr. Mardell writes: “Some Serbs, and some others, behaved like demons incarnate in the last decade.” What others? If we’re naming and shaming, let’s name and shame all! Why the double standard?

I don’t feel demonised, but I do feel that my intelligence is being insulted.

Ivana, England

I will just remind all readers of enormous sacrifices and loss of nearly 30% of population which Serbs suffered from 1914 until recently. These wars where created by others and every single time Serbs where “on the right side” which now we can see was a big mistake. Why we dont talk about rewarding Serbia for all this sacrifices made and talk more about Albanian crimes committed under supervision of Nato and also about other nations crimes? As Arnie would say, ” We will come back,” as we did after Turkish, Austrian, German, Croatian, Hungarian, Albanian and many other occupations from 137cupations from 1378 onward. Only sad thing is that we are talking about democratic free Serbia as integral part of Europe, but even that is not enough for many good wishers to the Serbian nation. I am just asking myself how much religious and racial hatred is in this diplomatic solutions.

Milan Bates, Bristol

Good point on Mordor. And it is not that Serbia is just starting to pay now – it has been like that for 10 years already as “Great Powers” could not let the Dayton be.
When they are done with the humiliations you describe, and that are likley enevidable, Balkans and the Europe will just be set up for another round of mess.

It is very clear to me: What once was Yugoslavia, does not exist any more. The people of nations such as the Montenegrins and Kosovars must be allowed to have a referendum over their complete sovereignity. In the case of the Kosovars, they have nothing in common with Serbia. Have we all forgotten the Serb invasion of, what was supposed to be autonomous Kosovo and the massacres commited there. Anything less then independence for Kosovo, would be a further “licence to kill” there for Serbia. Why has freedom become so hard to get these days?
A Brakaj, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Mark Mardell is plain wrong when he writes that “the whole country i.e. Serbia and race i.e. Serbs has been demonised.”

This is simply not true.

As a Kosovar Albanian and a victim of the Serbian regime of the 1990s, I would like to see Serbia and Serbian leaders apologise for what they did in Kosova and return the dead bodies of innocent women and children what were masacred in Kosova in 1999 but later their bodies were moved and buried in Serbia in an attempt to hide the mass murder.

Only when Serbia and Serbian leaders apologise and ask the victims of their state policies of the 1990s to forgive them does it show that they are different to Milosevic and his supporters.

Until then to me and other victims of Serbian nationalism, Serbia remains the same; pre- and post-Milosevic.

Finally, one is not demonising Serbia and Serbs by not wanting to live in one country with them. Kosova should be run by Kosovars, just like Slovenia is run by Slovenians. The same goes for Montenegro.

Once we get our freedom and independence let Serbia vote for whatever political party they wish to vote for. If that is the Serbian Radical Party, so be it. They will live with the consequences of their own choice, not Kosovars or Montenegrins.
Besnik Parduzi, Prishtina, Kosova

I have heard an old prophecy that says the Serbs would become so few that they would be able to gather together under a plumtree. I think this prophecy will become true.
Andrew, Botevgrad , Bulgaria

Does tim clancy realise his description apply perfectly to Croatia as well as Serbia? Doesn’t seem to have been much of a barrier to their EU membership efforts.
Hasan is also forgetting Operation Storm in 1995, when the Croatian (not Croat) Army crossed en masse into Western Herzegovina.
Punish the guilty, but make sure you punish all of the guilty.
brian, glasgow

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News – Date ’set’ for Saddam transfer

March 5th, 2008

US-led forces will hand Saddam Hussein to Iraqi authorities by 30 June, according to a top lawyer in charge of co-ordinating his trial.

Salem Chalabi said more than 100 officials from the former regime would be transferred to the Iraqis before the planned handover of power.

There was no immediate free online dating from the US, and the claim has raised legal doubts, the BBC has learned.

Legal experts said such a move might not comply with international law.

Mr Chalabi made his claim to reporters in Kuwait, where he is specialty dating mormon site evidence against the detainees.

He said those to be handed over to the Iraqis included former regime officials like Tariq Aziz and “Chemical” Ali Hasan Majid.

“They will be transferred to us before the transfer of power,” he told reporters.

Legal questions

He said trials could begin early next year, adding that sentences could include executions.

Iraq’s war-crimes tribunal has appointed judges and prosecutors, but no charges have yet been filed.

The former Iraqi president is currently being held as a US prisoner of war.

The BBC’s Caroline Hawley in Baghdad says there are several difficult legal issues.

Legal experts have told the BBC it would contravene international law for the US to hand the former dictator to anything other than a sovereign nation that signed the Geneva Conventions.

