Topical issues - language : English

FROM MILO DJUKANOVIC’S EXPOSE BEFORE THE MONTENEGRIN ASSEMBLY

The agreement on retailoring relations between Serbia and Montenegro, signed in Belgrade on March 14, is an expression of political reality in Montenegro, the region and Europe alike, President Milo Djukanovic of Montenegro said in an expose at an extraordinary Assembly session prior to a debate on the document.

Djukanovic, who is also one of the signatories of the document, said that the agreement represented a provisional arrangement towards full independence of both Montenegro and Serbia. The Montenegrin president labelled the document the only possible framework for good relations with Serbia in an interim period of three years, after which both Montenegro and Serbia have the right to declare themselves about their own state status. With the agreement, we also acknowledged Europe’s interests, the Montenegrin president said and added the international community had had no understanding for the dynamics of the referendum process planned by the Montenegrin authorities. Besides Europe’s lack of understanding, no political consensus was reached in Montenegro. Likewise, Serbia was not prepared for agreement under which the two incumbent republics would be disassociated in peace and would continue to maintain good neighbourly relations as two independent states, Djukanovic said and added there had been confusion in the political bloc in Montenegro which was in favour of an independent Montenegro. Djukanovic said the agreement was the best possible model for Montenegro at the moment and added it acknowledged the actual situation in Montenegro and paved the way for speeding up reforms. State-wise, the agreement surpasses the real situation and goes ever further than this, he explained. According to him, for the first time after 1918 Montenegro begins its international communication. It will be represented in all relevant international organizations in line with the rotating chair system, alternating with Serbia, and in line with its economic power in international economic organizations. Djukanovic also said that Montenegrin recruits would be serving the Army in Montenegro and all decisions pertaining to the Army and defence would be reached by means of concensus. Djukanovic branded the agreement as good because it offered equal chances both to the advocates of an independent Montenegro and those in favour of a joint state with Serbia in the following three-year period. Indirectly addressing political forces in Montenegro favouring its state independence - the Democratic Party of Socialist, the Social-Democratic Party and the Liberal Alliance, the Montenegrin president said that the completion of the state independence process three years after the signing of the agreement would depend on them. The manner in which we will capitalize on these three years depends on our commitment to the joint agenda and the resolution of economic and social welfare issues, Djukanovic said. The Montenegrin president called on all political forces to work for the common welfare of Montenegro. Montenegro belongs to all of us, regardless of our political ideas, Djukanovic said and added that our problems and issues would not be solved by either Europe or Serbia, Djukanovic concluded.

Following Djukanovic’s expose, the Together for Yugoslavia opposition coalition called for a recess in the work of the Assembly until 11 a.m. on Wednesday when the session is to resume with an expose by Filip Vujanovic, who is also the signatory of the Belgrade agreement.


THE CLEANING OF THE DANUBE RIVERBED

In the strong international competition, the Belgrade Mostogradnja plant has won at an international tender for the cleaning of the Danube riverbed. At issue is the project for removing the wreckage of the Liberty Bridge near Novi Sad torn down in the Nato bombing campaign. The works are worth 3.1 million euros and the investors are the Danube Commission of Budapest and the EU.

The employees of the Mostogradnja construction plant have officially launched preparatory works and the entire project will last 6 months. A several-thousand-ton structure will have to be built in the Danube riverbed. Mostogradnja believes that the building of the structure will begin in three months. The hardest part of the project represents subaquatic works and reinforcement of the very structure to prevent it from collapsing into the river. At the same time the company intends to take part in an international tender for the restoration of the Liberty Bridge in the organization of the European Agency for Reconstruction. The selection of the contractor will be published until May 15 and the European Union will set aside 40 million euros from the KARDS programme.

The Mostogradnja construction company is expected to be engaged in removing the wreckage of yet another bridge in Novi Sad at the foot of the Petrovaradin Fortress. In view of the fact that the Rein and Mein are the backbone of river navigation in Europe, the beginning of the cleaning of the Danube riverbed is a first-rate enterprise. Putting into operation the Danube-Rein-Mein canal in 1992 practically marked the establishment of the shortest link between the Black Sea and the North Sea. However, the previous war, and particularly the 1999 bombing campaign, disrupted navigation along this significant waterway. Being aware of the significance of the Danube, the EU set as one of its political priorities the signing of a protocol on the realization of Pan-European corridor VII, on February 27, 2002. The document is to forge stronger cooperation and a more harmonized work of European countries on the creation of joint infrastructure. The Union implicitly demonstrates its interest in the resolution of the issue with its 80 percent share in funding the cleaning of the Danube near Novi Sad. The geographic position of the Republic of Serbia also clearly confirms that at issue is a state whose primary interest is to develop transport infrastructures which will establish better links within the country and with the countries of the region. The Danube in Serbia is navigable along its entire course, so that the start of the cleaning drive represents a very significant venture.


A STATEMENT BY MONTENEGRIN INFORMATION SECRETARY BOZIDAR JAREDIC

Radio Yugoslavia is the only short-wave media the contribution of which in informing world public and our diaspora is significant and thus should be preserved in the redefined community of Serbia and Montenegro, Montenegrin Information Secretary Bozidar Jaredic told our station.

Radio Yugoslavia’s programmes in 12 world languages reach every part of our planet. RY is very important for the affirmation of Montenegro’s stands in the establishment of new relations with Serbia and of Montenegro’s reform policy and potentials. I believe that, under a new name, and with an adapted editorial policy, Radio Yugoslavia will considerably contribute to the world’s understanding of the positions of both Montenegro and Serbia, the special characteristics of each and their joint activity aimed at the integration into European and world trends. RY is also of vital importance to the process of informing and connecting the diaspora with the homeland.


