The pro-Milosevic institutions in Serbia are trying to block any initiatives taken by President Kostunica. The latest confrontation is for the control of the 120,000-strong police force. Milosevic supporter Miko Marjanovic, the Serbian Prime Minister, assumed responsibility for of the Interior Ministry, controlling the police force. He also stated that the agreement to dissolve the parliament was illegal, even though this had been formally accepted by Serbian President Milan Milutinovic. What must be remembered is that Yugoslavia is a Federal State of two nations, Serbia and Montenegro. Each one has its own President, Prime Minister and government and there is a Federal President, Prime Minister and government above them. The Democratic Opposition of Serbia demands four ministries : those of the Interior, Justice, Finance and Information. Zoran Djindic, a leader of the DOS, stated that these ministries would be managed by a collective team until the general elections of December. This would constitute a form of interim transition government. Another area of conflict between the two factions is the large state-owned companies. Directors have already started to be replaced (in Tanjug, the Yugoslav news agency, the direction changed in 24 hours) but the pro-Milosevic government in Serbia accuses any changes of policy or personnel as being illegal. The worst thing that could happen in Serbia today is a civil war but this is so improbable that is it virtually impossible. Serbs want to have a normal life, without conflict or war and aim to enjoy their right to live in the international community like everyone else. Whoever controls the police force, one thing is certain : they will not shoot fellow Serbs. The situation in Montenegro is different, however. The Federal Army in Montenegro is loyal to Serbia but there are 30,000 well-trained forces called the VJP, a special police force, trained with money from “the west”, according to sources in Podgorica. This could account for some of the 77 million USD the US State Department claimed to have spent on computers and fax machines for the Democratic Opposition of Serbia to fight their election campaign. Most Montenegrins living in this republic favour independence from the Federation. Nevertheless, there are more Montenegrins living in Serbia than in Montenegro itself and these are Federal supporters. Like everywhere else in the Balkans, there are deep divisions. In this part of the world, wherever there is not good will and an atmosphere of consensus, there is discord and conflict.

Tim Bancroft-Hinchey Correspondent of PRAVDA.Ru Lissabon

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