Milošević in terrorism accusation
Speaking in Venice this week, Montenegrin President Milo Đukanović said that "Milošević's regime is trying to export terrorism from Serbia to Montenegro. I have no choice but to suppose that the attempted murder of Vuk Drašković was politically motivated."
"Drašković has no enemies in Montenegro, while the Serbian government sees him as one of its principal opponents."
Đukanović noted that "We are in no hurry to hold a referendum, but it will be held eventually. If Milošević's dictatorship continues in Serbia, we will fulfill our goals as an independent state," adding that "Montenegro needs to have access to international financial organizations in order to conduct its democratic reforms."
Montenegro to cooperate with ICTY
On her first visit to Montenegro this week, International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte met with President Milo Đukanović and Prime Minister Filip Vujanović, among other officials, re-affirming the ICTY's desire to cooperate with Montenegro.
Invited by Đukanović despite heavy opposition from Serbia, del Ponte was quoted by the daily Vijesnik as saying that "the Hague Tribunal will continue cooperation with pro-democratic Montenegro. I am absolutely sure that there will be no incidents, and I call on other representatives of the international community to visit this wonderful country."
During the visit, del Ponte reaffirmed that "no deals are possible" for indicted Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević. Earlier this week, a New York Times report claimed that the US, Greece and Russia were trying to broker a deal that would have seen Milošević step down in return for asylum and immunity from prosecution. (See related story in this week's News from Serbia)
At the time of going to press, del Ponte was scheduled to meet with Montenegro's Minister of Justice to discuss Montenegrin assistance in investigations into Montenegrins who may have committed war crimes in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo, as well as into indicted Serbs living in hiding in Montenegro to escape prosecution.
Two arrested for botched Drašković hit
Montenegrin police arrested two men on Tuesday who are suspected of planning last week's attempt on the life of Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) leader Vuk Drašković and are still searching for four others who are believed to have escaped back to Serbia.
Montenegrin officials have asked Serbian authorities to be on the lookout for the four fugitives, believed to be from the Belgrade area, but Serbian Ministry of the Interior officials have yet to respond to the request.
On Thursday, Podgorica Higher Court investigative judge Zoran Živković ordered the two arrested men, brothers Ivan and Milan Lovrić, aged 25 and 19 respectively, to be detained for 30 days pending an investigation into police charges of terrorism.
The detention hearing came one day late, after prosecutors asked presiding judge Svetlana Vujanović to recuse herself on the grounds that she is married to Prime Minister Filip Vujanović.
Court President Milan Radović told reporters that Serbian police had informed the Ministry of the Interior that one of the fugitives, Dušan Spasojević, had visited Belgrade police with his lawyer. Radović said the Podgorica court "fully expected" Serbian authorities to transfer Spasojević to Montenegrin jurisdiction, while thee other suspects remain at large in Serbia.
Drašković, meanwhile, remains under heavy police guard in Montenegro, where he is recovering from his wounds.
Tito's yacht sails again - to Greece
Montenegrin Minister of Transportation Jusuf Kalamperović confirmed this week that Podgorica sold the yacht Galeb ("Seagull" in Serbian) to an unnamed Greek financier for USD 750,000 on June 15, saying "it was high time the Galeb was sold after all these years, otherwise it would have been chopped up for scrap."
In the former Yugoslavia, the presidential yachts were cared for by the Yugoslav Naval Academy, but they became the property of the Montenegrin government following the nation's breakup in 1991.
Euro to be legal tender in Montenegro?
Less than a year after the government made the Deutschemark legal tender throughout Montenegro, with heavy opposition from Belgrade, Monetary Council President Božidar Gazivoda said this week that the Euro will soon be introduced as the republic's official currency.
In advance of the move, Gazivoda said that Montenegro was planning a strategy to completely withdraw as much as 100 million Yugoslav dinars presently held in government accounts.
British caution against independence
Charles Crawford, Director of Southeastern European Affairs for the British Foreign Office, issued a cautious warning against a unilateral Montenegrin declaration of independence, the daily Vijesti reported this week, adding that international intervention in the case of Montenegro's invasion by Slobodan Milošević would be "dependent on the situation."
"The main question is not whether the majority in Montenegro wants independence. It is whether the minority wants to accept that possible decision," Crawford was quoted as saying.
"I think that people in Montenegro know that, and that is why they are very careful. The process of gaining independence must be very well prepared. If you want independence, you will have to ask for support of the entire international community, and that is not so simple," he concluded.
Minister to attend UN Security Council session
Minister of Foreign Affairs Branko Lukovac was slated to be the first Montenegrin representative to attend a session of the UN Security Council Friday as a guest of the Slovenian delegation to the UN.
At the time of going to press, Lukovac was also scheduled to meet with the US and Chinese ambassadors to the UN to discuss a recent report his ministry sent to the Security Council detailing Montenegrin security concerns over possible intervention by the Yugoslav Army (VJ).
On Thursday, Lukovac met with US State Department officials, where he secured USD 60 million in foreign aid for the coming year at the same time as receiving praise from US officials on Montenegro's present pro-Western, democratic stance.
Beta news agency