Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Montenegro is no one's junior partner by Milo Djukanovic in The Financial Times

The bloody collapse of Yugoslavia shamed Europe. But those of us who live in the Balkans know particularly well that dismantling that artificial state involved a series of murderous ethnic and religious wars and cost at least 100,000 lives, while hundreds of thousands had to flee their homes. This is not to mention the physical devastation. Such appalling and widespread massacres and ethnic cleansing Europe had not seen since the defeat of Nazism.

There is, however, one positive story from those dreadful years. It involves my own small but fiercely proud multi-ethnic country, Montenegro, which was wiped off the map by the Allies after the first world war and forced to become part of the kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, which was renamed Yugoslavia. Before that, Montenegro had taken pride in its 1,000-year history and its freedom-loving spirit, the only nation in the region not to have succumbed to Turkish rule during the Ottoman empire.

But today our inspiration for restoring statehood is not derived solely from national and historic sentiments. It is about the future. We want to take charge of our - European - destiny.

We Montenegrins, who hope to reclaim our national sovereignty and independence in a referendum this month and then accelerate accession talks with the European Union, have more recent reasons to be proud. We are the only one of the six former Yugoslav republics in which there was no war at the time of Yugoslavia's disintegration. Uniquely, we defied the evil that swept across Yugoslavia in the 1990s and stood up for all that is best in European culture. Our mixed population - Montenegrins, Serbs, Bosniaks, Muslims, Albanians and Croats - stood together throughout the horrors. We refused to join the madness and slaughter each other. We took in wave after wave of refugees from the killing fields across our borders, regardless of their ethnic or religious background. At times, refugees accounted for more than 20 per cent of our population.

You might have thought the EU would hold Montenegro up as an example to the region. Instead, it sometimes seems Montenegro is being punished by the rest of Europe for its generosity and self-restraint. When the wars ended, my country was the only one of the Yugoslav republics (Kosovo is a province of Serbia) not allowed by the international community to go its own way as an independent nation. Instead, under the Belgrade agreement of 2002, we consented - after overwhelming pressure from the EU - to stay in a kind of union with Serbia that is unknown in international practice. Consequently, we had to apply for membership of the EU as one nation.

So why was the EU so determined to force us to retain a link with Serbia that was disliked by most Montenegrins? Part of the problem, perhaps, was that Europe was preoccupied with the possibility of another bloody round of destabilising breakaways in the Balkans. Was the EU worried that an independent Montenegro would set a "bad example" to those in Kosovo who wanted independence from Serbia?

Whatever the reason, it is simply not fair to deny us our democratic and national rights in order to set an example to others. Luckily, the Belgrade agreement gave us a way out. It stipulated that after three years both Serbia and Montenegro could hold a referendum to decide whether these old Balkan and European states would head for Europe as independent nations just as the other Yugoslav republics did.

Montenegro decided to exercise this option and the vote will be held on May 21. Our decision did not please the EU, which last month imposed yet another condition on us. Our independence would not be recognised - and so talks on joining the EU would be impossible - unless at least 55 per cent of those voting endorsed independence. As prime minister, I protested that this was undemocratic. But I decided that we had no option but to accept it, convinced that a majority of Montenegrins is determined to enter the EU.

The alternative evidently preferred by the EU - for Montenegro and Serbia to attempt to join the EU as a single entity - has already been fraught with difficulties. To put it frankly, the choice is between Montenegro joining the EU as an independent, modern state with a clear sense of identity, or joining as the junior partner in an unbalanced, dysfunctional union with big brother Serbia, constantly fearful of losing our identity. The truth is that the imposed union between our two states does not work properly and its continued existence would delay the integration of both states into the EU.

Montenegro's economic record in the past three years is impressive. As an independent Balkan state within the EU, we can rapidly become one of the most developed nations in the region. So, within a few weeks, I believeMontenegro will become a sovereign state, ready, willing and able to take its rightful place in the EU.

If a substantial majority of my fellow countrymen and women vote for independence, do not take this as a sign that we are small-minded, inward-looking, Balkan nationalists. We have proved we are not. Instead, accept the result of the referendum as a welcome victory for democracy, tolerance and, above all, for European values.

The writer is prime minister ofMonteà -negro


NYoutlawyer said...

I am Montenegran but, I don't like this fool. Nice speech writing but, he is also a crook. Like so many from the former Yugoslavia.

