Conversations with Milosevic

Ivor Roberts

Inside the nightmare world and personalities of the Balkan wars of the 1990s by a diplomat with unparalleled access


“This is not only a truly valuable addition to the literature on the breakup of Yugoslavia, it is also an incredibly interesting read. Sir Ivor Roberts was one of the few Western officials with sustained close-up interaction with Milošević, as well as with other leading Serbian and international personalities involved at the time. It is a fascinating account of Roberts’s time in Belgrade, full of anecdotes and character portraits.”
—James Ker-Lindsay, Eurobank Senior Research Fellow on the Politics of Southeast Europe, London School of Economics

“This intriguing and informative book will serve not only as an explanation of why Yugoslavia disintegrated, and why it did so with such violence, but it will also open areas of debate on those processes which will be of interest and value to historians, as well as students of politics and international relations.”
—Richard Crampton, Emeritus Professor of East European History, St. Edmunds Hall, University of Oxford

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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.

Page count: 248 pp.
6 maps
Trim size: 6 x 9


List price: $32.95

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Sir Ivor Roberts was the president of Trinity College, University of Oxford, 2006-2017. He worked in the British Diplomatic Service for nearly forty years. Among his many accomplishments as a diplomat he served as Deputy Head of the Foreign Office’s Press Department and later its Head of Counter-Terrorism. He served as the British Ambassador at Belgrade during the Bosnian civil war and the descent into war in Kosovo. He was posted as Ambassador to Ireland, immediately following the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. After serving as Ambassador to Italy, Roberts retired from the Diplomatic Service in 2006 he served as Chairman of the British School of Archaeology and Fine Arts at Rome from 2007 to 2012 and is Chair of the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association.