The Nakba 1948, Palestine

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Nigeria: Remembering Bob Marley 36 Years After

Photo: The New Times

May 11 is globally recognized as Bob Marley’s Day. A day observed by playing the songs of the reggae maestro and showcasing the Rastafarian root culture.
This year’s Marley’s day is unique because it marked exactly 36 years that Marley died at the age of 36 in Miami, Florida, on May 11, 1981 due to cancer.
That means that Thursday, May 11, 2017 is the “equilibrium day” of Bob Marley’s life circle, something that’ll only happen once.
Bob Marley was born on February 6, 1945, in Nine Miles, Saint Ann, Jamaica, to Norval Marley and Cedella Booker.
Marley started his career with the Wailers, a group he formed with Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingston in 1963. Marley married Rita Marley in February 1966, and it was she who introduced him to Rastafarianism. By 1969 Bob, Tosh and Livingston had fully embraced Rastafarianism, which greatly influenced Marley’s music in particular and reggae music in general.
In 1974 Tosh and Livingston left the Wailers to start solo careers. Marley later formed the band “Bob Marley and the Wailers”, with his wife Rita as one of three backup singers called the I-Trees. This period saw the release of some ground-breaking albums, such as “Natty Dread”, “Rastaman Vibration”.
In 1976, during a period of spiralling political violence in Jamaica, an attempt was made on Marley’s life. Marley left for England, where he lived in self-exile for two years. In England “Exodus” was produced, and it remained on the British charts for 56 straight weeks. This was followed by another successful album, “Kaya.” These successes introduced reggae music to the western world, and established the beginning of Marley’s international status.
In 1977 Marley consulted with a doctor when a wound in his big toe would not heal. More tests revealed malignant melanoma. He refused to have his toe amputated as his doctors recommended, claiming it contradicted his Rastafarian beliefs. Others, however, claim that the main reason behind his refusal was the possible negative impact on his dancing skills. The cancer was kept secret from the general public while Bob continued working.
Returning to Jamaica in 1978, he continued work and released “Survival” in 1979 which was followed by a successful European tour. In 1980, he was the only foreign artist to participate in the independence ceremony of Zimbabwe. It was a time of great success for Marley, and he started an American tour to reach blacks in the U.S. He played two shows at Madison Square Garden, but collapsed while jogging in NYC’s Central Park on September 21, 1980. The cancer diagnosed earlier had spread to his brain, lungs and stomach. Bob Marley died in a Miami hospital on May 11, 1981.
As a mark of respect and gratitude, the New York Department of Education has co-named a section of Brooklyn as Bob Marley Boulevard.



Saudi Arabia is defending itself in Yemen, says UK defence chief

Michael Fallon said Saudi Arabia’s bombing campaign in Yemen was justified as it was fending off Houthi rebels from its southern border

Fallon defended Britain’s relationship with Saudi Arabia by saying the Gulf Kingdom was an “important trade ally”
Britain’s defence secretary said that Saudi Arabia was “simply defending itself” by bombing Yemen in a military campaign that has killed thousands of civilians and brought millions more to the brink of famine.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, Michael Fallon stood by current Conservative government policy on Saudi Arabia and said that the Gulf kingdom was fending off Houthi rebels from its southern border.
”Saudi Arabia is being attacked by Houthi rebels across its southern border with Yemen. It’s had its towns and villages shelled by the Houthis.
“Saudi Arabia is fully entitled to defend itself and it’s fully entitled to call on its friend in so doing,” said Fallon, as he justified arms exports to the Gulf kingdom.
Asked whether the Conservatives would consider an arms embargo against the Gulf Kingdom, Fallon said that Saudi Arabia was an “important trading partner”.
“We share intelligence with Saudi Arabia about terrorism. We gain from that relationship. Every arms export application is very carefully looked at and judged by our criteria – some of the toughest in the world.”
Fallon’s stance stands in stark contrast to his counterparts in the Labour Party, who have pledged to ban arms exports to Saudi Arabia, according to a leaked copy of its manifesto.
A recent poll by Opinium conducted in February revealed that 62 percent of UK adults oppose arms exports to Saudi Arabia, with only 11 percent of participants supporting them.
Andrew Smith from the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) told Middle East Eye that politicians should commit to ending arms sales if it wishes to “do what is in the best interests of the Saudi Arabia”.
“The UK public is rightly opposed to the UK’s unbending and uncritical political and military support for the Saudi regime. It has one of the most brutal and repressive human rights records in the world. UK arms have been central to its terrible bombardment of Yemen,” said Smith