MONTENEGRO-DARMANOVIC-INTERVIEW

The agreement of Serbia and Montenegro on the redefinition of relations is a product of EU regional interests and suits the EU more than it suits Serbia and Montenegro, the Director of the Centre for Democracy and Human Rights in Podgorica, Srdjan Darmanovic, told RY. Sladjana Manojlovic has more.

How is the future joint state of Serbia and Montenegro to function in future and for how long will the propose form of relations endure in reality, Darmanovic wonders. He assesses that the agreement has created a loose structure of joint bodies with restricted competences and expects both republics to try to round off their economic systems in the forthcoming period and to find a basis for cooperation. The union need not be a conflicting one, especially should the degree of the republics’ independence be high, but a denouement is to ensue in three years anyway, Darmanovic says. Either will Montenegro exercise its right to scheduling a referendum and deciding on its own status, or the union will consolidate in the meantime, he says.

Speaking of the envisaged harmonization of relations, above all in the economic sphere, in the next year, Darmanovic emphasizes it is unrealistic to expect changes in the monetary system. According to him, Montenegro will not renounce the euro and besides, the question remains as to how fast Serbia, which boasts a much larger economic system than Montenegro, could transfer to the euro. It is not easy to change currency in a large economic system, he says and adds it is also very difficult to attain harmonization in the customs system, where the rates are quite different in the two republics. The degree of harmonization will depend on the extent to which both republic will suceed in approaching European standards. The implementation of the Agreement will also depend on political parties at the helm of the process, the analyst from Podgorica says. He assesses that harmonization will ensue in those spheres in which both republics will have their own interests.

The signing of the Belgrade Agreement has triggered a political crisis in Montenegro, as the SDP, a coalition partner of the DPS, has announced that they will leave the Government, while the Liberal Union said they would deny support to the minority government of Filip Vujanovic in the parliament. At the same time, all the three parties appeal to the preservation of the sovereign block and demand that a new government be formed in which the DPS, the SDP and the Liberals would take part. If not, early republican elections will be scheduled. Dormanovic assesses that the parties of the sovereign block will reach an agreement and that there will be no elections. He says that elections would bring nothing new, for this is shown by the latest surveys - none of the parties will have a sufficient majority for the formation of a government. It is more realistic to expect the DPS, the SDP and the Liberals to agree about the formation of a new government, while the Liberals and the SDP will demand some important resources in the future government, Darmanovic says.


IN MEMORIAM - DANILO STOJKOVIC

With the death of Danilo Bata Stojkovic, theatre and film in Serbia were deprived of one of the greatest actors of our time, an artist whose masterly performances marked the second half of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st century. Slavka Sunajko has more.

An actor of extraordinary gift, charismatic personality and enormous popularity - from the very moment when he stepped on the stage, it was clear that he had chosen a lifetime vocation. Even in the most difficult of times, the stage was his home and refuge, where he received standing ovations and made the audiences laugh and cry.

It all began with the blessings of his father, a Belgrade merchant between the two world wars, who allowed Bata to enroll in the Academy of Theatre in Belgrade, at the time when being an actor was neither popular nor desirable. He passed the enrollment examination by rendering a monologue from Dostoievsky and graduated in the class of professor Tanhofer. He gave his first roles in the Yugoslav Drama Theatre and soon moved to the Atelje 212 Theatre, where he played the majority of his unforgettable roles. Although he worked with numerous Yugoslav playwrights, many of whom were his friends, as of 1983 he almost exclusively acted in plays by one of the most famous playwrights in the Serbian language, Dusan Kovacevic. That was a unique combination of energies, creations of spirit and friendship, which caused ovations, long applauses, acclaims and encores. Plays such as THE PROFESSIONAL, THE BALKAN SPY, THE HILARIOUS TRAGEDY are only a few of those inscribed with golden letters in the history of the Serbian theatre. There was an unwritten rule for plays in which Bata acted: there were many people who were not able to get the tickets, as the latter were sold out each time.

Danilo Bata Stojkovic rendered many unforgettable film roles as well, some of the most famous being the comical ones in the films such as WHO IS SINGING OVER THERE or THE MARATHON RUNNERS RUN THE LAP OF HONOUR, both written by Dusan Kovacevic. He will also be remembered by his performances in popular TV dramas and series, such as THE GRADUATES.

Apart from being a magnificent actor, Bata Stojkovic was also a real gentleman. He would go to the theatre dressed in elegant clothes, as for him every performance was a solemn occasion. The fact that he was seriously ill did not prevent him, when he appeared on the stage for the last time, on 13 February, to give a masterly performance in the 300th rendition of CORRESPONDENCE, a play that had been running in the Atelje 212 theatre for more than 20 years. He was the recipient of the most distinguished Yugoslav and Serbian awards and during his lifetime he became a legend who will always be remembered and will be a model to those who have chosen one of the most difficult, but also one of the most beautiful vocations - acting.


THE BRITISH COUNCIL - KNOWLEDGE AND LEARNING CENTER OPEN IN BELGRADE

As the first in Europe and second in the world, after the one opened in New Delhi in January, the British Council - Knowledge and Learning Center was officially open in Belgrade on March 20 by Baroness Helena Kennedy QC (Queen’s Counsel) in the presence of Director of the British Council Ian Stewart, British Ambassador Charles Crawford, Serbian Science and Technology Minister Dragan Domazet and many invitees. Our own Marina Dragulj reports.

The British Council is the United Kingdom’s international organization for educational and cultural relations. Funded by grants from the British government, it is nevertheless politically independent. Policy is crafted by a Board chaired by Baroness Helena Kennedy QC including members who represent three major political parties, the Trade Unions, and the arts, science, medicine, law and business communities.

The British Council is currently operating in 110 countries and has been present in Belgrade for over 60 years. It is the agency responsible for implementing the cultural agreement between FR Yugoslavia and the United Kingdom and is a major player in the strong bilateral relationship between the two countries, particularly in the public diplomacy sphere. Projects in Yugoslavia focus on educational reform, improvement of English language teaching, the building of partnerships in the arts, and in areas of good governance including public sector reform.

