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January 31, 1994
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 123

Open Season On Diplomatic Posts

by S. Stanojlovic

A small cadre reshuffle over the following weeks and months will help fill some of the more important diplomatic posts. This has resulted in an increased nervousness among potential candidates who have not owned diplomatic passports so far.

Career diplomats will have an advantage only in a few cases such as Tokyo, Pyongyang and Copenhagen. Japan didn't withdraw hospitality to Yugoslav Ambassador Ranko Radulovic, but after his mandate ended, Tokyo insisted on lowering the level of diplomatic contacts. The matter concerns mostly older and career diplomats, generally not widely known to the public. They are busy vying for the prestigious posts: Moscow, Washington, Beijing, and possibly New York, Geneva...

Since its formal proclamation, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia does not have an embassy in Moscow or Beijing, even though diplomatic protocol allows for such a possibilityMoscow and Beijing have kept their Ambassadors in Belgrade all the time.

Milorad Unkovic the current Minister for Foreign Economic Relations is being mentioned for the post of Ambassador to Beijing. The ambassadorial post in Moscow seems to be creating a problem between Serbia and Montenegro. The relative autonomy enjoyed by Montenegrin Foreign Minister Miodrag Lekic can be seen in Montenegro's diplomatic efforts to keep a balance with Serbia over the division of key diplomatic posts abroad. This means that both Belgrade and Podgorica have a candidate for Moscow. If informal, but relatively reliable sources are to be believed, Serbian Prime Minister Danilo Z. Markovic is the Serbian candidate. There are rumors that Federal Prime Minister Radoje Kontic could be Montenegro's choice. This would certainly help complicate the final choice.

Serbian Minister of Culture Djoko Stojcic is allegedly preparing for Prague, while Serbian Minister of Information Milivoje Pavlovic is being considered for Germany.

In the last two years, the structure of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has become such that it is closed to the public and suspicious of it. If those in the know are to be believed, the same holds true for relations inside the institution: the top leadership of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is carefully watching over their and others' decisions and secrets. This is probably one of the reasons why no information has yet leaked on who will be holding the very delicate post of head of the Yugoslav diplomatic office in Zagreb. Zvonko Markovic, a dentist from Split, was announced as head of the Croatian office in Belgrade a year ago. It still remains to be seen who from Belgrade will be going to Zagreb.

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