British-made cluster bombs

In December, Fallon confirmed that UK-made cluster bombs, manufactured before the UN’s convention on cluster munitions was adopted in 2008, was used by Saudi Arabia in Yemen.
Most developed countries, including the UK but with the key exception of the US, have banned cluster bombs on the basis that they present a disproportionate threat to civilians.
According to Human Rights Watch, cluster bombs “pose a threat post-conflict by leaving remnants, including submunitions that fail to explode upon impact becoming de facto landmines”.
Britain is the second biggest arms exporter in the world, selling the majority of its weapons to Saudi Arabia.
In the first year of Saudi Arabia’s bombing campaign in Yemen, Britain approved $4.2 billion worth of arms export licenses to the Gulf kingdom.
The legality of UK arms sales is currently the subject of a judicial review, following an application by CAAT.
The claim calls on the government to suspend all extant licences and stop issuing further arms export licences to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen while it holds a full review to determine if the exports are compatible with UK and EU legislation.
The verdict is still pending.


The OPCW investigation of Khan-Sheikhoun chemical incident: how credible?

Article by Ambassador Yakovenko for The Daily Telegraph, 11.05.2017

Unfortunately, there is still no proper reaction by the OPCW to the alleged use of sarin in Khan Sheikhoun of 4 April. The work of the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) to Syria is shrouded in secrecy. What is clear is that it continues to operate in a remote mode, using Internet data mostly concocted by the radical elements of the Syrian opposition, including the notorious “White Helmets”. From the scarce information one can gather that the samples taken from those injured or dead were tested in the OPCW-licensed laboratories in Britain and Turkey and established to be sarin or sarin-like substance. However, the samples were not taken at the site of the incident, but, it appears, in the Turkish territory, to which the injured and the bodies of the dead were taken. Hence the basic principle of the investigation, that of the chain of custody, hasn’t been observed. There are no answers on that from our Western partners. As there is no clear evidence that those people were from Khan Sheikhoun and not from somewhere else.
We requested the British Government to share the information on the analysis conducted by the British scientists of samples at their disposal. We wanted to clarify all the circumstances, including the procedures (chain of custody) followed, the precise kind of the samples (biological, soil etc.) and the places they were taken. It is also not clear whether the British side gained access to Khan Sheikhoun, and if so, why it is not assisting in providing such an access to the OPCW experts for conducting a comprehensive and credible investigation in conformity with the UN Security Council resolutions? If the samples were not taken at the scene of the events and without following the chain of custody rule, then what, in London’s opinion, is the value of such tests?
Unfortunately, the answer we received was disappointing and did not contain any substantial information on the issues we raised. It is totally beyond the point and ends up with appeal to trust the British Government’s word.
The questioning of the witnesses by the FFM is equally dubious. One can’t be sure those “witnesses” were indeed residents of Khan Sheikhoun. Moreover, they are mostly supporters of the opposition or their family members. Their impartiality is questionable, even more so when the inquiry is limited to these interviews and the analysis of the Internet content.
At the same time, a lot of fake photo- and video-materials are being posted. Let me draw your attention to the analysis of the social media content on the Khan Sheikhoun incident provided by the NGO “Swedish Doctors for Human Rights”. Or to the report by Professor A.Postol from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A lot of other information is available demonstrating that those photo- and video- materials were clearly staged.
Russia insists on a credible international investigation, since it looks like the FFM, so far, has not been doing its job properly. The FFM team, in terms of its composition, is absolutely dominated by the countries hostile to Damascus. And this is another fundamental flaw, which is in sharp contrast to the established international practice. According to the UN Secretary-General decision the UN-OPCW investigation mechanism mustn’t include representatives of the UNSC P5, as well as Syria’s neighbours. And yet the heads of both FFM segments are British citizens, albeit no one can in earnest assume the British position in the Syrian conflict is unbiased. Why not act by the book and why afraid of the truth being established in due course?
