|ATHENS, Wednesday, April 26, 2000
By G.G. de LASTIC
The conference in Athens of Serb opposition groups marks a dangerous development in the PASOK government's policy toward the Yugoslav issue. The Foreign Ministry's clear political support for the forces aiming to overthrow President Slobodan Milosevic introduces a policy of intervention in the domestic affairs of our neighboring country, thereby creating an extremely destabilizing precedent for a region such as the Balkans. "Foreign Minister George Papandreou will be with you tomorrow in order to listen to you and, above all do whatever it takes to help you achieve your aim" - in other words, to overthrow Milosevic - Alex Rondos, Papandreou's aide on humanitarian issues and Kosovo, told the representatives of Serb opposition groups, revealing the government's new aims. "The meeting with Foreign Minister George Papandreou was particularly important as it constitutes a clear message to Milosevic," said Zoran Djindjic, head of the Democratic Party. "We have the support of the Greek government," said Orthodox Bishop Artemije on the radio after his meeting with Papandreou.
Furthermore, James Dobbins, special adviser to U.S. President Bill Clinton on Bosnia and Kosovo, revealed that a month ago he was visited in Washington by Rondos, "who informed me about this Athens meeting and urged me to seize the opportunity and meet the Serb opposition groups in Athens."
Despite its radical nature, this change in the policy of the Greek government should be taken as a fact. Even so, the soundness of this new line should be questioned. The openly pro-NATO bias displayed by the Serb opposition, in a country which fell victim to the U.S.-led NATO military campaign, is not an asset. NATO killed thousands of people, destroyed Serbia's economy, and now its soldiers illegally occupy part of its territory. In the name of what principle does Prime Minister Costas Simitis's government side with political groups that represent Serbia's cooperation with its invaders? It is one thing if the Greek government had accepted such a choice made by the Serb population, but quite another to participate in the effort to impose such a government on the Serbs.