Year 2000 No. 155, September 20, 2000
Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :
Further Threats and Provocations Against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
News In Brief: Ex-Steel Town of Consett Facing Further Health Cuts
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It has been announced that 600 extra British troops are to be sent to boost the international force occupying Kosova in the run up to the Yugoslav presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for 24 September. In the election Yugoslav President, Slobadan Milosevic, is running for a second four-year term of office.
The British troops, scheduled to stay in Kosova for two months, are part of a general military build up in the region where, it is reported, there is also a significant increase in US armed forces with the deployment of the aircraft carrier Eisenhower and other ships in the Adriatic. According to Ministry of Defence sources British troops are being deployed to deal with any eventuality.
Britain, the US and the other big powers have not only occupied Kosova, through the auspices of the UN, but are also intent on ousting Milosevic from power, so as to completely dominate the Balkan region and south east Europe. The UN administration has refused to help organise the Yugoslav polls in Kosova, calling them a farce and a provocation. The EU for its part has launched its own provocation by allowing duty-free access to its markets for exports from Albania and all the former Yugoslav republics, except Serbia. This trade package is also available for Montenegro, still nominally within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and for Kosova.
This week the General Secretariat of the Council of Europe took the unprecedented step of appealing directly to the people of Serbia to vote against President Milosevic in next Sundays elections. The EU statement announced that A choice, leading to a democratic change, would lead to a radical modification of the European Unions policy towards Serbia. The statement made clear that if those opposed to Milosevic won the elections, the European Union would then end the sanctions imposed on Serbia last year, which include embargoes on oil and financial transactions. The EU has already taken measures to channel aid to those towns in Serbia where the opposition to Milosevic is strong. The EU statement also promises Serbia economic aid for its reconstruction and encourages it to draw closer to the European Union. At the meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels earlier this week there were also discussions concerning what measures would be taken if Milosevic remained in power.
These events show that the aim of big powers to dominate the entire Balkan region did not end with the bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the occupation of Kosova. The current bullying and provocations by Britain, the US and the EU come in the wake of their strenuous efforts to completely isolate Serbia and threats that there may also be attempts to oust the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia from the UN. But the current actions of the big powers also show that the contention between the US and the EU in this region remains intense as both seek to dominate this part of Europe in the wake of the collapse of the bi-polar division of the world and the old spheres of influence. The geo-political truth for the big powers is that the control of Europe is a precondition for their contention for global hegemony.
The ex-steel Town of Consett, in County Durham, is to lose one of its two ambulances at the same time that the opening hours of the nearby Minor Injury Unit at Shotley Bridge Hospital are to be reduced. The North East Ambulance Service have announced plans to scale down ambulance coverage in Consett in spite of assurances in 1996 when Shotley Bridge A&E Department was closed that two ambulances would remain in Consett to take patients to the A&E Department at Dryburn Hospital in Durham, a distance of about 13 miles. The North Durham Health Care NHS Trust is also to reduce the opening hours at the Minor Injuries Department at Shotley Bridge Hospital so that the unit will close at 8.30pm instead of midnight. The Trust claims a reduction in the numbers using the unit and it will save them £50,000 per year. It is reported that community leaders and people in the town are to fight the cuts.
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