Yugoslavia back in the World Bank
The Board of Executive Managers of the World Bank have approved the full membership of Yugoslavia in this institution. The World Bank has given Yugoslavia the IDA Status provided for the most impoverished countries, which might facilitate its external debt up to 67 percent. The privileges refer to one percent interest and credit payment within 40 years. This clearly shows the status of the Yugoslav economy after a decade of wars and social decline.
Still, membership in this respected institution alone does not bring any fast changes. US President George W Bush warned in Washington Yugoslav President Vojislav Koštunica that the US aid and support to the new, democratic Yugoslav authorities would depend on the cooperation of the country with the UN tribunal in The Hague.
An anonymous State Department official has previously announced that Yugoslavia must cooperate if it wants American support at the international conference of donors planned to start on 30 May. This conference might be the first step of curing Yugoslavia's devastated economy.
The Human Rights Watch organization has required from UN to inform Yugoslav president Koštunica during his visit to UN that his statement that former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milošević should not appear before the tribunal was completely unacceptable, adding that Yugoslavia as a member of UN has to obey all obligations towards UN.
Open talks with Bush
American President Bush, Vice-President Richard Chaney and the President's advisor for national security, Condolese Rice, met with Yugoslav President Koštunica in the White House on Wednesday. "We had extremely open and cordial talks. These were bilateral talks between the two peoples. I have been given the full support for all that I have done so far," said Koštunica for the press.
The statesmen had discussed the situation in Kosovo, in south Serbia, relations within the Yugoslav federation and cooperation with the UN tribunal. According to President Koštunica, Yugoslavia has received US support for the conference of donors.
In the meantime, the Hanse kurant daily from The Hague published an article about Yugoslav lawyers who have been defending Serbs before the UN tribunal for six years. The newspaper reports that different sources in Belgrade suspect that they were spies working for Yugoslav secret service, claiming that several interpreters and a psychologist were also part of the conspiracy.
The goal of this group was to prevent the court from convicting Milošević. According to the newspaper, the tribunal finds this issue very serious and is planning to investigate it.
For the time being, Slobodan Milošević remains in custody for two more months after his attorney's complaint to the Supreme Court was rejected.
Federation still floating
As a sign of the fragile status of Yugoslav federation and because of the specific situation in Serbia's autonomous province of Kosovo, the Yugoslav Parliament has postponed the census for next year. The census planned for this year was officially postponed because of procedural reasons and the impossibility of performing it in certain provinces of the country, particularly in Kosovo.
"There is a possibility of scheduling new federal elections. That would be the final phase of redefinition of relations between Serbia and Montenegro. Of course, elections would be scheduled if there were any possibility of building the joint state on new foundations. That would, actually, be constituency elections if our Montenegrin partners agree," said Čedomir Jovanović, the leader of the DOS ruling coalition MP group in the Parliament of Serbia.
The ministerial committee of the Council of Europe appealed to the new Montenegrin authorities not to postpone the dialogue on the future of the Yugoslav federation in accordance with democratic principles. In the final document of their meeting in Strasbourg the ministers say that this dialogue would guarantee stability in the region.
Ministers repeated their support to sovereignty and territorial integrity of European states, as well as other principles of the international law established by documents of the United Nations and The Helsinki Agreement.
In a document passed after the two-day session, the ministers have condemned all forms of terrorism and ethnic violence and appealed to Yugoslavia to continue to fulfil all obligations necessary for acceptance to the Council of Europe with full recognition of democracy and human rights. The ministers have appealed to Yugoslavia to officially abolish capital punishment and to cooperate with the tribunal in The Hague.
Reactions in the Republic of Montenegro on Vojislav Koštunica's visit of to the USA were mostly negative. Many representatives of leading political parties condemned his statement about a "minimal and functional federation" as a denial of the Montenegrin right to decide on its future and even as a denial of its existence.
In a meeting of the Montenegrin Helsinki Committee, Koštunica was defined as a "polite representative of aggressive nationalism" of Milošević's hard-line project for "big Serbia" and accused of "ridiculing the UN tribunal in The Hague and, therefore, 200,000 to 300,000 victims of wars."
Ljubomir Pajić, 11 May 2001
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