Opinion / Balkans, former Yugoslavia

Negotiating with North Korea

I’ve written here previously about the issues of negotiating with North Korea. See eg this. Or this. Things have moved on. President Trump appears to be keen not be seen as ‘diplomatic’ as President Obama. Can containable military action be taken against North Korea to stop it developing nuclear weapons? […]

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Serbia Kangaroo Party

It seems that I have never here satisfactorily explained why exactly (and how) I produced a wallaby at a reception in Belgrade when I was Ambassador there. Basically, Foster’s Lager looks mighty Australian, but it is also in its European form a fine UK export. So when they wanted to […]

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Why Must Assad Go?

Nigel Farage poses an interesting question: if Syria’s President Assad ‘goes’, who or what replaces him? Could the next Syria leader or ensuing chaos be even worse than what we have now? This takes us straight to our old friend Bad Leaders: Other Bad Leaders, such as Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, […]

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Trump v Putin: Negotiation in Action

Yesterday’s meetings in Moscow between US Secretary of State Tillerson and President Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov were a front-rank example of top diplomacy in action, the more so as while that was happening intense discussions continued at the UN over a new (doomed) Syria UNSC resolution that Russia duly […]

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Interfering Ambassadors

Trump! Russians! Russian ambassador! Trump! In all this hubbub about who did or did not ‘meet the Russian ambassador’ in Washington and when and why, let’s look at what diplomats actually do before an election in a country to which they’re posted. When an election looms, diplomats get a little […]

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Russia and Montenegro: What’s Ours?

My latest piece for the Telegraph (££) opines on the startling news that Russian intelligence agents have been found to be implicated in a plot to kill former Montenegro Prime Minister Milo Djukanović last year: The Kremlin has strongly denied any involvement, and the Montenegrin special prosecutor has publically stopped […]

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Balkan Borders (2)

What about the ideas raised by Sir Ivor Roberts for Serbia/Kosovo land-swaps? How to start analysing this? Some considerations as I consider them. First, the ‘international community’ simply does not care where Balkan borders (to be precise here, the borders between former republics and autonomous provinces of the dead Yugoslavia) […]

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Balkan Borders (1)

Here is my former colleague (ex-ambassador to Belgrade, Dublin and Rome) Sir Ivor Roberts opining on Balkan borders: Sir Ivor said that while multi-ethnic states might be the ideal, in practice the exchange of the Presevo Valley in Serbia for land in Kosovo north of the river Ibar might be […]

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Serbia – Enough!

The end of 2016 saw more absurd nonsense in the Serbia media – about ME and my non-existent role in the assassination in 2003 of Zoran Djindjić and its aftermath. First, former Prime Minister Zoran Živkovič accused me of lobbying in all directions for Nebojša Čović to become the new […]

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FCO Remembers 2016

Back to the Foreign Office for the annual Memorial gathering to remember colleagues who fell in the line of duty. 2015 here. This year Boris Johnson led the ceremony at the foot of the Grand Staircase for his first time. He gave a nicely worked speech – he has a […]

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