It does not matter if it was Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro, etc. Anyone that had political office in the former Yugoslavia should be denied any office now. They are ALL crooks. It was the system, they know nothing else.

Montenegrin in San Diego said...

Whatever your comment is! It is irrelevant to the situation!

Anonymous said...

I can't wait till serbs have to get visas to go through to the seaside in Montenegro.

If they don't want to go that way, I suppose they can always go to Albania, Croatia, Slovenia, Greece or Turkey.



bg anon said...

ny is right on this. Djukanovic made himself rich by cigarette smuggling - ok so did others but I dont like criminals.

Putting that point aside lets not forget that this man is also attempting to rewrite history (welcome to the Balkans). This man was a close friend of Milosevic's.

In fact he once said that Serbia needed a strong leader like Milosevic. Yes I remember that quote but like many politicians he thinks we forgot.

Dont be surprised if we find that Mladic / Karadzic (Karadzic is Montenegrian like most of the 'Serbian' or Yugoslav political and military leadership in the 1990's) are / were actually hiding in Montenegro in the last few years.

Anybody who knows Montenegro knows that as in Kosovo, there are many places that are inaccesible and its easy to be warned if people are coming to get you.

Anonymous said...

"people are coming to get you."



Anonymous said...

Montenegrins depend on Serbia for health care and lots of other things, an independent Montenegro could be worse than an independent Kosovo.

The Real Montenegrin said...

Having witnessed first-hand the 2001 conflict in the now-de-facto-partitioned and utterly helpless Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and having in mind the small but increasingly growing calls for the 'regionalization' (i.e., ethnic partition) of Montenegro via the creation an ethnic Albanian controlled mini-state in the Malesia region of Montenegro (as demanded during the recent Kosovo Liberation Army-promoting concert of the Kosovo Albanian band 'Ethnic Angels' in Podgorica's Tuzi neighborhood), being the patriotic Montenegrin that I am, and knowing that Serbia controls neither policy nor administration in Montenegro, I think that only a fool (which Mr. Djukanovic certainly is not) is unable to foresee that a 'Macedonia Part II' is likely to occur in the partially ethnic Albanian-inhabited regions of eastern Montenegro. Without the joint army of Serbia & Montenegro, which defeated the UCK on the battlefield where the Macedonian Army could not, Montenegro will not be in a position to defend its borders and our homeland will suffer the same consequences as those suffered by our Macedonian ex-compatriots.

Anonymous said...

Once again Serbs are deeply concerned for the fate of their neighbhours. For example, how would Montenegrins heals themselves if they can't rely on Serb healthcare? Then, the country will go to the dogs because its president is corrupted, despite the fact that he has been winning elections since I can remember.

Milo's arguments are strong and cover all the bases. Best of luck to Montenegro.

mitrovica pika pika said...

Serbs are such philantropists. here they are worrying about Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosova and the whole world. Those corocdile tears would seem real only to a human who have been lobotomized.

bg anon said...

Yes and no better is the Albanian interest in Montenegro.

All of this neighbourly interest is necrophilic.

When will people stop all this and think about people and citizens rather than ethnic groups?

But this necrophilic interest from a MG perspective is slightly better than Serbs than Albanians.

Why? Because the Serbian population in Mg is not growing but the Albanian one is. No ethnic group can be trusted not to take advantage of increased numbers and increased demands - unless Europe can stop it.

NYoutlawyer said...

albanians breed like cockroasches, it will be hard to stop this plague. Europe is doomed. It will not be as we who know and love it in 20 years. God help us all.

NYoutlawyer said...

Dumb ass montenegran swindler. Kick his ass out.

Read the following and then tell me about your puppet kosovo leader and what is truely happening in kosovo:

Ex-Security Chief Blows Whistle on UN's Kosovo Mission
By Sherrie Gossett
CNSNews.com Staff Writer

(CNSNews.com) - Following five years of United Nations control and billions of dollars of international aid, Kosovo is a lawless region "owned" by the Albanian mafia, characterized by continuing ethnic cleansing and subject to increasing infiltration by al Qaeda-linked Muslim jihadists, according to a whistleblower interviewed by Cybercast News Service.

The U.N.'s repeated failure to act on received intelligence has allowed illegal paramilitary groups to flourish and engage in terrorist attacks aimed at destabilizing regional governments in the Balkans, said Thomas Gambill, a former security chief with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), self-described as the world's largest regional security agency.

