“The Western Balkans have an urgent need for economic development and the rule of law, and the US should play a more active role in achieving this goal, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander, Wesley Clark, told N1 in an interview.

‘I think there is not much of a chance for a conflict, but I think there are outside powers who are causing stresses, and what we know from history is that Bosnia and the Western Balkans are very fragile,” Clark said, explaining that people in the region have long memories and that, since there was a lot of bloodshed and violence, “tempers can fray very quickly and angry words or hostile gestures can lead to conflict faster in the Balkans probably than anywhere else in the world.’

Some of the ‘outside forces’ present in the Balkans are Russia, Turkey and China, Clark said.

‘When foreign leaders run their campaign in other countries, it raises tensions. Turkey and Russia are competing in the Balkans,’ he said, adding that this is not only happening in Bosnia, but also in countries like Bulgaria and Romania.

‘Then China comes with investment funds, don’t be surprised it those come with conditions. When you bring in Chinese money, you bring in Chinese influence,’ he said.

Clark described the Balkans as a place where civilizations have been in conflict throughout history.” (Full Interview at N1)