The people in plain clothes who broke in a restaurant in Belgrade destroyed the Serbian-American idyll. The “peaceful talks” of Serbia’s Deputy Prime Minister Momcilo Perisic and First Secretary of the US Embassy in Belgrade David Neibor at the Saric motel will mean a failure in the political career of the former. It will also once again mar the reputation of the democratic authorities of Serbia and Yugoslavia. Momcilo Perisic is a close companion to Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, and he was a governmental official in charge of the army and security services.
Belgrade has already started improving its soiled reputation. Yesterday evening, President of Yugoslavia Voislav Kostunica initiated an extraordinary session dedicated to Momcilo Perisic. The eaders of the federal and republican governments, the Foreign Ministry, the General Staff, and Yugoslavia’s State Security department discussed the spy scandal for five hours.
On the session’s conclusion, a document was issued. It reads as follows: “the details and aspects of the Serbian vice-premier’s detention are to be thoroughly studied to “perform the investigation without any pressure.” The incident has caused the state and military leaders to create a National Security Council for the coordination of all security services. The federal parliament is to support the initiative.
In addition, Belgrade is going to inform the people more about the activity of the military and civilian security services. However, beforehand, the issue is to be seriously analyzed and approved of.
The Serbian Democratic Party thinks that it is really very important now to create “a mechanism for civilian and parliamentary control over the activities of the security services.” In addition, as it is stated in the party’s declaration, the judicial authorities are to investigate “whether the vice-premier of the republican government has committed a spy crime or not and find the instigators," Radio Jugoslavija reports.
Momcilo Perisic was the head of Yugoslavia’s General Staff between 1993-1998; now, he is the head of the parliamentary committee for defense and security. He is suspected of handing over of the General Staff’s secret documents concerning ex-president Milosevic’s military activity to the USA. Perisic and the US diplomat were detained on March 15 at the moment when the US diplomat was putting the tapes with the General Staff’s secret materials in the case and was then taken to the detention center. Perisic was released two days after the initial interrogations, and protests from the USA helped free the diplomat as well.
Speaker of the US State Department Richard Boucher told Belgrade: “We protest against actions of the kind performed by the Yugoslavian army and local authorities.”
Yugoslavia’s Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic made excuses to the USA for “the hasty actions” of the military services who had detained the US diplomat “illegally." Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic promised to punish the head of the military security service, who is guilty of the diplomat’s arrest. ORT Russian television quoted President Voislav Kostunica, who said “the problem was really acute for the country, as relations with the USA were delicate.” At the same time, authorities should not be doubtful when it concerns the revelation of the military secret that means the actions applied to the Serbian vice-premier were legal.
The Prosecutor’s Office will consider the Perisic case. The vice-premier may be deprived of the judicial immunity after that.
The accident with Perisic is not so surprising: it was Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic and other members of the government who started delivery of the state and national interests of the country when, in contravention of the decision of the Constitutional Court, Milosevic was delivered to the Hague tribunal. In addition, here is another act of capitulation performed by Djindjic and friends: the live broadcasting of the sessions in Hague have been suspended in Serbia.
Sergey Stefanov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva
In the photo: Momcilo Perisic
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/main/2002/03/18/38335.html