Conversations with Milosevic

Conversations with Milosevic

Thursday, 17 November 2016 - 5:30pm
Venue: 
Seminar Room, European Studies Centre, 70 Woodstock Road, Oxford OX2 6HR
Speaker(s): 
Ivor Roberts (Trinity College, Oxford)
Chair: 
David Madden (St Antony's College, Oxford)
Convenor: 
Othon Anastasakis (St Antony’s College, Oxford)
Series: 
SEESOX

Conversations with Milošević is a firsthand portrayal of the so-called Butcher of the Balkans, the Serbian president whose ambitions sparked the Bosnian conflict. At its heart the book is a portrait of an autocrat who rode the tiger of nationalism to serve his own ends and to promote those who furthered his agenda. The architect of ethnic cleansing in modern Europe, Slobodan Milošević created and sponsored two Frankenstein’s monsters, Ratko Mladić and Radovan Karadžić, who were also indicted for war crimes.
Through these personalities, diplomat and political advisor Ivor Roberts analyzes the unfolding of the Kosovo conflict, which directly sowed the seeds of radicalization in Europe today. He contends that this conflict later provided a false template for the Bush/Blair administrations’ illegal invasion of Iraq: regime change under the guise of a humanitarian war. He further investigates how international recognition of Kosovo in the years after the conflict in breach of United Nations Security Council resolutions set a disastrous precedent for the Russian annexation of Crimea.

After reading Modern Languages at Keble College Oxford, Sir Ivor joined the British Diplomatic Service. In the course of the next 38 years, he was posted to Lebanon to study Arabic and then to Paris as a Third Secretary. He was subsequently posted to Canberra where, after working as a First Secretary in the political section, he was transferred to the newly independent Vanuatu (formerly the New Hebrides) as Political Advisor during a civil war. Sir Ivor returned to Canberra to become Head of the Economic and Commercial Section and Agricultural Advisor. On return to London, he became Deputy Head of the Foreign Office’s Press Department and later Head of Counter-Terrorism. A posting as Minister in the Embassy in Madrid followed. Thereafter Sir Ivor became Chargé d’Affaires and later Ambassador at Belgrade during the Bosnian civil war and the descent into war in Kosovo. Sor Ivor's penultimate posting was to Dublin as Ambassador, immediately following the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. He was then posted to Rome as Ambassador to Italy, a post he held till his retirement from the Diplomatic Service in 2006. The same year, he returned to Oxford on his election as President of Trinity College.