Future of Montenegro in FRYWho Forgot Milosevic?
TUE, 25 JAN 2000
Podgorica, 17 January, 2000 - What clearly and unambiguously has never been uttered by a single opposition leader in Serbia, nor by a single Western political leader when the right of Montenegro to freely choose its way is concerned - was stated by president of FRY Slobodan Milosevic. In his interview for the New Year issue of Politika, among other, he said: "The best solution for Montenegro is the one which suits the Montenegrin people. If Montenegrin people think that life outside Yugoslavia would be better for them, then they are entitled to choose that life. And the other way round".
He did not stop there: "Living together is nice and easy for those who wish to live together, but it is difficult and ugly for those who live together against their will, such life is not only neither easy nor nice, but has no future". This is not the first time Milosevic has done it either. Not long ago, from one of his reconstructing excursions, president of FRY sent word to Montenegro that in harmony with its Slav soul and European aspirations it should determine what it should do and in what way. This passed quietly, interpreted in Montenegro rather as a pompous figure of speech. This time Milosevic was more specific, more provocative. Vojislav Seselj immediately added to the dramatic plot with his statement that the formal president of FRY just "stated his personal opinion and that secession of Montenegro is out of the question".
The question is not exactly new: is Slobodan Milosevic preparing a shield for stirring up a new war, more terrible and more bloody than all the previous ones, or has he decided to reorganised his domain, to make it easier for him to rule - Montenegro is not worth the bother. Days and weeks have gone by and judging by the few words said on the occasion, Montenegrin forces in power were caught unprepared by the statement of the president of FRY. Leader of the Peopleís Party and deputy prime minister of Montenegro Dr Novak Kilibarda, advised caution: "Whenever Milosevic recommended peace a bloody tempest started spinning on a part of the territory of former Yugoslavia. This statement of his should be believed only if he criticises the declaration of Vojislav Seselj that with Montenegro one should speak in the language of arms if it dares plan its own state destiny". Leader of SDP, Zarko Rakcevic, also reminded of the past days: "Experience imposes that we be cautious and wise. But there are indications that Milosevic would actually go along the will of the citizens of Montenegro and be prepared for a peaceful divorce of the obviously unsuccessful marriage between Montenegro and Serbia".
It was expected with special attention what the reaction of the leadership of the Socialist Peopleís Party and the Democratic Party of Socialists would be like. The task to pacify the situation created by Milosevicís interview was shouldered by the vice president of SNP Predrag Bulatovic. He said he knew that: "From the standpoint of SNP, this is something we have known for a long time and something we respect our coalition partner for. They respect Montenegro, the Montenegrin people, our history, our tradition, as well as the statehood of Montenegro. They respect and esteem the right of the citizens of Montenegro to decide on their own in what kind of state they wish to live". Sometimes, politics is the skill of forgetfulness - not long ago Momir Bulatovic declared that a referendum would mean - war. When statements of Momir Bulatovic and Slobodan Milosevic are put side by side, that of the former president of Montenegro resembles something like a stray bullet.
Miodrag Vukovic, president of the executive board and advisor of president Djukanovic reacted in the name of DPS. It is interesting that much more than Milosevicís statement, he was engrossed by Seselj - his past and present activity as Serb chauvinist opponent to the civic state, destroyer of FRY and similar. In connection with Milosevicís interview Vukovic offered two quite opposed assessments. He noted in Vijesti that it was "good that Milosevic finally realised that Montenegro could not be in either his or anyone elseís hands, but in the hands of its citizens". Three days later in Pobjeda, he looked upon the situation as follows: "It is possible that this is just continuation of a ten-year long manipulation, that Milosevic is saying one thing meaning something else which is being carried put by all his Seseljs". Neither president of Montenegro Milo Djukanovic nor chairman of the assembly Svetozar Marovic have on any occasion even mentioned the thought uttered by Slobodan Milosevic on the eve of the holidays.
Everything is all right with the statements of officials in Montenegro - except the essence. It is wise to be cautious when Slobodan Milosevic has sudden fits of generosity. The problem is of a different nature - never has so clearly word been sent to Montenegrin public from the centres of power in Montenegro: "Where people are forced to live together, life has no future". Instead, Montenegrin public was informed that, thank God, economic sovereignty was won, so Montenegrin citizens could patiently wait and figure it out who is preventing their authorities to make their glorious dreams about building a better life come true. Never has from the centre of Montenegrin political power information arrived to the international community that FRY was created by force and that ever since its birth to this day it has born the stamp of fraud, crime and fear. Montenegrin state leadership has never seriously attempted to get support of the international community for what Milosevic is talking about. That is why Milosevic has the lead nowadays: if he is mocking he knows exactly why he can mock - both the world and the ruling team in Montenegro.
This is how Miroslav Vickovic, president of the Liberal League, sees the current position of Montenegrin authorities: "It seems that Milosevicís statement put Djukanovic and his Socialists in a stalemate position. Responsibility for (un)scheduled referendum on state status of Montenegro has been shifted to them and Djukanovicís main western mentor whose current political interest is preservation of FRY and its revitalisation headed by Djukanovic and the Serbian opposition".
There is founded reason to doubt that president of FRY - whether intentionally or not - has sabotaged the very logic pursuant which DPS and SNP operate. For two years already Djukanovic is keeping Montenegro lined up behind him binding them with fear of the couple from Dedinje. Milosevic has aimed where he believed he was the strongest. Now Djukanovic is expected to respond. The point is that an effective response of Montenegrin leadership cannot be verbal but practical. That is the reason for silence. On the other hand, Predrag Bulatovic has made a beautiful wreath for Milosevic, for his respect of Montenegrin tradition, for his appreciation of its statehood and the will of its citizens. But even he is not omnipotent.
After the poetic inspiration, a logical prosaic question arises - will not SNP equally respect the will of Montenegro expressed in free and fair referendum on its state status. There is another purely technical question - how can the statement of Slobodan Milosevic be co-ordinated with the conclusions of tribal gatherings and preserve the fatherland ardour so that it is not eroded by suspicion. That is how the unprecedented miracle can be explained: Dan, the newspaper of Socialist Peopleís Party, censored the president of FRY himself. In its carrying of Milosevicís interview, the editorial team of Dan heroically skipped everything he had said about Montenegro and its right to choose its way according to its own will.
Nobody has seriously discussed what would suit Milosevic the best when Montenegro is concerned. An enormous obstacle is standing at the very beginning: it is difficult to rationally understand the sense of something so irrational as operation of Milosevicís political will. It would be as if somebody had tried to logically prove the sinless conception. It is evident for the time being: the most concern that Milosevic could "banish" Montenegro is manifested by the opposition circles in Belgrade. On the occasion of Milosevicís interview to Politika Mladjan Dinkic, leader of G17 and Ivan Kovacevic, spokesman of SPO expressed anxiety. Along with the anxiety of Serbian opposition there is also the hope that Montenegrin leadership will not rush to secession, but rather be patient until they crush Milosevic. In that case, FRY - will be saved. And Montenegrin statehood issue will be eliminated.
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