From the very beginning the Russian position was in favour of a proper full-fledged international investigation into the incident. Meanwhile, at the OPCW Executive Committee’s extraordinary session on 21 April the Western countries blocked the Russo-Iranian draft decision on this issue.
According to the UN Secretariat, the security situation in Khan Sheikhoun is quite acceptable. The Syrian side is also ready, in the interests of this investigation, to put a ceasefire in force along the way of the OPCW staff’s travel to the site. The Director-General of the OPCW Technical Secretariat stated his willingness to send the OPCW experts to Khan Sheikhoun.
The Syrian Government is also ready to ensure a totally secure environment for the FFM staff to visit Shayrat airbase. We insist on such a visit. The US Administration explained its Shayrat missile attack by the alleged storage of sarin at this airbase. It is necessary to verify this allegation.
In our view, it is a fair assumption that sarin could have been used in Khan Sheikhoun. The question is who did it and how the toxic substance was delivered. A few versions exist. As the information is accumulated there is more and more grounds to think that the terrorists controlling this area blew up the home-built sarin munition on the ground which resulted in civilian casualties. The “White Helmets” acted too hastily to stir public outrage and posted in-advance prepared materials on the Internet. However, they made several bad mistakes which point to the staged nature of those materials. In contrast to some other countries who are in a hurry to blame Damascus, we don’t insist on our version, but we believe it should be taken into account.
The Director-General of the OPCW Technical Secretariat stated his willingness to send the OPCW experts to Khan Sheikhoun. We are hoping this process will not take too long.
The definitive answer to what really happened in Khan Sheikhoun can only be provided by a full-fledged investigation in full compliance with the OPCW verification provisions. It is too serious a matter for peace in the region and a wider world for the OPCW to fail this test of credibility. Those who have taken over the FFM investigation are all to eager to manage the truth in their vested interest. Otherwise they wouldn’t obstruct efforts to open it up for due scrutiny. It is this tactics of pushing the UN Security Council to act on the basis of forged evidence and flawed investigation, that undermines the rules-based world order.
It has to be borne in mind that the British Foreign Secretary recently hypothesized on joining another US action in Syria in response to another chemical incident, which means that an order for it has already been placed. A lot is said about the disastrous lack of trust in international relations. Unilateral actions and takeovers of international bodies by the West further undermine it.


Pursuing the China Dream through Africa: Five Elements of China’s Africa Strategy

By Paul Nantulya, April 6, 2017

China’s expanding involvement in Africa is an integral piece in President Xi Jinping’s grand strategy to restore the country to its perceived rightful place of global prominence.
Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2015Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks at the Forum on China–Africa Cooperation in 2015. Established in 2000, the FOCAC summit meets every 3 years. In between summits, a follow-up committee of Chinese and African institutions implements and monitors a wide range of programs. (Photo: GCIS.)
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States generated inevitable comparisons of the two countries’ approaches to engaging the world. China’s expanding involvement in Africa provides a revealing window into Beijing’s grand strategy. Africa is an integral element of Xi’s “China Dream”—a blueprint for restoring the country to its perceived rightful place of global prominence. Part of the blueprint entails positioning China as a leader in the developing world through expanded bilateral and multilateral engagements. China advances these aims in Africa in five primary ways:

1. Economic engagement

China’s economic involvement with the continent has steadily expanded over the past decade. Beijing operates approximately 2,500 development, civil works, and construction projects worth $94 billion in 51 African countries. While it is not clear how many of these have reached completion beyond ceremonial pledges, the visible presence of huge infrastructure projects across the continent is unmistakable. In 2009, China surpassed the United States as Africa’s largest trading partner, and by 2015, China’s trade with Africa had reached $300 billion. Crude oil, raw materials, and natural resources constitute more than 80 percent of its roughly $93 billion in annual imports from Africa. Observers have also criticized the transactional nature of some of China’s engagements, where China seems primarily interested in accessing and exploiting Africa’s vast natural resources.

