Two steps forward in the western Balkans

first_imgThat could still happen and even a brief closure of the borders, on any pretext, could do much economic damage in the region and raise tensions. It must be hoped that tension in Montenegro will stay under control and Belgrade will accept the reality. Then, in some weeks’ time, when the cement of this last layer of security hardens, the Balkans might just be a bit safer than it was before. Risto Karajkov is a doctoral student at the University of Bologna. The Balkans is likely to be a bit safer following Montenegro’s and Macedonia’s co-ordinated recognition of Kosovo on 9 October. The move followed resolutions adopted by the national parliaments of both countries recommending the step.  Their decision came only a day after a vote in the United Nations General Assembly approved a proposal from Serbia that opened the way for a review of the legality of Kosovo’s independence by the International Court of Justice (ICJ). The Serbian government promptly expelled Macedonia’s and Montenegro’s ambassadors – a move to which it had not resorted in response to earlier recognitions from countries in the region. Kosovo has yet to be recognised by around 140 countries in the world (22 EU member states have recognised it so far) and almost all of them could do so with less political risk than Macedonia and Montenegro. Both countries border Kosovo and Serbia. Yet, the US, which ‘encouraged’ and co-ordinated the recognition, insisted on having the process completed in the closest neighbourhood first. Kosovo is now recognised by all of its neighbours minus Serbia, which considers it an integral part of its territory. This is good, but in the mid-term it would make sense only if the vast majority of countries in the world were also to proceed with recognition. The move was definitely more painful for Montenegro, which has much stronger historic ties with Serbia, and a big part – between 30-40% – of its population who feel Serbian. Tensions persist too in Montenegro following the recognition, where protesters have already clashed with the police. Macedonia by many accounts did not have much choice. In addition to persuasion by the US, it had to take into account the wishes of its sizeable Albanian community, which insisted on recognition. The move definitely eased relations between Skopje and Pristina. In the preceding weeks they had finally demarcated their common border, which was a condition for recognition of Kosovo’s statehood. The unmarked border has been a recurrent source of tension in the past. The recognition should further relax relations between Macedonians and Albanians and will probably help trade. While Serbia was very angry, Skopje’s move was in part based on the assumption that Belgrade would not respond with drastic measures, primarily of an economic nature. last_img read more

Kings’ Buddy Hield frustrated with contract talks: ‘I don’t know if things are going to get done’

first_img“I see it like an insult,” Hield said, via The Sacramento Bee. “I feel like I’m worth more than that. If you say I’m your guy and you want to build around me, I just need you to show it. Actions speak louder than words. If you’re just talking and not showing nothing, I’m not going to respect it. I love playing here. I want to be here. This is my home. I’m trying to buy a house here, but everything is on stall mode because I don’t know if they’ll really commit to me.”Buddy Hield speaks openly about his ongoing contract negotiations with the Sacramento Kings pic.twitter.com/fBTyuw9qjZ— Sports 1140 KHTK (@Sports1140KHTK) October 17, 2019Acoording to Yahoo! Sports, the 26-year-old is seeking a four-year deal worth $110 million. If the two sides can’t come to an agreement by Monday’s deadline, then Hield will become a restricted free agent this offseason. Related News Bradley Beal signs 2-year extension with Wizards “I don’t know if things are going to get done,” Hield said. “If it don’t get done, me and my team will look for something else — probably another home. Until then, we’ll see if they really want me here. That’s the goal, to be here.”I love Sacramento, but if they don’t want me here, if they don’t feel like I’m part of the core … I want to be here. If they don’t want me here, find somewhere else to be.”Hield arrived in Sacramento from New Orleans in February 2017 as part of the DeMarcus Cousins trade. The Oklahoma product has flourished with the Kings, shooting 42 percent from 3-point range and averaging 17.1 points per game over the last two seasons.Kings coach Luke Walton was even asked about the stalled negotiations and said he understands where Hield is coming from.“I know it’s real,” Walton said. “I’ve gone through it as a player and you overanalyze. I, as a player, overanalyzed things at times during free-agent years …  as a player, there’s always family, there’s always something going on, a human element that is important and we are aware of as a group, and we support each other as a group. “So teammates and coaches, we have each other’s back, and contracts are one of those things.”As far as his relationship with the Kings, Hield says it hasn’t been negatively impacted by the contract talks.“I’m cool with everybody,” he said. “They’ve just got to make something happen before the deadline. I have people I need to take care of. If they don’t trust me or they don’t believe in me, then I might be able to move on and try another option.” The Kings and Buddy Hield are in the midst of contract negotiations, and with Monday’s rookie-scale extension deadline looming, it seems the two sides aren’t exactly seeing eye to eye.After the Sacramento’s 124-110 preseason win over Melbourne United on Wednesday, Hield spoke with reporters about the Kings’ recent offer of a four-year, $90 million exentsion. Bogdan Bogdanovic weighing Kings’ 4-year, $51.4M max offer, he says 76ers’ Ben Simmons explains his mindset around improving his shootinglast_img read more