Balkan Strategic Studies

January 31, 1994

Hungary Ready to Re-open Belgrade Tie?

Sources in Budapest indicated in late January 1994 that Hungary was preparing to re-establish diplomatic and trade ties with Yugoslavia, thereby breaking the United Nations-sponsored isolation of the Yugoslav state. The move flies in the face of apparent continued media hostility toward Yugoslavia in most Western states, but reflects an underlying strategic reality. That reality is that Croatia, which is strategically linked with Germany and Hungary, has "made its peace" with Yugoslavia, which has made it clear that it recognizes and accepts Croatia's secession from the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY). That secession precipitated the break-up of the SFRY and led to the creation of the rump Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

The quiet rapprochement, which will probably include an eventual exchange of land so that borders reflect the realities of Croatian and Serbian populations on the ground, effectively means that the Serbs of Yugoslavia agree to suppress any calls for revenge for the massive Croatian butchery of Serbs following the mid-1991 eruption of fighting after Croatia's announcement of secession.

This is a major step toward stability. The Serbian population of Yugoslavia basically created the peace following World War II by agreeing to "forget", or not discuss, the Croatian massacre of almost 1-million Serbs when Croatia had its "independence" as a puppet state of (then) nazi Germany. [See Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy, 12/1992.] Slovenia, which also seceded from the SFRY in 1991, is also keen to see a rapprochement with the FRY, and it is believed that Italy would also support such a situation.