2. Military interests

For years, China’s leaders dismissed external military deployments as “a characteristic of Western imperialism.” China, they said, “does not interfere everywhere like the hegemonists do.” But in 2008, the Chinese Navy made its first operational deployment outside the Asia-Pacific region to the Gulf of Aden to support the UN–sanctioned anti-piracy task force. Then Beijing deployed a warship supported by ground and air assets to evacuate 35,000 Chinese nationals from mounting violence in Libya in March 2011. In 2016, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) installed troops, assets, and support staff in Djibouti, its first permanent overseas deployment since 1949. And in April, the first aircraft carrier built in China entered service. All of these moves are in line with the “New Historic Missions” doctrine, which calls for an expeditionary capability that can, among other things, safeguard growing Chinese interests on the continent, maintain a naval presence in the western Indian Ocean, protect its merchant ships from piracy, and support China’s growing participation in UN missions in Africa.

PLA Navy frigate Xuzhou

The People’s Liberation Army Navy Jiangkai II class guided-missile frigate Xuzhou.
In 2015, China passed a counterterrorism law that for the first time authorizes the PLA’s deployment on overseas counterterrorism missions. The PLA has also established itself as an active security partner through military-to-military contacts based on training and education programs, military advisors, arms sales, and construction of military facilities and ministries of defense headquarters. China in 2015 was the second largest supplier of weapons to sub-Saharan Africa after Russia, accounting for 22 percent of arms transfers to the region.

3. UN peacekeeping

China’s role in UN peacekeeping operations has grown from 400 troops in 1990 to 22,000 in 2013. That year, the Diversified Employment of China’s Armed Forces—China’s strategic defense guidance—established UN peacekeeping operations as a “strategic Chinese priority.”
Initially, Chinese troop deployments in Africa were strictly non-combat, such as medical specialists and engineers, and to low risk areas. Since 2012, however, the PLA has been sending combat troops to high risk theaters, with an infantry company in northern Mali and an infantry battalion to South Sudan. Currently, about 2,500 Chinese troops and police officers are deployed in UN missions across the continent, with the largest deployments in South Sudan (1,051), Liberia (670), and Mali (402). In 2015, China pledged 8,000 additional troops toward a Chinese Peacekeeping Standby Force that will be placed at the service of UN peacekeeping operations. Beijing also committed itself to the UN’s new peacekeeping capability readiness system and allocated $1 billion over 10 years to a UN peace and development fund. China also allocated $100 million in new funding to the African Union’s rapid deployment capability.
China is now the second largest financial contributor to UN peacekeeping and commits more troops to missions than all other members of the Security Council combined. With these contributions has come a greater say at the UN, such as the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. China is particularly sensitive about how its expanded military presence is perceived. During his 2015 UN address, president Xi asserted that “China will never pursue hegemony, expansion, or sphere of influence.” Managing this perception is essential for realizing the greater influence envisioned in the China Dream, given deepening tensions with China’s immediate neighbors.

