The spy scandal connected with Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Momcilo Perisic is now the major topic of the Yugoslav mass media.
“The case of Perisic” must finish the long conflict between the “eternal rivals” – Zoran Djinjic’s Democratic Party and Democratic Party of Serbia leaded by Vojislav Kostunica. This was the view of the Belgrade newspaper Vecerne Novine. Informed circles are of opinion that the newspaper writes that that the question is about a “political bargain” and that there could be different variants. It could happen that in the ruling Yugoslav coalition - Democratic Opposition of Serbia, in addition to the rivals, there is some third group, which will separate from the government.
An escape from this situation might be found in an extraordinary election, the edition supposes. “After a hard skirmish, after accusations and attempts to answer the question whether Momcilo is spy or not, the state scandal number one, which revealed conflict inside the opposition, was removed to trade field,” according to the Montenegrin newspaper Dan. This incident entailed a serious threat to the Serb government, which nearly caused its fall.” According to Politica, a central Yugoslav newspaper, the Serb government will stand, while Perisic is now a burden for the cabinet (if even he is not guilty). Remember that Momcilo Perisic sent in his resignation the day before. “I will not allow my case to be used for changing the government of Serbia just at the time, when it is the only possibility to carry out reforms in the country,” – Perisic stressed, not forgetting to add that he “fully supports the Serb government.”
According to Politica, all political parties and groups in the country opposing the acting power try to derive political dividend from the scandal. If the authorities are really ready to “ablate weak spots” from the state’s body, to break with old “centres of power,” which are still active, to unmask “the connection between illegal circles and the legitimate state,” then there is a hope, Politica writes. The Yugoslav army that decided to make such a brave move also suffered in the “democratic press.” “This scandal is a good chance to finally put the army under civil control,” – the Vojevodina newspaper Dnevnik writes. While the detention of Perisic and a US diplomat by agents of the military security, Dnevnik writes, “this time opened in a rough way the question of who actually controls Yugoslav army.” According to the country’s supreme political and military leadership, the newspaper writes further, “the detention was carried out without the knowledge of both the civil and supreme military authorities.” In general, the situation with tje Yugoslav army is “much more important whether Perisic is or not a spy.” If the army is put under civil control, this scandal will have more use than damage.”
Zoran Jinjic already said he hoped that Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica would immediately replace the chief of Military Intelligence, General Aca Tomic, who headed the detention of Momcilo Perisic. “Until the question about Tomic’s responsibility is not solved in a proper way, I see no possibility for serious cooperation on national security, either with Yugoslav president, or with the Military Intelligence,” – Djinjic’s written statement reads. Blic newspaper, in its turn, adduces to Yugoslav foreign minister Goran Svilanovic’s statement that “spy scandal cannot influence Yugoslavia’s cooperation with The Hague Tribunal.” Svilanovic hopes that “cooperation, including extradition, will be continued, because it is a constant obligation.” However, the law about cooperation with the Tribunal has not been passed yet by the parliament.
Sergei Yugov PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Vera Solovieva
Read the original in Russian: http://pravda.ru/yugoslaviya/2002/03/20/38471.html