Underpinning all of this is the British Council’s information activity, which was strengthened with the opening of new premises in downtown Belgrade. A self-access computer centre with high-speed Internet connection and a video-conferencing studio are among the innovations which will transform the way people interact with the United Kingdom from Belgrade.


THE INTERNATIONAL ASPECT OF THE AGREEMENT BETWEEN SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO

The agreement on the retailoring of relations between Serbia and Montenegro represents the initial step towards their inclusion in European integration processes and the presence of the European Union as one of the signatories may bring Serbia and Montenegro closer to the Union. This is a joint assessment of the recently signed document, given by Belgrade University professors Radoslav Stojanovic and Vesna Knezevic Predic. The agreement is not to produce serious difficulties in relations between the two republics, both in home and foreign affairs, it is the stand of Radoslav Stojanovic, a professor in international law at the Faculty of Law. His colleague at the Faculty of Political Sciences, Vesna Knezevic Predic, says that in the process of approaching the EU an important prerequisite is the harmonization of domestic legislation with the one of the Union. Professor Stojanovic emphasizes the importance of the fact that the state is to have the joint foreign policy and defence, which testifies to the existence of state elements. With the announced admission to the Council of Europe, Serbia and Montenegro will accept the 35 conventions which automatically become part of the legal system of the new joint state. This is particularly significant, as the agreement insists on the harmonization of relations in the legal and economic system, especially when the market and customs duties are at issue, Stojanovic says. He adds that a series of other issues will be regulated by a constitutional charter, which has to be enacted by the end of the year. The most important is the currency issue, then the representation in international organizations such as the UN, the OSCE and the Council of Europe, Stojanovic emphasizes. Commenting on a statement that the new state is specific in every respect, professors Stojanovic and Knezevic point to the fact that there are no two identical state orders in the world. The state of Serbia and Montenegro is a modern one and represents a realistic creation of the moment in which their peoples live. If the agreement on the principles of relations between Serbia and Montenegro is ratified in the federal and republican parliaments, only then will it be possible to speak of its international aspects with more certainty, Belgrade University professors Vesna Knezevic Predic and Radoslv Stojanovic assess.


COOPERATION WITH THE EUROPEAN INVESTMENT BANK

Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Miroljub Labus and the representative of the European Investment Bank Antonelo Pulez have signed an agreement on granting 85 million euros for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of railways in Serbia and Montenegro. Serbian Minister for Traffic and Telecommunications Marija Raseta Vukosavljevic, Montenegrin Finance Minister Miroslav Ivanisevic and Montenegrin Traffic Minister Jusuf Kalomperovic attended the signing of the agreement. More from Zorica Mijuskovic.

The realization of this project shows that there is very good coordination among the federal and republican governments towards creating conditions for financing the reconstruction of the railway system, Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Miroljub Labus said. The total value of the entire project is 170 million euros. Labus said the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development had granted 60,8 million euros, the European Agency for Reconstruction 7,5 million euros. This loan was granted under favorable conditions - with the return deadline of 20 years, along with a five-year grace period and an annual interest rate from 4 to 4,5%. At the same time, the Serbian and Montenegrin governments obliged themselves to provide 16,7 million euros for this project.

These funds will enable the reconstruction of the railway in Serbia and Montenegro. At issue are large works on the highways of the pan-European Corridor 10 from Belgrade to Bar, the representative of the European Investment Bank Antonelo Pulez said, adding that at issue was the first loan granted to official Belgrade in this year. Pulez said that the European Investment Bank has so far granted our country loans amounting to 156 million euros. The possibility of financing projects in the sphere of the power industry, air flight control and development of small and medium companies is being examined at present.

This is the second large loan granted to Serbia and Montenegro by the European Investment Bank in a very short period, Montenegrin Finance Minister Miroslav Ivanisevic said. The highway and railway infrastructure are especially important for Montenegro since transport and tourism are its main development strategies, Ivanisevic said. The funds to be received through this credit will help the rehabilitation of the most vital parts of the Belgrade-Bar railway, which will greatly influence security of traffic and economic connection between Serbia and Montenegro.

The European Investment Bank has so far invested large funds in the development of these two republics, first of all, in infrastructure projects, Serbian Minister for Traffic Marija Raseta Vukosavljevic said. The reconstruction of roads is very important since at issue is a 17,500 km long network of highway and regional roads that are in a bad state. Raseta Vukosavljevic stressed that projects for the reconstruction of airports, air flight control and naval transport are being prepared.


MLADJAN DINKIC ON MONETARY TRENDS

The dinar will become convertible in current transactions in May this year at the latest, the Governor of the National Bank of Yugoslavia Mladjan Dinkic has announced at a regular press conference.

It will take several years for the absolute international convertibility of the national currency, but it will be a much shorter period than the one of other countries in transition that needed around ten years towards reaching this goal, Dinkic said optimistically.

Regarding negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the governor of the Central Bank says that they are taking place according to plan and expects the last installment of the standby arrangement, worth 65 million dollars, to arrive at the beginning of May. Beginning April 8, negotiations with the World Bank concerning a loan worth 70 million dollars will also continue in Washington D.C.

The governor of the National Bank of Yugoslavia, that will also operate under this name in the transitional period of 36 months, announced that a set of important financial laws are to be sent for parliamentary procedure. These are the Law on the Central Bank, on financial markets, on hard currency business deals and modifications and amendments to the Law on old hard currency savings, along with some accompanying regulations that will totally set-up financial business deals according to European standards. Immediately upon the passing of this set of financial regulations and the establishment of the convertibility of the dinar, all personal transfers of hard currency money abroad up to 5,000 euros per transaction will be allowed.

Official recognition of convertibility by the IMF will also alleviate Yugoslav citizens to unhinderly exchange dinars for national currencies of the countries as Greece, Hungary, Austria, Italy and Germany. The National Bank of Yugoslavia will purchase these dinars according to the principle of automatism. These countries have reached a preliminary agreement with our country on this issue.

