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May 10, 1993
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 85
Reactions: Montenegro

A Deceived People

by Velizar Brajovic

For the third time Montenegro looked to the Serb Republic in Bosnia-Herzegovina's Assembly to reach a decision which would bring salvation. The Montenegrin government finally realized that all moves had been exhausted and it decided to introduce family cards, which are a preparation for the introduction of coupons and rations which are expected to ensure a more just division of the increasingly depleted fund of basic foodstuffs. A general danger has forced the republican civil defence headquarters to remind citizens once again that they must check if their cellars and shelters are in order - just in case.

Montenegrin President Momir Bulatovic was greatly disappointed. The optimism with which he had gone to Pale (the Bosnian Serbs' political center), was replaced with anger and resignation. "I am doubly surprised at the Serb Republic in Bosnia-Herzegovina Assembly decision", said Bulatovic. "First because of the way it was made, and secondly because of its character." Bulatovic could not comprehend that after several score debates on the Vance-Owen plan, the deputies in Pale admitted that they had never seen three of the four key documents of the plan. "I think that it would be difficult to find an example of such irresponsible behavior by a leadership and deputies in the modern world", underscored Bulatovic.

Bulatovic does not challenge the Bosnian Serb Assembly's right to decide what it wants and wishes, but he cannot accept the fact that it is working against common sense and its own interests by trying to absolve itself of responsibility, and leaving the decision to the people. "The Serb's referendum in war-torn Bosnia-Herzegovina is an absurdity," said Bulatovic. "A great step backwards has been made," said Montenegrin Foreign Minister Miodrag Lekic. "Obviously the Assembly will take responsibility for the consequences. They could have signed the Vance-Owen peace plan from the position of a military victor and that of the international community's partner. I am afraid that in an unfavorable course of events, the Serbs risk losing both positions."

Lekic believes that in spite of everything, "Lord Owen will use his inventiveness in trying to postpone a negative scenario and continue with the peace process, and the seeking of a political solution."

"The decision was made by an Assembly which decided to vote against peace, against political solutions for the conflict, against the achievement of the rights of its people and their equality," said General Secretary of the Democratic Party of Socialists Svetozar Marovic. "After such a decision, Yugoslav citizens have the right to ask if their efforts, distress, solidarity, suffering, words and hopes have been taken into consideration. I hope that the Yugoslav state organs will find an answer to this question, in the interests of peace, and for the preserving of the Yugoslav citizens' security, political reality and common sense."

Vice-President of the People's Party Bozidar Bojovic underscored that thanks to the will of the powerful and the mistakes of the present authorities in Montenegro and Serbia, the Serbian people in Bosnia-Herzegovina have found themselves between the devil and the deep blue sea. The fact that in such a situation the irrational prevailed over the rational among the deputies in Pale, could have be expected, considering all the circumstances."

Montenegrin Liberal Party leader Slavko Perovic regards the rejection of the Vance-Owen plan as the result of a collective psychosis which has been enforced on these unfortunate and misguided people thanks to unheard-of media propaganda. "This long-suffering people have been presented with too many lies as being the very foundation of their existence, so that their decision from an emotional point of view is understandable. If it is possible to feel any satisfaction at this moment then I find it in the fact that inspirator and executor - Cosic and Milosevic respectively, have returned to the scene of the crime, in a vain attempt at teaching a tricked people that they must abandon 'celestial' visions and return to earthly realities."

Montenegro has done a great deal in helping the achievement of Cosic's celestial and Milosevic's earthly visions. Montenegro now has the opportunity of saving itself "through sovereignty and by returning into the world's family of peoples and states", said Perovic.

President of the Socialist Democratic Party of Reformists Miodrag Marovic used sharp words of condemnation. He demanded that the "Montenegrin President and Government say publicly that Montenegro, its territories and citizens will no longer be a base for those who reject the Vance-Owen plan which aims at stopping international butchery and destruction, and at setting up peace and resolving open questions through political negotiations". Marovic demands that Montenegro "close its borders with Bosnia-Herzegovina", and that the Montenegrin authorities prevent any decisions by the military leadership or state organs in the federation which would jeopardize the interests of the citizens of Montenegro".

"After such a decision", said Srdjan Darmanovic of the Socialist Party of Montenegro, "Montenegro and Serbia must take care of their own security and undertake all measures to save the citizens from an eventual war." Darmanovic also mentions the necessity of closing the border with Bosnia, except to refugees, and underscores that "Montenegro and Serbia must avoid a conflict with the international community at all costs."

"The spirit of the Serbian people is being defended in Bosnia," said Drago Bakrac in the name of the Serbian Radical Party, giving full support to the Bosnian Serb Assembly decision. Surveys of citizens show however, that the great majority are dissatisfied with the decision made at Pale. Many are angry at the authorities, the media and even themselves.

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