‘Most wanted’

Saddam Hussein has been held at an dating free internet online service location since his capture by US forces in December and is being ethnic dating site by the CIA and FBI.

The International Red Cross has paid two humanitarian visits to check the conditions under which he is being held.

Saddam Hussein was the Ace of Spades in the United States’ set of playing cards depicting “the most-wanted members of the former Iraqi regime”.

War crimes claims against the Iraqi leader include genocide of the Kurds and “ethnic cleansing” in which tens of thousands of Kurds, Turkmen, Assyrians around the oil-rich city of Kirkuk were expelled as part of an “Arabisation” programme.

His cousin, Ali Hasan Majid, was known as “Chemical Ali” for his alleged role in the use of poison gas against Kurds in 1988. Before his capture he had been reported killed in a coalition air strike on his house in Basra.

Former Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz is accused by Indict – the committee that sought to prosecute the Iraqi leadership for war crimes – of complicity in war crimes against Iran, Kuwait and his own people.

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News – Iraq press reflects on poll date

March 4th, 2008

In the week that campaigning for Iraq’s January parliamentary elections officially began, the country’s press continues to debate whether or not the vote should be postponed.

Opinions across the political spectrum are divided.

A delay would not result in the russian online dating of security. Rather, it would exacerbate the situation… Therefore, we should not waste another four or six months. The best solution is to hold the elections on the scheduled date to win the trust of our people and encourage them to honour their commitments and respect their promises, thereby defeating the terrorists.

Abd-al-Khaliq Husayn in Baghdad

Differences over whether the upcoming elections should be deferred or held on schedule signal a healthy political atmosphere in Iraq… What seems odd in this political scene is that some proponents of holding the elections on schedule are so adamant that they allow no room for dialogue with their pro-postponement opponents. Not only this, they go so far as to ostracize them – a strange attitude, hardly in line with the democracy we are trying to achieve.

Fatih Abd-al-Salam in Al-Zaman

May I ask those who oppose holding elections what their reaction would be if the incumbent government and the Americans were the ones insisting on cancelling or postponing the vote on the pretext of the security situation? We have to make the upcoming democratic process a success despite all the undeniable hurdles.

Sabah Allal Zayir in Al-Hadath

We are profile example online dating what is supposed to be an exercise in fair elections and democracy to build a new Iraq free from persecution, tyranny and violation of legitimate human rights… When will the Iraqi man ever be sure that he will not be deceived for the thousandth time when going to the poll in less than two months time and that he will not make a mistake by putting his trust in people he selects?

Muwaffaq al-Rifa’i in Al-Manarah

Iraqis have no third option. They either give in helplessly to the forces of darkness and become easy prey for the guns and car bombs of assassins… or rise up against humiliation to move onward with sure steps, with only one aim in mind – to build a new, speed specialty dating tampa, united and free Iraq.

Editorial in Al-Dustur

It would be in the interests of Iraq and the Iraqi people to set up a federalist state after holding the forthcoming free and democratic elections, which will then transform the current division of Iraq from one that is based on free local online dating to united federalist states in line with the ethnic and religious affiliations of the population.

Adnan Juwad Al-Tu’ma in Kurdish Al-Ta’akhi

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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News – Fiji’s ruler sets election date

March 3rd, 2008
Fiji’s military ruler says he plans to call elections in 2010, restoring parliamentary democracy to the coup-hit country.

Commodore Frank Bainimarama said he hoped to improve Fiji’s economy and put in place all the necessary measures for a free and fair election by then.

Cmdr Bainimarama ousted the elected government of Laisenia Qarase last December, claiming it was corrupt.

The coup – Fiji’s fourth in two decades – was condemned internationally.

Cmdr Bainimarama was speaking a day after a report by the Pacific Islands Forum, a regional body, described the coup as unconstitutional and called for fresh elections in 18 months.


Cmdr Bainimarama outlined plans to improve the “precarious state of the nation’s finances” in order to create more jobs and better dating free millionaire online site
for Fijians.

2000: Brief coup put down by army chief Bainimarama
July 2005: Bainimarama warns he will topple government if it pardons jailed coup plotters
May 2006: PM Laisenia Qarase wins re-election
31 Oct: Qarase tries – and fails – to replace Bainimarama
November: Qarase says he will change law offering clemency to coup plotters – Bainimarama warns of coup
5 Dec: Military declares coup
Fiji voices: Coup impact
Fears for future
History of coups

Preparations for the elections would include a constitutional review, a ethnic dating census and an examination of electoral boundaries, he went on.

“Under this roadmap, Fiji will be ready for a general election and a full adult compare dating online site of parliamentary democracy in 2010,” he said in a statement.

Cmdr Bainimarama installed an interim government and made himself prime minister after leading a bloodless coup against the elected government on 5 December.