4. Political party training

Political party training is another element of China’s Africa policy. Managed by the Central Party School, the programs consist of lectures in ideology and party building, exposure to Chinese culture, field visits and mentorship of African political leaders, and deployment of Chinese party officials to the continent as political advisors. These programs date back to the 1960s in support of African anti-colonial movements, but they have now been extended to include political parties that do not have a background in liberation movements. They are also highly technical, including hands-on training on how to establish organizational structures, ideological work, propaganda systems, and party administration. According to the Chinese Communist Party, the goal of these programs is to “educate fraternal African political parties on China’s experience in economic development and political governance.”  This has led some to criticise the training for reinforcing authoritarian models that might exacerbate instability on the continent.
While numbers are not easy to come by, available data suggests that these programs have expanded in scope. The ruling parties of Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, and Zimbabwe are all major training partners of the Central Party School. South Africa’s African National Congress alone sent four groups of 56 members of its top organs for training between 2008 and 2012. Recently the training was expanded to include “next generation leaders” through the Sino-Africa Young Political Leaders Program. More than 200 Africans graduated from the program between 2011 and 2015, and Beijing has said that it would increase this intake to 1,000 by 2018.
While many ruling elites are enthusiastic about these programs, some African observers see problems in their wholesale application to the African context. The Chinese model, for instance, stresses the subordination of the military and government to party control—a dynamic that makes the security sector vulnerable to politicization at the expense of professionalism. This is particularly problematic in Africa given the persistence of personality-based political parties and governing styles. As many have suggested, the “party army” approach can be an especially harmful model in divided societies, where the security sectors are designed to serve individual political leaders as opposed to the nation.

5. Soft power

In 1993, “soft power with Chinese characteristics” became a core policy concept to support the goal of restoring China’s global prominence. It amplifies non-coercive tools—diplomacy, party-to-party building, strategic communications, and preferential access to the Chinese market—as tools of strategic influence, educational, scientific, and cultural exchanges. China’s effort to portray its rise as “peaceful” allows it to explore strategically focused relations without relying on military power, an approach that enhances Beijing’s global stature. Funding the construction of the $200 million AU headquarters as a “gift to Africa from China” is one practical example of how Chinese soft power is employed in support of strategic objectives. The architect of this concept, Wang Huning, has advised all Chinese leaders since Jiang Zemin, and he has been tapped to join the Politburo Standing Committee, China’s highest leadership organ.
China’s engagement with Africa is a critical element in an evolving global strategy that has at its core the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” This is part of a foreign policy that is highly competitive with other countries and that seeks to be adept at exploiting opportunities.


Khamenei warns against election unrest, George Soros

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, speaks on television after casting his ballot in the presidential election in Tehran, June 12, 2009.  (photo by REUTERS/Caren Firouz)
With less than 10 days to go before Iranians head to the polls to elect a president and city council members, the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, cautioned against political unrest.
“The issue of security and calm is very important for the country,” Khamenei said in a May 10 speech to graduates of the Imam Hussein military academy. He encouraged the judiciary, the police force and the Interior Ministry, which oversees elections, in their duty to safeguard the security of the country during the process.
Khamenei also had a few words to say about George Soros, the billionaire investor who has spent millions of dollars around the world to advance political causes. “That rich American Zionist who said that he toppled Georgia with $10 million started to think he could do the same to Iran in 2009,” Khamenei said. “If anyone wants to rise up against the security of the nation, they will encounter a firm reaction.”
Soros’ Open Society Institute had been instrumental in promoting organizations and training activists who spearheaded the 2003 Rose Revolution in Georgia following disputed legislative elections. In 2009 in Iran, Reformist candidates made allegations of fraud in that year’s presidential election. Their accusations, plus a widespread crackdown on journalists and activists, resulted in the emergence of the Green Movement.
Unlike the leaders of protest movements in Eastern Europe in the late 1980s and into the 2000s, however, Iranians at the forefront of the Green Movement did not call for toppling the government. Regardless, conservatives accused the movement and its leaders of working on behalf of foreign governments with the goal of regime change. It was then that Soros evolved into a notorious figure among conservative columnists.
Khamenei also warned the six candidates approved by the Guardian Council to contest the election to avoid stoking ethnic, regional or linguistic conflict and animosity during their campaigns. “It’s been many years that our enemies are working on these fault lines,” he said.
According to Khamenei, the “enemies of the Islamic Republic” have actively been trying to exploit such fault lines in Kurdistan, Balochistan and Sistan, Azerbaijan and Khouzestan provinces. Khamenei cautioned the candidates to be careful and not to make mistakes that might aid Iran’s enemies in furthering efforts “that they have done halfway and not been able to push forward.”
Khamenei did not refer to specific incidences, but Iran’s border regions, particularly in Balochistan and Sistan and Kurdistan, have experienced terrorist attacks against government officials and border security guards, who are mostly conscripts. The last such incident took place in April, when Sunni militants killed 10 border guards.
Tehran has in the past publicly expressed frustration with Pakistan for not monitoring its side of the border. On May 8, Mohammad Bagheri, head of Iran’s armed forces, warned that the military would strike terrorist cells inside Pakistan if the Pakistani government failed to stop their flow into Iran.
Meanwhile, Iran’s regional rival, Saudi Arabia, also recently caught Tehran’s attention with respect to its border region. In a May 2 interview, Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman accused Iran of wanting to attack Saudi Arabia and asserted, “We’ll work so that the battle for them is in Iran.” In response, Iran delivered a formal complaint to the United Nations. Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan was less diplomatic, stating on May 7 that if the Saudis take a war inside Iran, nowhere in Saudi Arabia would be safe, with the exception of the two holy cities of Mecca and Medina.