Gambill was responsible for overseeing the eastern region of Gjilane in Kosovo from 1999 until 2004 under the authority of the U.N. His criticism comes as the United Nations prepares to launch final status talks on the troubled province of Kosovo, which has been a U.N. protectorate since North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces bombed Yugoslavia between March and May of 1999 to compel the Serb-dominated government of Slobodan Milosovic to withdraw its forces from Kosovo.

The U.S. mission in Kosovo alone cost $5.2 billion between June 1999 and the end of 2001, according to a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

NATO bombing leads to Muslim retaliation

The NATO bombings were also launched in response to reports of large-scale ethnic cleansing of Kosovar Albanians by the Serbs. But as soon as the bombing campaign ended, ferocious, retaliatory ethnic cleansing allegedly took place with Albanians, who are predominantly Muslim, targeting Christian Serbs. The violence was witnessed and documented by the U.N. and OSCE.

Gambill shared hundreds of pages of U.N. and OSCE documents with Cybercast News Service, showing how the Serbs and other minorities were systematically and successfully targeted for removal from Kosovo.

Following the NATO bombing of Kosovo, American troops under NATO command were stationed in neighboring Macedonia and Albania while then-President Bill Clinton decided on the size of the U.S. contingent to be deployed in Kosovo. When U.S. troops entered the province in June 1999, the alleged retaliatory ethnic cleansing was already underway.

Incidents of sexual violence, torture, arson, murder, kidnapping, and verbal threats were allegedly widespread as part of an organized and successful campaign conducted "right under the U.N.'s nose," said Gambill.

Minorities targeted by ethnic Albanian extremists for expulsion or death included Serbs, Roma, Muslim Slavs, Turks and Croats.

Reports filed by the OSCE indicate that the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), which had been trained and supported by the Clinton administration, was predominantly responsible for the ethnic cleansing. In April 1999, congressional Republicans also promoted legislation seeking U.S. military aid for the KLA, causing Michael Radu of the Foreign Policy Institute to warn of the consequences of such a move.

Other armed extremist groups also participated in the ethnic cleansing, said Gambill.

The overall goal of the groups was the creation of an ethnically pure state that included Albania, Kosovo and parts of Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia "They will push for more. That is the plan. It's called Greater Albania," said Gambill.

OSCE documents reveal that elderly Serbs who were unable to flee were threatened and women were thrown down staircases. Others were tortured, beaten and murdered. Some elderly Serbs fled to monasteries for protection, but the monasteries were later attacked as well, including as recently as March of 2004, according to the OSCE documents

Entire villages emptied in the wake of large-scale arson and looting. OSCE documents describe "massive population movements" by displaced minorities after so many of their homes were set on fire, that one region of Kosovo resembled "a war zone."

An OSCE report notes that in one particular month of 1999 ethnic-related crimes dipped, but the report adds that it is unclear if that was due to the success of NATO's KFOR (Kosovo Force) or simply because there were relatively few Serbs left.

After six months of NATO presence, the violence aimed at the Serbs became less frequent, though grenade attacks, drive-by shootings and abductions continued as weekly occurrences for the next five years, according to Gambill. "Even as of a couple of weeks ago, it hasn't stopped," he added.

The perpetrators of ethnic violence were emboldened by a lack of functioning local police or a judiciary system, Gambill said. Even now, the "good cops" are threatened by former KLA members, who are also on the police forces. "One female cop, she was a real Serpico," recalls Gambill. "She wouldn't give up an investigation after being threatened. She was killed soon after being warned."

Minorities are still being denied health care by Albanian medical professionals who quickly dominated the health care profession following the NATO bombing, Gambill said. He recounted an incident in which a Serb doctor was taken behind a building and shot in the back of the head. "Sometimes they had to take wounded Kosovar Serbs all the way to Serbia for medical aid," said Gambill.

'Don't Rock the Boat'

Gambill told Cybercast News Service that he was most frustrated by what he saw as apathy on the part of the U.N. Mission in Kosovo and OSCE, despite what he described as lower-level officials who "worked really hard and cared about the mission.

"There was a don't-rock-the-boat atmosphere," Gambill explained. "Many people deployed to the region simply wanted to make their hefty pay and have a good time vacationing in Greece. They didn't want any 'problems' on their watch."

Aggressive patrols were discouraged, Gambill said, for fear that any ensuing firefights would give the appearance that KFOR forces did not have control of the area.