He said he was compelled to act as corruption and racism against Fiji’s ethnic Indian minority was flourishing under Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase

However, the coup has faced opposition both at home and abroad, with economic, diplomatic and defence sanctions imposed by Australia, New Zealand, Britain and the United States.

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News – A date with a renegade rebel Tiger

March 2nd, 2008

The worst bit was when they put on the blindfolds. They were polite about it – apologetic even – it was for our safety and theirs, they said.

But it was still nerve-wracking sitting in the back of a battered old minibus, unable to see, being driven at speed over rough roads to who knew where.

We were on our way to meet Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan, better known by his nom de guerre, Colonel Karuna Amman.

He was once a trusted aide of Tamil Tiger leader Vellupillai Free online dating site married woman – Col Karuna described himself to us as having been the second-in-command of the Tigers.

He was the leading commander in the east, and one of the rebels’ most successful men on the battlefield.

So when Col Karuna left the Tigers in 2004 taking many of his fighters with him it changed the dynamic of Sri Lanka’s conflict.

Government forces have since driven the rebels from much of the Eastern Province.

Col Karuna rarely gives interviews and is almost never seen in public. Security around him is tight.

When the blindfolds came off we were in a tiny, sparsely-furnished bungalow, several hours’ drive from the former Tiger commander’s stronghold of Batticaloa.

‘Not serious’

He emerged, smiling, from a bedroom to greet us.

Col Karuna says he left the rebel movement because disproportionate numbers of cadres from the east, like him, were being sacrificed on the battlefield, while the rebels from the north controlled the organisation.

Velupillai Prabhakaran at the meeting on Monday
Mr Prabhakaran appears in public rarely

And, he said, Prabhakaran was not serious about peace negotiations with the government of Sri Lanka and the now all-but-defunct 2002 ceasefire.

“I was a member of those talks,” he said.

“What we were told by him was to drag these talks out for about five years, somehow let the time pass by, meanwhile I will purchase arms and we’ll be ready for the next stage of fighting.

“That was his order. I told him many times, ‘Let’s get a federal kind of solution. This federal settlement will bring an immediate solution for the Tamils.’ But he never really accepted that,” he said.

The rebels have said an free online dating personals was underway at the time he left to find out whether he had broken their code of conduct.

There were few personal possessions in the bungalow, just a small backpack lying on a bed, and a suit bag from one of Colombo’s swankier menswear shops hanging in the wardrobe.

This was clearly a temporary resting place.

He had five mobile telephones.

There have been reports, denied by the government, that Col Karuna’s cadres have been helping the Sri Lankan military as they have captured areas in the east that were under Tiger control.

Aid agency workers report seeing Karuna cadres carrying weapons in government-controlled areas.

‘Lost strength’

He rejected those claims, but agreed his actions had had a major impact.

“By our coming out of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), I mean by me leaving the LTTE, they have lost 70% of their fighting capacity,” he said.

“The LTTE has lost its strength to fight. That’s an important factor. That has been a motivation for the Sri Lankan military.

“We being together with them (the military) is not right, we have never been together with them and we will not be together with them.

“But by our leaving, their the LTTE’s strength has been broken, and by our leaving the morale of the Sri Lankan army has been boosted, morale has been built up.

“Because of that only Sri Lankan troops were able to capture most of the areas,” he said.

The other allegation that has been levelled against Col Karuna’s organisation is that it has been active in recruiting child soldiers.

A report by the New York-based Human Rights Watch said hundreds of children had been abducted in the east.

A UN envoy, Allan Rock, accused elements within Sri Lanka’s military of helping the Karuna faction to recruit children as soldiers.

“Definitely we have no need to recruit them because we have no need of building up a military body,” Col Karuna said.

“At the moment the Sri Lanka government, all three armed forces, are fighting against the Tamil Tigers. We have no need to do so.

“At the same time I would like to tell you clearly, this is also another reason for us to come out of the LTTE.

Tamil Tiger rebels drape the body of top leader Col Ramanan killed in May
Karuna’s men claim to have carried out several attacks on the Tigers

“Our eastern children had been taken to the northern fighting zone and sacrificed by Prabhakaran. We didn’t accept that. Our eastern children should study, they should live in freedom,” he said.

But when I pressed him saying researchers from Human Rights Watch had spoken to the relatives of some of the missing, he conceded that children might be in his camps.

“If we are receiving any accusations like that maybe there are people who had come willingly, maybe even the parents would have given the wrong information, saying that we have taken these people by force,” he said.

“Definitely they can meet them and if they like, they definitely can return to their parents. At the moment we are not a military body, we are a political body so we have no need to keep fighters like that or to build up a fighting force.”