The ‘Whole World Now Has Evidence’ OSCE Behind ‘Greater Albania’ Project

Serbian Prime Minister and President-elect Aleksandar Vucic commented to Sputnik on the recent remarks of former head of the OSCE verification mission in Kosovo William Walker that he “has a project to unite Albanians,” saying that the ‘Greater Albania’ project was used as a pretext for NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia.

The whole world now has the evidence served on a platter that William Walker is a ‘Greater Albania lobbyist’, who, as the former head of the OSCE verification mission in Kosovo, lobbied for the implementation of this project,  Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic told Sputnik Serbia. Prime Minister Vucic, who was recently elected Serbia’s president, will be sworn in in June.
His comments follow the recent statement of William Walker, former head of the OSCE verification mission in Kosovo, that he has been working on a “project to unite Albanians.”
The Head of the Kosovo Verification Mission of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) William Walker answers reporter's question during a press conference at Vienna's Hofburg Palace, Moday, Jan. 25 1999
The Head of the Kosovo Verification Mission of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) William Walker answers reporter’s question during a press conference at Vienna’s Hofburg Palace, Moday, Jan. 25 1999
The American, who spoke during a ceremony in Pristina on Monday to mark the 17th anniversary of the founding of Ramush Haradinaj’s party, the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, noted that he has been coming to Kosovo often since 1999.
“This project that I’m working on is meant for all Albanians in Kosovo in the diaspora, in Albania. I’m working on a joint project for their unification. Albanians worldwide were united in the 1990s with the sole purpose of the liberation of Kosovo. I was with them when they declared independence. Albanians have won and they came here to celebrate together. Now is the time for the final step, for all of us to be together, to accomplish this achievement,” the local media quoted Walker as saying.
“Serbia will in every place and at every level present this as the ultimate proof that Walker’s goal was never to protect human rights in Kosovo but to fight against Serbia and for the creation of the ‘Greater Albania’,” Aleksandar Vucic told Sputnik.
This is an important piece of news that should be given attention beyond the everyday political level, the Serbian leader continued.
“We will continue to talk about Walker’s message. And we’ll do it at all levels, in Europe and in the world,” he added.
“William Walker was someone who represented a so-called ‘independent and objective mission’ of the OSCE, or at least that’s what they have been attempting to convince us. However, do not forget that the ‘Racak case’ was a fabrication used as the reason to start the war,” Vucic  told Sputnik.
“That was the reason, it was a pretext for war. It all started with William Walker’s lies. This is a man who now openly shows that he is in fact a Greater Albania lobbyist. This is the same man because of whom (NATO) carried out an aggression against the Republic of Serbia. This is the same man. This is a man who now stands for ‘Greater Albania’ and says so openly. He is no longer even hiding it,” Vucic said.
Walker is known for heading the OSCE “verification mission” in the province, whose activities and reports during 1998 and 1999 influenced public opinion abroad in favor of launching a war against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), which eventually happened in March 1999.
Earlier that year, the bodies of 45 Albanians were discovered in the Kosovan village of Racak. The Walker-led OSCE mission accused Serbian security forces of killing them without presenting any evidence — although it was never determined whether the victims were in fact civilians.
