As it was expected, the history of Yugoslavia’s existence has approached its logical conclusion. No state with this name exists any longer. The leaders of Serbia and Montenegro have come to an agreement to substitute the Republic of Yugoslavia with a new political alliance. Serbia’s Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic says that the new state will be probably called “Serbia and Montenegro." The parties reached an agreement early on March 14. EU High Commissioner for foreign policy and security Javier Solana was an active participant of the talks between the leaders of the two countries. This is because the EU leadership was alarmed by the plans of Montenegrin authorities to create an independent state. Such a move would cause Albanian nationalists to review the present-day borders of Kosovo and Macedonia.
Yugoslavian President Voislav Kostunica says that the new state will not be in a form of a confederation or free federation, “it is going to be a new, non-traditional solution that is to open a new chapter in the relations between Serbia and Montenegro.” The post of a single president, as well as one vote in the UN, will be preserved. Zoran Djindjic says, the two republics will have joint defense and foreign policies, but they will have separate economies, currencies, and customs. In Kostunica’s words, the new agreement has been agreed to by Serbia, Montenegro, for the Balkan region, and Europe on the whole.
This looks like kind of a hybrid. The parliaments of both republics will have to consider and approve the agreement. No problems are likely to arise in Montenegro, but Serbian followers of Milosevic will look at the agreement skeptically.
On the other hand, there is only one possible way out. Montenegrin leadership, President Milo Djukanovic especially, have been wishing to proclaim the republic’s independence for a long period already. An armed conflict between Serbia and Montenegro was about to occur because of this issude during Milosevic’s presidency. The parties managed to avoid the worst development of the events.
Even after the election of Voislav Kostunica to the presidential post in Yugoslavia and the delivery of Slobodan Milosevic to the Hague Tribunal, the Montenegrin authorities would not give up the idea of an referendum for independence. The republic’s leadership expected that such a move would help with incorporation into the EU and the settlement of economic problems. To be honest, not all Montenegrins support the independence idea. About a half of the population disapproved of the withdrawal from Yugoslavia’s structure. Nevertheless, now, supporters of Yugoslavia’s preservation realize perfectly well that the biggest country in the Balkans has stopped its existence.
It is hard to say how long the new formation will survive. The Montenegrin leadership seems to be satisfied so far. What is to come next? The people will probably like to have an army of its own and an independent foreign policy.
Probably, one more reason exists for the creation of the new state: the word “Yugoslavia” is associated with the name Slobodan Milosevic for the majority of people. Newly-elected leaders Kostunica, Djindjic, and Djukanovic dislike the fact. It is clear now that the joint state of Balkan Slavs has stopped its existence as of now. Will it revive once again? If yes, in what way?
Oleg Artyukov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
Read the original in Russian: http://www.pravda.ru/main/2002/03/14/38227.html