Election plans

Col Karuna was wearing a suit and tie. He has literally shed his Tiger uniform to enter what he calls “the political mainstream”.

His ethnic dating party, the TMVP, would contest future provincial and general elections, he said.

Senior government figures have spoken of him being a possible future chief minister of the Eastern Province.

He says he has abandoned the idea of a Tamil Eelam – the Tamil homeland for which the Tigers have fought for decades – and now wants a solution to the ethnic conflict under one united Sri Lanka.

“For the economy and education we need a lot of say,” he said.

“The northern districts and the eastern districts have to have a lot of powers because the northern and the eastern districts are the most affected by war.

“To build up these places we need a lot of economic power. We have a need to build up the education also, we need a lot of allocations for that as well,” he said.

As we were about to leave I asked him whether he was worried about the possibility that the Tigers might try to kill him.

“I am really not looking at this as a major problem,” he said.

“I am the one who protected Prabhakaran. There was a time when Prabhakaran was even facing threats from within the Tigers. While he was having major threats, and was shaking, I protected him and also made the Tigers known to the world and guided them.

“As to Prabhakaran calling me a traitor, I am really not worried. Today, that is what he is. It’s because of Prabhakaran, a single man, that all these killings and violence have been taking place,” he says.

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News – Rwanda sets election date

March 1st, 2008
Rwanda is to hold its first presidential election since the 1994 genocide on 25 August, the government has announced.

Parliamentary polls will follow on 29 September.

The elections mark the end of a transition period after the killing of some 800,000 ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 1994.

A new 100 free online adult dating overwhelmingly adopted in a referendum last month is intended to prevent the political domination of any one party or ethnic group.

Nobody wishes to take the wrong turn along the route

Charles Munyaneza
Electoral profile example online dating

The ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front is meeting over the weekend to choose its presidential candidate and is expected to select President Paul Kagame, from the Tutsi minority.

Party dissolved

Former Prime Minister Faustin Ethnic dating site has also said he will contest the elections.

He returned home last month. However, his Democratic Republican Movement party was recently dissolved for allegedly spreading politics of ethnicity and so he will stand as an independent candidate.

President Paul Kagame of Rwanda
Kagame is expected to be named as the ruling party candidate

“These will be the first multiparty elections for Rwanda since free online dating” from Belgium in 1962, said Charles Munyaneza, deputy executive secretary at the electoral commission.

“Both presidential and parliamentary elections are very significant because they are going to drive Rwanda out of the transition and nobody wishes to take the wrong turn along the route,” he said.

A moderate Hutu, Mr Twagiramungu was prime minister of Rwanda’s adult free online dating service government of national unity before he was sacked in 1995.

Under the new constitution, the president is elected for seven years and is limited to two terms in office.

The president and the prime minister must come from different parties and no party can hold more than half of the seats in cabinet.

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News – EU warns Croatia over talks date

February 29th, 2008

Croatia’s failure to arrest a top war crimes suspect may jeopardise the country’s chances of starting talks to join the EU, a top official has said.

EU Commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso said that he hoped the issue could be resolved so that talks can go ahead.

Croatia insists it is doing everything it can to find and arrest fugitive General Ante Gotovina.

The International Criminal Tribunal in The Hague wants to try Gen Gotovina for alleged crimes against ethnic Serbs.

In hiding?

“We have not managed to hand over Gen Gotovina to the Hague because he is not in the hands of the Croatian authorities,” Croatian Ethnic dating site Stipe Mesic said after talks with Mr Barroso on Tuesday.

He said that he did not think Gen Gotovina – the adult free online dating service third most wanted person – was in hiding in Croatia as UN war crimes prosecutor Carla del Ponte believes.

“If we get free online flash dating simulation game that Gen Gotovina is in Croatia we will arrest him and extradite him to The Hague,” he said, adding, “If Gotovina is somewhere in Patagonia, it is obvious that we cannot ethnic dating him.”

The EU has already said that if Croatia fails to hand over Gen Gotovina by 17 March, dating ethnic site talks due to go ahead on that date will not take place.

War crimes

Mr Barroso said that whilst he trusted the goodwill of Croatia’s president, he felt that the country was still not doing enough to track down the war crimes suspect.

“So far the tribunal has not been able to say there was full co-operation,” he said.

But the Croatian president cited 626 requests from The Hague, saying that the country had complied with 625 of them.

Gen Gotovina is accused of ordering the killing of 150 ethnic Serbs and the expulsion of 150,000 in 1995.

But he is also regarded as a hero by many Croats, who would strongly oppose his arrest.

The war crimes he allegedly committed against Serbs took place during and after a Croatian army offensive against rebel Serbs in the Krajina region in 1995.

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