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June 13, 1998
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 349
National Security Council

State Reason

by Milan Milosevic

The National Security Council of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which meets rarely, was convened on Tuesday, June 9.  The official statement indicates that the session of this Council was chaired by FRY President Slobodan Milosevic, and that the session was attended by the President of the Republic of Serbia, Milan Milutinovic, and the President of the Republic of Montenegro, Milo Djukanovic.  The work of the council was also facilitated by the President of Federal Government, Momir Bulatovic; by the Federal Defense Minister, Pavle Bulatovic; by the Chief of Headquarters of the Yugoslav Army, General Momcilo Perisic; and by the Secretary of the Head Security Council, General Slavoljub Susic.  Thus, the high command was witness to a meeting of the “council of the irreconcilable”.

The National Security Council considered the military-political situation in the region and the situation on the border with Albania, and announced publicly that the Yugoslav Army and MUP agents are in complete control of the state border and are successfully carrying out measures which guarantee the security of FRY.
REFUSAL: The language of the announcement suggests that the key political factors of the Government of FRY silently refused the new European ultimatum for withdrawing military and police forces from Kosovo.  Speculation that Slobodan Milosevic asked for the engagement of the army in Kosovo and that General Perisic refused this is not very probable.  The FRY president did not need support for engaging the armed forces, but rather needed support for refusing to withdraw those forces from Kosovo and perhaps also the confirmation of the assessment that the crisis will continue.

It should be added that political parties in the Parliament of Serbia are against the implementation of sanctions against Serbia.  At a session of its Executive Council, held on June 10, SPS supported the state measures in Kosovo. The coalition member SRS indicated through the statements of its leaders that it is calling for resistance to Western powers. The opposition SPO is describing sanctions and threats of intervention as a violation of the Charter of the United Nations and as the denial of Serbia’s right to defend its territory, but it also demanded that leading parties modify their policies and not irritate either Europe or America.

In other words, agreement was demonstrated in Belgrade that the price will be paid and that along with offered negotiations, firm direction toward the armed formations of Kosovo’s Albanians will be kept.

APRIL DEADLINE: Ph.D. Bojan Dimitrijevic, associate with the Institute for Contemporary History and independent analyst who studies military potentials in Kosovo, stated in last week’s Press Club at Belgrade’s Media Center that in every part of the territory from which the army and police were to withdraw, the functioning of the Yugoslav government would be stopped.

On the other hand, Miroslav Hadzic, associate with the Institute of Social Sciences and Associate with the Center for Civilian and Army Relations, estimates that there is practically no one on the Yugoslav side who would lobby for doom or would go to conquer Albania, and that for now there is no real apparent reason for NATO to directly intervene in Kosovo.

The crisis continues.

Predrag Simic, professor at the Faculty of Political Science and associate of the Institute of Social Sciences, estimates that the latest deadline for an agreement is April 4, 1999.  Why precisely that date?  That is the fiftieth anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty, and the key factors will insist on the Balkan hot-spot being snuffed by that date.

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