Milosevic vows to prevent new YU break-up
BELGRADE, May 22, 2000 -- (Reuters) President Slobodan Milosevic has vowed that Yugoslavia, made up of Serbia and pro-Western Montenegro, will remain intact and denounced those he said wanted to break it up, a pro-government daily said on Saturday.
The daily Politika quoted Milosevic as telling his Socialists and the Socialist People's Party in Montenegro that the two parties were fighting to preserve values such as independence and the pursuit of peace.
"We will succeed in the defense of these values despite the concerted actions of Yugoslavia's enemies, from outside and from within, aimed at breaking up the country through armed, media and other aggression, terrorism, sanctions, treachery, domestic servants and other pressures," Milosevic said.
Montenegro, headed by President Milo Djukanovic, has been pulling away from Serbia and threatening to break away altogether unless its demands of reform of the joint federation are met.
Milosevic's comments came amid opposition-led street protests against the government's seizure of Studio B, the most influential non-government television station.
The seizure of Studio B was the harshest crackdown on non-government media by leftist nationalist authorities under Milosevic, who is isolated internationally as a U.N.-indicted war criminal for his policies in Kosovo.
Serbian ruling parties, which include the Yugoslav Left of Milosevic's wife Mira Markovic and the ultra-nationalist Radicals, have branded opposition parties and media as Western servants who carry out orders to destabilize the country.
They have accused Studio B television of calling for insurrection, accusations the station has rejected. Studio B is run by Belgrade city hall currently controlled by Serbia's biggest opposition party - the Serbian Renewal Movement.
Milosevic said that the policy of his Socialist party and the Socialists of Montenegro expressed the interest of the majority of Serbs and Montenegrins to live in a joint state.
"Hundreds of thousands of members of these parties are consistently fighting for the pursuit of a policy of peace, equality of citizens and people...independence and successful economic and cultural development of our country," he said.