According to the latest statistics of the Central Bank, total hard currency reserves amount to 2,350 million dollars, while they increased ten times over the past year.

Governor Mladjan Dinkic also expressed satisfaction over the increase of hard currency savings and especially dinar savings, which will create conditions for crediting the purchase of flats and announced that an agency or fund for these purposes would be formed soon. He explained that underway were negotiations with the USAID Agency towards forming an initial donating fund for mortgage credits intended for purchasing flats and houses.


KOSTUNICA - A PRESS CONFERENCE

I expect Serbian Vice-Premier Momcilo Perisic to submit his resignation and the affair to be left to competent bodies, Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica told a regular press conference. Marijana Stojanovic has more.

Perisic has been charged with a serious criminal offence, which is the most difficult to prove, and in such cases state security do not initiate any action unless they are in possession of very firm evidence, Kostunica said. He emphasized that, should the Serbian Government not undertake anything, the issue of confidence in the Government will be raised. I wish that such a large-scale affair of espionage had not happened at this particular moment, but the fact that the country is leaving its state of isolation does not mean that the country has ceased to exist and that military secrets represent goods on the market, Kostunica assessed.

At issue is a very concrete case and, as we saw last night, and we saw only the tip of an iceberg, at issue is concrete material as well. The tendency to dismiss in advance concern over the safety of one’s country as a paranoia is dangerous.

The Yugoslav President said he was displeased with the fact that the name of the foreign diplomat arrested with Perisic had been published, but expressed hope that the affair would not influence bilateral relations with the US.

Speaking of the agreement on new relations between Serbia and Montenegro, President Kostunica emphasized that a compromise solution had been chosen in order that the country be restructured, tension relieved and home legislation harmonized with the European one, whereby conditions will be created for normal political dialogue in the country. This is not an ordinary change, for the agreement implies that the process of disintgration of our state and the Balkans will be halted, Kostunica said.

Through this agreement, we did everything we could to protect the integrity of Serbia, as had been done earlier in soutehrn Serbia with the agreement on the definition of the state border with Macedonia and the joint document with UNMIK. Serbia also gets the possibility of constitutional reconstruction - the enactment of a new constitution and discontinuity with the Milosevic’s one of 1990, Kostunica stressed.


THE CONFERENCE OF LOCAL SELF-RULE

It is necessary to decentralize authorities in Serbia so the citizens could understand that democracy is not only where parliament and the government are but also that democracy is being implemented in daily life. Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic stated this at a conference regarding the passing of the Law on local self-rule.

In democratic societies, local self-rule is a pillar of society since citizens see authority at the local level most efficiently. Djindjic stressed that local authority bodies in Serbia have a long democratic tradition and citizens are starting to trust it increasingly more. The problem is that in Serbia, as compared to other countries, there is the smallest number of municipalities per capita. They are large by territory, so citizens cannot efficiently satisfy their interests, Djindjic says. He pointed out that democratic authorities could invest more efforts and refrain from party interests so the citizens could realize that positions in the local authority is a public good.

Serbian Justice Minister Vladan Batic has pointed out that the first step towards total affirmation of local self-rule is the new Law recently adopted in the Serbian assembly. The past regime totally obstructed local self-rule by leaving it only with the authority in the communal sphere. With the passing of the new Law, which is in accordance with modern European democracies, we have fulfilled our election promise and thus satisfied the interest of citizens. Batic stressed that the passing of the Law had not been easy since there were many constitutional limitations. As an example, he said that according to the Constitution, all funds of the municipalities were public property, while territory and status of cities were not defined in an adequate manner.

The US Ambassador in Belgrade William Montgomery pointed out that his country was paying enormous attention to local self-rule. Nobody can decide better on the needs of the city than the local population, said Montgomery and expressed satisfaction that the US was part of the process that would improve local self-rule in this region.


THE ECONOMISTS ON THE AGREEMENT

The signing of the Agreement on the future arrangement of relations between Serbia and Montenegro, although mostly a political issue, has not left the economic public without reactions. The common denominator of all assessments in economic circles for the adopted resolution is - too expensive and contrary to logics of the market economy.

Economists are unilateral in the assessment that politicians in this country have once again beaten the economy and market laws, which will show as the Peer Victory for each side in the medium and long run.

The Agreement between Serbia and Montenegro only confirms what has already existed in practice, the division of the fiscal, monetary, customs and currency regimes, that is total division of the Serbian and Montenegrin markets. This is a small economic and geographic space, the proposed solution making it even weaker, business deals of firms are becoming more expensive and it burdens impovered purchasers to their final limits, economists assess.

The Director of the Economic Institute in Belgrade, Nebojsa Savic, points to the weakness of the political resolution that does not specify economic relations. He points to the problematic upcoming one-year period of coordinating these relations.

Professor Boris Marovic, the Chairman of the Yugoslav Association of Economists, maintains that the non-existence of a single market is senseless. He says that the least he had expected was a single customs system towards preserving a joint market.

The Chairman of the Minel Holding Company of Belgrade, Milosav Filipovic, assesses as the worst solution the fact that the political resolution is a temporary one. Mile Jovic of the Institute for Economic Sciences in Belgrade is of the same opinion and maintains that, for the sake of the enormously necessary economic stability, it would be less painful to break-up the "nightmare connection" between Serbia and Montenegro immediately.

The Director of the Center for Transition in Podgorica, Nebojsa Medojevic, also does not hide his disappointment. He says that the "independents" in Montenegro, himself being one of them, will be deserted.

The only optimist tone is coming from the Aide to the Yugoslav Finance Minister, Veroljub Dugalic, who says, although admitting the economic irrationality of the resolution, that if there is going to be more readiness and reason in the transferring three-year period, its negative effects could slow down.