"It was all P.C. (politically correct). People were afraid to say anything," said Gambill, adding that those who spoke out on serious issues were subjected to transfers or other reprisals. "No one seems to want to listen or make waves. They said 'I can't do anything to change the system, so why speak out?'"

The result of such an attitude, Gambill said, is that "every time there is an attack against a Serb, it's always described as an 'isolated case' -- an event swept under the rug, so to speak."

Gambill said his warnings and reports on grave security threats were often met with a condescending attitude and even laughter. During a briefing given at the end of 2000 to OSCE delegates from Vienna, Austria, Gambill identified illegal paramilitary groups operating in the Balkans in violation of U.N. Security Council resolution 1244.

Albanian mafia flourishes

At the same briefing, Gambill said he tried to explain the regional mafia structure, however, U.S. and Russian delegates in the audience complained about the content of Gambill's speech. As a result, he said, OSCE headquarters in Pristina sent a message to Gambill's regional superiors with the message, "Shut Tom up."
"You couldn't get up in front of meetings and say, 'We've lost control of [Kosovo], the mafia controls it,'" said Gambill. "But they do. They run the damn place."

Gambill cited OSCE data that showed 42 mafia leaders had moved into Kosovo in the wake of the NATO bombing in order to set up criminal organizations. They continued to thrive despite efforts to establish mature law enforcement operations in the province, he said.

"Drug smuggling, counterfeiting, weapons, human trafficking were all booming when I was there," said Gambill. He also alleged that high-level mafia leaders are in senior political positions.

"Good cops," who want to target the corruption are "under threat," said Gambill, adding that the Albanian mafia maintains ties with Russian, Serbian, Croatian and Italian mafia organizations to further their common agendas.

Gambill also warned his U.N. superiors that the newly formed paramilitary group, the Albanian National Army, was "highly dangerous and skilled" and operating in Kosovo as well as northwestern Macedonia. But those warnings, he said, were also met with disbelief.

Within months, the Albanian National Army was taking credit for terrorist attacks, prompting the U.N. to acknowledge the group's existence.

Now Kosovo has entered what Gambill calls "The Fifth Phase," characterized by attacks against the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) itself. A September warning from UNMIK to staff members warns, "Before you turn on your vehicle, inspect it all around, to see if anything is unusual or suspicious." The warning followed the blowing up of an UNMIK vehicle.

"UNMIK Out!" reads the graffiti seen on many buildings in Kosovo.

A field officer currently working with the U.N. Mission in the Kosovo area spoke with Cybercast News Service on condition of anonymity. After noting that the explosives used by al Qaeda terrorists in the March 2004 Madrid bombing attacks had come from the Balkans, he stated: "I sit here watching special patrol groups surveying and doing nothing. How many more people will die; whilst terrorists rest and recuperate here in the not so moderate Muslim regions of the Balkans theatre?"

"The cat and mouse game is coming to an end," the field officer noted. "Kosovo is saturated with extremists so NATO [may] pull out before it all blows up in their faces. War on Terror! [It's] more like support [of] terror!"

"My biggest concern has always been the incursion of radical Islam into the area," said Gambill. "They're making preparations in Macedonia for terrorist attacks against internationals if Kosovo is not granted independence."

If the United Nations recommends against independence, Gambill said, it will spur the Saudis to increase their involvement in the region. "They've got the money, they've got the power. They'll remind Kosovars that they are their true friends. And they'll help the extremists fight and prepare terrorist attacks against internationals and even NATO troops stationed there," Gambill told Cybercast News Service.

http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewSpecialReports.asp?Page=\SpecialReports\archive\20050 9\SPE20050927a.html

Anonymous said...

I am an Australian whose parents and husband are from Montenegro. I had the pleasure of visiting your beautiful country on a few occasions. On the comments that the Montenegrin health care system depends on Serbia and could not survive without them, I'd like to write that having been to one of the hospitals there, I don't see how the health system could get any worse!!! If that's what you call "support" by Serbia's economy and government then I see that as a vital REASON to vote for independence, not vice versa. You only need to walk through the streets to see that the place is ravished by poverty and high unemployment. Stop playing the race card. Take a step forward and stop looking back to the past.

Anonymous said...

Ok people stop feeding the fucking troll calling himself nyouthouselawyer. Dont you see the whole reason for his miserable existence is coming on this site and cuting and pasting crap. Nyouthouse lawyer i have one thing to say to you- a life unexamined is not worth living- so do humanity a favour and remove your genes from the worlds gene pool.