Before any referendum on independence has been held, Milo Djukanovic, the president of Montenegro, makes it clear that the result is a foregone conclusion, as Podgorica refuses to hold talks with Federal representatives.
Milo Djukanovic was re-elected leader of the DPS (Democratic Party of Socialists) yesterday, the main party in a government coalition that is committed to holding a referendum on the independence of Montenegro from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which is formed with the Republic of Serbia. However, after his re-election in Podgorica, the Montenegrin capital, Djukanovic told party delegates that “the next party congress will be held in an independent, sovereign, and internationally-recognised Montenegro."
In the recent past, Djukanovic had advocated the Federal position, but he has changed his tune so many times in the last five years that he has the political colors of a rainbow or a parrot.
Moreover, the party adopted a new statute, removing any references to the Yugoslav Federation, which Djukanovic considers illegal. It is for this reason, he claims, that the planned talks between the two entities have not yet started. Podgorica is willing to meet delegates from the Republic of Serbia but not Federal representatives, even if in many cases, the person is the same. A good example of this is deputy Serbian Prime Minister Miroljub Labus, who was elected to represent the Federation. Djukanovic states that while he will meet Labus as a representative of Serbia; he will not meet him as a spokesperson of the Federation.
The deputy leader of the DPS and Prime Minister of Montenegro, Filip Vujanovic, stated that he has requested the Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic for a conference between the two states, but without Federal representatives. Djindjic replied that this would be inappropriate, since the coalition of parties in government in Serbia favours a conference between Montenegro, Serbia and the Yugoslav Federation.
It seems that with Djukanovic in power, in the feud he has carved out for himself on the Adriatic Sea a comfortable haven for bandits in the past with a complex and varied coastline; Podgorica and Belgrade are on a collision course.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru LISBON PORTUGAL
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