Experienced politicians and economic negotiators maintain that the best solution is the one which leaves equally unsatisfied all sides involved in the negotiating process. If one adopts such approach to things, one could say that the latest agreement between Serbia and Montenegro fulfills all initial conditions for success.


THE BASIS FOR THE RETAILORING OF RELATIONS BETWEEN SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO

Agreement on principles: The agreement on the principles of relations between Serbia and Montenegro within the state commonwealth is signed by the participants in the talks: the Yugoslav president, the Yugoslav Prime Minister, the Montenegrin President and the Premiers of Serbia and Montenegro and, as a witness, the top EU Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security. The constitutional charter: On the basis of the opinions set out in Assembly debates, that is Assembly conclusions, the constitutional commission whose members are elected by the Serbian, Montenegrin and Yugoslav Assemblies is to draw up a constitutional charter, the highest legal act of the state commonwealth of Serbia and Montenegro. The text of the act is adopted first by the republican assemblies, and then it is forwarded to the Federal Assembly. Such an act confirms the elements of the statehood of Serbia and Montenegro, which stem from the actual state of affairs and historical rights of both member-states.

Provision on re-examination: After the expiration of a three-year period, the member states have the right to initiate the procedure for altering the state status, that is, a walkout from the state commonwealth. In case Montenegro walks out from the commonwealth, international documents pertaining to FR Yugoslavia, particularly to UN Security Council Resolution 1244, would fully pertain to and be valid for Serbia as a successor.

The member-state, which uses the right, does not inherit the right to international and legal entity, and all disputed issues are regulated between the successor-state and the newly created state. In case both member-states declare themselves in favour of altering the state status (independence) at a referendum, the succession procedure regulates all disputed issues, as carried out in the case of former Yugoslavia.

The law on a referendum is passed by member-states, taking into account internationally recognized democratic standards.

The name of the commonwealth: Serbia and Montenegro

The Institutions of Serbia and Montenegro: the Assembly, the President, the Council of Ministers and the Court.

The Assembly: Laws on the election of MPs to the Serbian and Montenegrin Assemblies are passed by member-states in line with the principles set out by the Constitutional Charter.

A mechanism for the protection of outvoting of member-states is also envisaged.

The President of Serbia and Montenegro: The President, elected by the Assemblies of Serbia and Montenegro proposes the composition of the Council of Ministers and conducts its work.

The Council of Ministers: The Council of Ministers has five departments: foreign affairs, defence, international economic relations, internal economic relations and the protection of human and minority rights.

The Court of Serbia and Montenegro: The court deals with the harmonization of judicial practices. The administrative and judicial function is performed in line with the administrative acts of the ministries of the Council of Ministers. The court takes legal stands pertaining to the harmonization of the judicial practice. The court has no instance authority and has an equal number of judges from the member-states.

The Army: The Army of Serbia and Montenegro is commanded by the Supreme Defence Council including three presidents. The SDC takes decisions by means of consensus. The recruits serve the army in the territory of their member-state, with the possibility of serving it in the territory of another member-state if they wish so.

Elections and appointments: Upon the adoption of the Constitutional Charter in line with the envisaged procedure, elections will be held and the Assembly of Serbia and Montenegro will be constituted, the President of Serbia and Montenegro will be elected as well as members of the Council of Ministers and judges of the Serbian and Montenegrin courts. Also envisaged will be a rotating term in office. The representation of the member-state in international organizations (the UN, the OSCE, the EU, the Council of Europe) will be secured through rotation and for international financial organizations special representation models will be determined.

The Constitutional Charter will be submitted to the Assemblies for review until June 2002 at the latest.

The dislocation of federal institutions: In the framework of the activities in passing a Constitutional Charter of Serbia and Montenegro, the member-states will alter their constitutions in line with the Constitutional Charter of Serbia and Montenegro or adopt new constitutions until the end of 2002 at the latest.

The economic sphere: the current level of economic reforms in the member-states is a point of departure for the arrangement of mutual economic relations.

The member-states are responsible for the unhindered functioning of the joint market, including the free flow of people, goods, services and capital.

It is with the harmonization of the economic systems of the member-states with the economic system of the EU that the existing differences will be overcome, primarily in the sphere of trade and customs.

In both cases taken into account will be economic reforms, which have already been implemented in the member-states and also accepted will be solutions which will lead to integration in the EU as soon as possible. Provisional solutions in the adjustment of the trade and customs policies should take into account the interests of the member-states.

The EU will be offering its assistance in the achievement of the goals and will regularly oversee the process.

If one member-state believes that another member is not meeting the commitments stemming from the Agreement in view of the functioning of the joint market and the harmonization of the trade and customs policy, it retains the right to raise the issue with the EU in the context of the process of stabilization and association for the purpose of taking adequate measures.

The EU offers its guarantees that in the case of other conditions and criteria for the process of stabilization and association, the agreed on principles of the constitutional set-up will not represent an obstacle for a speedy reaching of agreement on stabilization and association.


GORAN PITIC ON FOREIGN INVESTMENTS

The risk of investment in Yugoslavia is diminishing, which is also confirmed by world institutions that monitor the climate for investment and conduct economic forecasts for certain countries, Serbian Minister for Foreign Economic relations Goran Pitic said.

The preservation of the achieved macroeconomic stability, together with the political one, and the predictability of the economic policy are decisive for foreign investors. Among other factors influencing decisions on investment in Yugoslavia are the issue of competition, financial expenses, tax rates, customs duties and the infrastructure.

