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The Return of the Great Powers
On the surface, the situation in the Balkans may look rather optimistic at the moment: the Croats and Muslims have ceased fighting; some sense of normality has been restored to Sarajevo; and the crisis around Gorazde has been defused. In a broader context of European security, however, it has rarely looked more threatening. After Gorazde and Sarajevo, rival mobilizations at Brcko launched another spiral of threats and counter-threats. The un has warned all three sides not to provoke trouble but even if confrontation at Brcko is contained, other potential flashpoints could precipitate a wider conflict. Offensives and counter-offensives may begin. In the middle of this is a small Contact Group comprising mid-ranking diplomats from the us, France, Britain and Russia who, divided amongst themselves, are trying to persuade the Serbs and Muslims to cut a deal on a ceasefire. This is a remote prospect indeed.
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