Central Europe Review: politics,
society and culture in Central and Eastern Europe
Vol 2, No 1
10 January 2000

C E N T R A L   E U R O P E A N   N E W S:
Serbian News Round-up
News from Serbia since
3 January 2000

Vana Suša

Slobodan Milošević, President of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), in his New Year's statement, called for the renewal and development of Yugoslavia to be the main goals in the year 2000. Milošević stated that, in the year 2000, Yugoslavia should increase both industrial and agricultural production, incomes should be increased and unemployment should be decreased. Milošević added that in order for those objectives to be fulfilled, citizens of Yugoslavia will have to show enthusiasm and unity that they displayed during the NATO bombing.

In an interview with the daily Politika (3 January 2000), Milošević said that Montenegro and its citizens have the right to declare their independence from Yugoslavia, if they believe this to be in their best interest. In the same interview, Milošević said that in Yugoslavia "absolute freedom of the media exists." However, Milsoevic also said that certain media are under the control of foreign governments, who are attempting to destabilise Yugoslavia.

Speaking of cooperation between the FRY and the rest of the world, Milošević stated that, despite the fact that the Inernational Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank do not want to bail Yugoslavia out, Yugoslavia is able to gain credits and loans from other counterpart countries. Milošević added that, even though other neighboring countries are supported by the IMF, the World Bank and the European Union, Yugoslav credits still exceed those of the neighboring countries.

Yugoslavia submitted an indictment against the NATO member states to the International Court of Justice. On 4 January, the Ministry for the Foreign Affairs submitted the indictment against the members of the NATO alliance that took part in the bombing of Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia requested that the court hold those countries liable for the breaking of international laws, such as those concerning state sovereignty. The indictment also contains a request that the NATO alliance be held accountable for not stopping the "genocide" carried out against the Serbian population of Kosovo after the air strikes ceased. Yugoslavia, in the indictment, also asked that NATO be held accountable and liable for all damage done during the air strikes.

Serbian opposition parties expressed their satisfaction with the outcome of the elections in Croatia. A spokesperson for the Alliance for Change (AC) stated that the "echo of political change in Croatia will be carried on to Serbia (Blic, 5 January)." The Democratic Party estimated that the victory of the opposition in Croatia will be a sign that the totalitarian regimes of the Balkans have to come to an end. The Civic Alliance of Serbia expressed their hopes that Croatia will now take new initiatives in dealing with the Serbian refugees from the Croatia.

While opposition parties expressed their satisfaction with the Croatian election results, the Yugoslav government did not react at all. The State minister for Information, Goran Matić, stated that the Croatian elections should not be of Yugoslav concern.

The Serbian Orthodox Church (SOC) celebrated Christmas eve and Christmas on 7 January. In all temples and churches throughout Yugoslavia, the SOC held holy liturgies to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. The Serbian Patriarch, Pavle, called for peace and an end to the bloodshed of the last decade. Bishop Artemija from Kosovo sent his greetings to all Serbs in Kosovo as well as in Serbia. He stated that the year 2000 should be a year of spiritual reformation. Bishop Artemija added that, before any changes can take place, Serbia needs to change the ruling regime that, as he said, has kept Serbia in the dark for ten years. During Christmas day, Bishop Artemija also hosted Bernard Kushner.

Vana Suša, 7 January 2000



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