In order to be prepared for the beginning of the following year, when the zone of free trade will be established in the region and will lead to even more attractive business offers, it is necessary to harmonize legal regulations with those in the EU. In that sense, Minister Pitic emphasizes, there will be new incentives for foreign investors tax-wise. The analysis of tax competition in relation to the surrounding countries pointed to the necessity of improving the tax system, without discriminating Yugoslav investors, Pitic emphasizes. It is also expected that foreign investments exceeding certain amount will be freed from tax and that the import of equipment will be marked with tax benefits. According to the provisions of the new Law on Foreign Investments, the procedure for the registration of enterprises has been simplified. The foreign investor now directly addresses the commercial court, where all the administrative procedure is completed. As Minister Pitic announced, the Law on Concessions will be amended in spring, The work of enterprises in free zones will be regulated by a special law and new regulations are expected for leasing and franchising as a from of financing, Goran Pitic concluded.

Incidentally, the World Bank experts have estimated that in this year, FR Yugoslavia can expect an influx of 400 million $ on the basis of foreign investments, which will reach 850 million $ in three years.


PENDING THE CONVERTIBILITY OF THE DINAR

The introduction of the internal convertibility of the dinar in December 2000 represented a provisional phase until the establishment of full international convertibility of the dinar. Such convertibility implies the openness of the domestic economy and its swifter adjustment to the demands of the world market. At the same time, it offers certain advantages to the national economy and stabilizes its position in international economic relations.

The convertibility of the dinar makes it possible for the owner to convert his claims into any other hard currency. Closely linked to the convertibility of the currency is multilateralism, which implies the possibility for using the claims earned in one country for payment in another foreign currency. One of the major tasks of the IMF is precisely to establish multilateral payment among its member states and abolish hard currency restrictions hampering the growth of world trade.

Of the total of 183 countries - members of the International Monetary Fund, 147 introduced the convertibility of the domestic currency. The basic preconditions laid down by the IMF for establishing convertibility are as follows: a realistic hard currency exchange rate, the pursuit of an adequate macroeconomic policy and free formation of prices. Likewise, it is necessary to have adequate hard currency reserves.

The procedure for pronouncing the convertibility of the dinar by the IMF is rather complex and relatively long. After it has adjusted its legal ambiance to the Statute of the IMF, Yugoslavia has to inform this international financial institution of its acceptance of the commitments stemming from its Statute and submit the document for review by the Executive Board of the IMF. The bulletin of the Fund then makes public the new status, that is, the convertibility of the dinar.


HALF A CENTURY OF THE YUGOSLAV FILM ARCHIVES

A group of enthusiasts and film lovers founded the Yugoslav Film Archives in Belgrade half a century ago, wishing that the varied Yugoslav film heritage - among the world’s five richest ones - would be preserved for future generations.

The Yugoslav Film Archives was founded as a special national film treasury in Belgrade in 1952. It houses a rich collection of the world’s greatest motion pictures in 83,154 copies. A film by Louis and Auguste Lumiere, the fathers of the motion picture art, THE ARRIVAL OF A TRAIN AT THE STATION, made in 1895, is the oldest film housed in the Archives. Another film is SHERLOCK JUNIOR, by famous American comic actor and director Buster Keaton, made in 1924. There is only one more copy of that film in the world and that one is preserved in the Museum of Modern Art in the United States. The Archives boasts the world’s single copy of a silent film entitled MANON LESCAUD, starring John Barrymore, a film by Cecile B. De Mille entitled DON’T CHANGE YOUR HUSBAND, made in 1919 and a silent version of ANNA CHRISTIE from 1923. The Archives also houses the works of David W. Griffith, Eisenstein, Stroheim, Chaplin, Pudovkin, Bunuel, Epstein, each of them reflecting great epochs in the development of the motion picture art. It also boasts the gems of the Scandinavian cinema, the German expressionist school of the twenties, the golden age of the French cinema, the classic Swedish school of film and the works of modern European cinema and those from other continents. It also houses Serbian films made between 1904 and 1944, some of the most outstanding being documentaries, such as the one on the assassination in Sarajevo in 1914, the declaration of Montenegro’s kingdom in 1910 and the bombing of Belgrade in 1941.

In addition to all that, the Archives boasts a unique film library of worldwide importance, with 19, 000 books on film and a subscription to 60 film journals and magazines. The accompanying archives include the photographs, stills and posters of half a century ago and valuable technical equipment, such as Lumiere’s camera from 1896.

The cinematheque of the Archives which has screened the most significant works of that art some 30 thousand times during this half a century, has become another home and school to many distinguished authors and all film lovers and has surpassed all the film schools in that capacity. In the spring of 1999, during the 78 days of bombing, this cinema provided shelter to all those who sought comfort and escaped from the horrors of real life in front of the big screen of the cinematheque.


FOREIGN INVESTMENTS IN FRY

The World Bank experts have estimated that FR Yugoslavia can expect an influx on the basis of foreign investments of 400 million dollars, which are to reach the amount of 850 million dollars in three years’ time.

Our aim is the annual inflow of direct foreign investments to the amount of one billion dollars and it is becoming more and more fesible, Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Miroljub Labus says. According to official data, more than 1,300 contracts on foreign investments were registered in Yugoslavia in 2001, which is three and a half times as much as in 2000. Foreigners have already invested some 150 million EUR in the present or new companies. Foreign and Belgrade analysts claim that in this year Yugoslavia will realize the hgihest influx of foreign investments in the region, Incidentally, during 2002, Yugoslavia has considerably improvd its rating on the list of coutnries ranked according to risk for foreign investors. From the last, 27th place, it will jump to 16th place among south-eastern European countries attractive for the investments of capital.

The main obstruction for investments in 2001 has been removed, as the Yugoslav debts to the Paris club creditors have been favourably regulated. This enabled the arrival of foreign agencies which ensure the invested capital. At the recently held second conference on the possibilities of investing in FR Yugoslavia, the Head of the World Bank Belgrade office, Rory O’Sullivan, announced that that international financial institutions would invest 4 billion dollars in Serbia and Montenegro by late 2005. This will represent support to the federal budget and reforms, while a third of that amount is due to come from private sources. The British ECONOMIST UNIT has estimated that interest in investing in FR Yugoslavia will rise in this year. Similarly, Emmanuel Konning from the PRICE WATERHOUSE COOPER auditing house claims that the tax climate for investments in Yugoslavia is already satisfying. Besides, at least 60% of capital has been privatized in 800 companies, which brings them closer to foreign partners, Konning concluded.


