The United States of America have apparently decided that the former Serbian general Ratko Mladic, who is accused of committing war crimes but who is still at large, is an entirely appropriate reason to freeze the financial aid programmes to Serbia. After all, why should they help the Serbian authorities when they can direct these funds towards supporting the government of independent Montenegro?
So, following on from the European Union, the USA announced that financial aid to Serbia would be frozen. After viewing the activities (or more accurately, inactivity) of the Serbian authorities, the US State Department decided that the Serbs were insufficiently prepared to cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal on the Former Yugoslavia. And this week the transfer of $7 million to the Serbian government’s accounts did not take place. In actual fact, depriving the Serbian government of seven million dollars is more a political step, rather than economic. Through other channels financial support for the restoration of the country’s economy is continuing.
The United States and European Union continue to maintain that the main condition for the renewal of economic aid is the arrest and handing over to The Hague of Ratko Mladic. In the view of State Department officials, the search for Mladic has gone particularly badly in the last year. Generally, in spite of the decisive rhetoric from the current head of state Boris Tadic, who at the opening of a regional meeting of the Stability Pact for South-East Europe in Belgrade at the end of May said that the Serbian authorities are determined “to quickly arrest the general and hand him over the ICTY”, America did not believe him.
In this respect, it should be noted that in Serbian society opinions on another Hague prisoner, the former president of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic, are divided, with his image ranging from a national hero to practically a monster and the man who destroyed the country. But the majority of Serbs still view Ratko Mladic as a hero. With the arrests of Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic at all costs, Brussels and Washington want to humiliate the Serbian people to the very last. But even the current authorities, who are striving for entry into the European Union, are clearly in no hurry to cooperate…
The European Union and the USA have really made a strange decision. Having frozen financial aid to the “rightful democratic” government of Serbia, having encouraged the republic of Montenegro to secede from Serbia and by steadily leading the process towards the independence of Kosovo, just what do they want to get from the Serbs, especially from those few who still believe in the successful integration of the country into European and Atlantic structures? Quite the opposite, the Europeans and Americans should be using injections of money to try to appease those who have not forgotten about the NATO bombings and how they dismembered the union of Yugoslavia.
It will not be out of place to recall who it is exactly that the victors in the Balkans are so desperate to arrest. So, on 20th May 1992 , the Yugoslav army left Bosnia . On 12th May, the Bosnian Serbs, having become the minority, had chosen Radovan Karadzic, psychiatrist, poet, dissident and leader of the Serbian Democratic Party, to be their president. And after this, Ratko Mladic was appointed as head commander of the Bosnian Serb army. In one of his rare interviews after having relinquished the powers of president, Karadzic said that he was prepared to go to The Hague , but only under the condition of the impartiality and political independence of the tribunal… And he should not go there on his own, but alongside Izetbegovic (the leader of the Bosnian Muslims) and Tudjman (the Croatian leader who died in 1999).
“We Serbs are probably no better than anyone else. But no worse either. We are not a tennis ball which can be hit backwards and forwards over the net however anyone wants. We don’t want to become like some Amazonian tribe living in a reservation, who people stare at in astonishment as if they had seen a rare animal. Islam craves to break through into Europe , and the West will end up in the situation where they are forced to watch Islam grow, like a mushroom after rain,” the Serbian general warned his opponents. “My conscience would have tormented me had I been fighting on someone else’s land, in another country, if I had occupied a foreign people. Throughout the entire war I was defending my people on our Serbian soil. It was my duty, it was a great honour. That is why I am an officer, to serve my nation at its most difficult times”.
An interesting moment took place in 1994, when a group of German schoolchildren were given questionnaires. The question was this: “What nationality would you like to be?” And the people checking the questionnaires were shocked at the result: many German pupils replied that they would like to be Serbs. Their motivation was simple: “the whole world is fighting against the Serbs, and nobody can do anything to harm them”.
The political leader of the Bosnian Serbs Radovan Karadzic and their military leader Ratko Mladic have been declared to be “war criminals” and there is a warrant out for their arrest, with a multimillion dollar reward for their heads. But so far no one has been prepared to betray them.
Translated by James Platt