Montenegro: Unravelling

When great powers’ strategic interests are at stake, small nations’ concerns are small beer. Or so it must seem to the present Montenegro government of Milo Djukanovic, feted in both Washington and London for several years but recently refused a meeting with the new US Secretary of State, Colin Powell.

The World Today
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While Slobodan Milosevic was in power in Belgrade, Djukanovic was praised for his courage in standing up to him by the previous Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright. The British Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, was equally fulsome in his support of the young Montenegrin President. But now that Milosevic has finally been ousted, a different set of priorities is in place.

The most immediate of these is the need to support and bolster the new democratic regime in Belgrade. The international community has made no secret of its wish to see Montenegro remain in some sort of federal relationship with its sister republic Serbia. But if Djukanovic’s governing coalition wins the parliamentary elections scheduled for April 22 he will hold a referendum on independence from Serbia, if possible by the end of June.

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