THE INTERVIEW OF YUGOSLAV FOREIGN MINISTER GORAN SVILANOVIC

In an interview to Radio Jugoslavija on the ocassion of 66 years of its work, Yugoslav Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic said that FR Yugoslavia would cooeprate with The Tribunal for war crimes in The Hague regardless of the fact of this fiedl being legally regulated . We will accomplish full cooperation. Meaning that there would be extradition of the indictees by the end of March, Minister Svilanovic said.

We must respect our obligations, while the transfer of the idictees is the only thing according to which one measures cooperation with The Hague, he says and adds that all those who are preventing the passing of this law on cooperation must know this, since they are not preventing extradition, but are taking away some rights to our citizens who had been indicted. When it comes to the deadline set by the US Congress - Macrh 31, conditioning financial aid to our country, Goran Svilanovic considers that a political decision on full cooperation with The Hague would stop us from being short of deadlines.

Minister Goran Svilanovic reiterated Yugoslav foreign policy’s strategic goals - admission into the Council of Europe, agreement with the EU on association and stabilization, and admission into Partnership for Peace. He warns that these goals must not depend on changes on the inetrnal political plane, since the stability of the foreign policy is important for every state. Svilanovic expects that FR Yugoslavia will be admitted into the Council of Europe by the end of the year, and that relations between Serbia and Montenegro will not influence this. We have made two large steps forward. The first is the adopting of the federal law on the protection of national minorities. The law was coordinated with the OSCE and the Council of Europe, but, in acertain manner, surpasses so far established standards in the region. The second large step is the abolishment of the death penalty, Svilanovic says. He, thus, considers that we have reached European standards in the human rights domain, but adds that Albanian prisoners could also represent a problem. We have inherited this problem, Svilanovic says. Out of 2100 prisoners before democratic changes, 175 remain in prisons. Some served their sentence, some have been included in the law on amnesty, while there have also been revisions of trial processes. This problem will be fully resolved in agreements between the Kosovo Coordination Cenetr and UNMIK, Goran Svilanovic says.

Good cooperation with NATO has been reached in southern Serbia, Svilanovic said. Despite the bitter experience during the agression, we must be ready to further cooperate and join Partnership for Peace since it our foreign policy’s strategic goal.

Speaking of relations between Serbia and Montenegro, Svilanovic expresses optimism and believes that an agreement will be reached. According to some suggestions, diplomacy ought to be a common one, with full protection of republican interests, which would help overcome problems in communication, for, as Svilanovic explains, there is no working cooperation despite good personal relations between the federal and the Montenegrin foreign ministry.

At a request to comment on the relations between our state and the diaspora, Svilanovic emphasized there were still deep divisions which date back to the ones of chetniks and partisans. He thinks that political divisions have often been encouraged from the state and appeals that they be overcome. Our people do not expect too much. We shall try to make administrative problems easier for them, in order that they obtain citizenship and the passport more easily, to take part in the political life of the country and in elections. We expect them to show undertanding for our problems, which is enough for the beginning, Yugoslav Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic told Radio Yugoslavia.


THE AGENCY FOR INFORMATICS AND THE INTERNET OF THE SERBIAN GOVERNMENT

The Serbian Government’s Agency for Information Science and the Internet was founded exactly a year ago and represents a novelty in the state structure. Branislav Andjelic is a person at its helm, who toured state institutions to acquaint himself with the situation and needs in such bodies.

"The most important thing is to capacitate the Republican Administration of Public Revenues in order to have timely information on the collected funds in the country. We have performed the task with success and connected the administration with all municipalities in the country. The next thing we did was the signing of an agreement on strategic partnership with Microsoft.

In partnership with the Federal Customs Administration we made a project for the modernization of customs, worth 6 million dollars and funded by the World Bank. This represents a pilot project for the Electronic Government.

We are fully oriented towards the international plane in an attempt to integrate in the European Union. The EU has concluded that the world is at the turn from industrial to informatics society. They crafted a plan how to adjust their institutions and economy to informatics society. There is a possibility that if we do not join the plan we might be further from the EU rather than closer, Branislav Andjelic.

We have been admitted to the status of an observer in the EU’s initiative, which has enabled us to harmonize our legislature, education and health care with their programmes and with their help. For instance, the English were impressed with our appearance at an international conference in London and our work and proclaimed us a country that illuminates the road to other countries in the project of the organization of the Electronic government.

We represent a large market, not only in terms of the number of people, but also in terms of the percentage of people that are buying our product. If you look at the situation in Yugoslavia of ten years ago, we were practically on the level of Germany in terms of the purchase of computer equipment and softwares and introduction of licences. We had all the softwares legally. Big firms are aware of the significance of our market. We are the last country that entered the transition process and they know how much money was spent on computerization by the countries which passed through the same process. We are in the position to seek certain things in advance. Firstly, we demand the transfer of knowledge and technology, with the obligation to open development centers here or to entrust part of their development to our firms. Naturally these should be their latest produce, research projects for the future rather than the restoration of old softwares, the Secretary of the Serbian Government’s Agency for Information Science and the Internet, Branislav Andjelic, concluded.


CULTURAL HERITAGE OF KOSOVO-METOHIJA

Currently underway in Kosovo-Metohija are two extremely negative processes - continuing pressure against the Serbian population and property and the sustained process of destroying and damaging exceptionally valuable cultural treasury which is an integral part of European cultural heritage, Serbian Vice Premier, Nebojsa Covic, who is also chairman of the Coordinating Center for Kosovo-Metohija, said at the promotion of the project for the protection of the natural and cultural heritage of Kosovo-Metohija at the Natural Museum in Belgrade. More from Slavka Sunajko.