Reports coming from the Serbian side said that those were Albanian terrorists, members of the Kosovo Liberation Army. Nevertheless, it was this very ‘ Racak case’ which was qualified as a ‘crime against civilians’ and was used as a pretext to launch NATO’s bombing of Serbia. Later, many international experts reported that the case had been fabricated.
Aleksandar Vucic also pointed out that former Finnish President and UN envoy for Kosovo Martti Ahtisaari, who was also “brought in as an international mediator, who was supposed to be independent, who was supposed to offer an objective plan for resolving the problems between Serbs and Albanians, is now on Pristina’s Albanian team.
“This tells us that from the beginning, everything was directed not against (President) Slobodan Milosevic, or certainly, not only against him, but primarily against Serbia,” Vucic told Sputnik.
“Now, we have the key evidence for this. Now this is no longer our media’s reports. Now this is not a question of whether some of us are thinking it. They have offered this evidence themselves, provided it to the world on a platter,” he added.
“Well — does all this mean that in future we should once again trust some supposedly objective international organizations, whose representatives will, in the most direct and blatant way, advocate a ‘Greater Albania’?” Vucic asked. He noted that “their statements were the casus belli for the most direct attack on the Republic of Serbia.”
Vucic does not think that his country will be able to “turn things back” soon and “make the US and 23 EU countries revoke their recognition of Kosovo” — but he thinks that “a great diplomatic struggle continues.”
“Now we have important proof. If you look back, all the greatest battles and not only battles, but wars had been won by those who had the morals on their side. And now everything has become clear to everyone. Walker’s confession is very important, and we should keep talking about it. The whole world is now aware that from the very beginning they had this plan for a ‘Greater Albania’ and were not fighting against any particular regime. They had invented it to be able to attack Serbia and grab part of its territory,” Vucic concluded.
Meanwhile on Wednesday, Belgrade said it will appeal to the UN over Walker’s statement.
The local media reported that Serbian Justice Minister Nela Kuburovic said that she will inform the UN member states about “the disgraceful role of the creator of the Racak case” that was used to launch NATO’s 1999 aggression against Serbia – who is now an Albanian lobbyist and one of the authors of a plan to change the borders in the Balkans.
Jadranka Jankovic, who is in charge of EU integration, confirmed this for RTS.
“Of course. We should turn to (the UN). The “Greater Albania’ project is not only Serbia’s problem. It includes the territory of several countries in the Balkans, and I think all of us need to be concerned,” Jankovic said.
According to her, Walker’s statement is proof that the Greater Albania project is not merely flirted with at election time, but is instead “something that exists.”
“I think we have good, extra arguments in our hands to show to the EU,” Jankovic said.
Commenting on the above statements, Slavka Kojic, Serbian expert on international legal activity, told Sputnik that Walker’s remarks come as a serious blow to the international order based on the UN charter and an urged for re-consideration of borders of the UN member states.
She added that she is convinced that Walker has been speaking on his own behalf and not on behalf of any state or any international entity, however his remark is not any less dangerous.
Meanwhile, well-known Serbian lawyer Branislav Tapuskovic noted that Walker has voiced what Serbia has been long trying to prove in the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.
“He revealed that it was the plan backed by the international community. However it can be implemented only forcibly, as the non-Albanian residents of the countries which fall within the so-called ‘Greater Albania’ – Macedonia, Montenegro, Greece and self-proclaimed Kosovo – will defend their lives and property. Nobody had ever bore any responsibility for such calls and Walker’s remarks won’t be an exception,” he finally stated.