Serbian medieval monasteries and churches in Kosovo-Metohija constitute the most invaluable part of Serbian cultural heritage which, for political and security reasons, has not been available to the Serbian Protection Service since 1998. The planned works on the projects for the protection of frescoes and restoration of capital monuments were suspended in 1998. The experts of the Republican Institute for the Protection of Cultural Assets were averted from touring and inspecting the endangered heritage in this southern Serbian province until the formation of the non-governmental Mnemosyne Center for the Preservation of the Heritage of Kosovo-Metohija. Besides Yugoslav, Italian experts are also engaged in the work of the Center. Owing to the foreign experts and their work in the area populated by ethic Albanians, as they were the only ones who had access to the destroyed and torched Serbian churches and monasteries, significant data on the consequences of the destruction of the Serbian nation’s heritage were gathered. According to the president of Mnemosyne, ethnologist Mirjana Menkovic, in the last two and a half years, despite the presence of more than four thousand elite KFOR units, the UN Civil Administration, numerous relief and non-governmental organizations, as many as 107 Serbian churches and monasteries were desecrated, shelled, blasted, set ablaze or destroyed in Kosovo-Metohija, on which the organization has extensive documentation. At the presentation of the results of the projects of the emergency protection of heritage in Kosovo-Metohija, slides and photographs were shown featuring some of the drastic examples of the destruction of cultural assets and Orthodox sacral architecture, including the following: The Church of the Mother of God in Musutiste of 1315, blasted and torched along with hundred-year-old pine-trees in the yard after the deployment of KFOR in 1999, the Monastery of St Peter and Paul in Dobre Vode, shelled and partly destroyed in 1999, then converted into a shelter for cattle; St Nicholas Church in Cabic, built at the end of the 15th century - blasted following the stationing of KFOR in 1999, and its rubble converted into a dump-yard; St Nicholas Church of 1362 in Djurakovac - blown up by an explosive device after the arrival of KFOR in 1999; St Nicholas Church in Popovljane of 1626, also blasted following the deployment of KFOR in 1999 and its rubble turned into a dump-yard. In these churches and monasteries, as well as in the remaining 102 torched and wrecked churches, medieval frescoes of immeasurable value, icons, iconostases, books and religious objects dating back to the 13th, 14th and the 16th century, the heritage which Europe preserves in as the most precious part of its culture, were destroyed as well.

At the presentation of the results of the two-year-long work of the Mnemosyne Center, Serbian Vice Premier, Nebojsa Covic, who is also chairman of the Coordinating Center for Kosovo-Metohija, concluded it was necessary to maintain the process of the protection of cultural heritage in this southern Serbian province with the assistance, support and cooperation of the Yugoslav state and the family of nations alike, which will be based on mutual respect and trust.


          A COMMENTARY ON THE BEGINNING OF THE TRIAL OF SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC

The trial of former Serbian and Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic before the Hague Tribunal for crimes in the region of former Yugoslavia has been seen by many political analysts as historical. This is also testified to by the fact that Milosevic is the first president in the world being tried for war crimes committed during his rule. Radio Yugoslavia carries the views of international law experts, political analysts and people from Slobodan Milosevic’s circle on the beginning of the trial.

The Chairman of the Yugoslav Committee for Human Rights, Biljana Kovacevic Vuco, believes that Milosevic’s trial will be fair and just. The trial is aimed at determining the facts and preventing anybody from committing war crimes. I believe the trial will end in all the people becoming aware of the fact that there is no political goal that can be achieved by committing war crimes, Biljana Kovacevic Vuco said.

Political analyst Slobodan Cerovic believes that the indictment against Milosevic simplified part of the history pertaining to the period of the disintegration of former Yugoslavia. That part of history is treated as a criminal conspiracy of several people led by Milosevic, which is not true, Cerovic said and added that for that reason, the Tribunal’s Prosecutor’s Office would not be able to prove all counts of the indictment. According to him, if significant facts are established at the trial, the procedures can contribute to the restoration of trust and mutual understanding between the Balkan nations. On the other hand, if Milosevic, and consequently the state of Serbia, are ascribed the responsibility for the wartime events in the region of former Yugoslavia, this will increase frustrations and antagonism between the Balkan states, Cerovic said.

The head of the press center of the association Freedom for the World of Free and Equal, a non-governmental organization fighting to disprove the indictment against Slobodan Milosevic, Milan Vidojevic, said that all theses of the indictment were of political nature. He added that the statements Milosevic gave during his political career were presented out of context, and footages were misused. Under such circumstances, it will be hard for Milosevic to defend himself, Vidojevic believes.

Senior fellow of the Institute for International Politics and Economics of Belgrade Aleksandar Fatic believes that profession-wise the indictment based on general characteristics is untenable. According to him, the accusation of genocide is the most serious one against Milosevic. If proved, it can be concluded that the state perpetrated genocide as, at the time, Milosevic had full control over the entire state apparatus. In this case, the states in whose territories genocide was perpetrated have the right to seek reparations from FR Yugoslavia, Fatic said. However, he believes that in the case against Milosevic it was not important who would pay the reparations, but whether genocide occurred or not. Fatic said that the ultimate goal of Milosevic’s trial was justice.

Stojan Cerovic believes that if Milosevic is convicted for genocide, it will influence the decision on war reparations. For this reason, official Belgrade has to be more interested in the trial, Cerovic said and added it must not be allowed that responsibility for war in the region of former Yugoslavia be ascribed to one party only, as it was not true.

Aleksandar Fatic maintains that in the interest of learning the truth, it would be normal for official Belgrade to take part in the trial against Milosevic. This may improve the quality of the verdict and create a more objective picture of the clashes in Croatia, B-H and Kosovo, which, according to Fatic, is necessary for the purpose of a more peaceful future and coexistence in the Balkans.        


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