Yugoslavia's Kostunica talks of possible NATO link

Macdonald Stainsby mstainsby at SPAMtao.ca
Thu Mar 8 20:37:55 MST 2001


Yuck. This man, should this report be true, is not a patriot tricked into anything.
He is a puppet of the first order. Not even Yeltsin or Putin would dream of floating
this idea.

Macdonald

**********
Yugoslavia's Kostunica talks of possible NATO link

LONDON, March 8 (Reuters) - Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica was quoted
on Thursday as saying Belgrade's relations with NATO were evolving so quickly
that he did not rule out Yugoslavia becoming a formal alliance partner one
day.

Yugoslavia had turned the page in its relations with the West, Kostunica told
Britain's Times newspaper in an interview, less than two years after NATO's
bombers destroyed large parts of his country's infrastructure in the Kosovo
conflict.

He said he was shocked by the scale of the challenges facing him, including
an ethnic Albanian insurgency in the south, threats of secession by
Montenegro, the junior partner in the Yugoslav Federation, and huge economic
and social problems inherited from the previous government headed by Slobodan
Milosevic.

In addition, there was an estimated $30 billion in damage caused by NATO's
bombing campaign.

"When I came to office, I did not expect the situation in the country to be
quite so difficult; it is discouraging," Kostunica said, citing security and
constitutional problems as well as 40 percent unemployment and 800,000
refugees.

"I do not have any regrets. I only wish that we had been able to make the
changes sooner," he said.

Kostunica said one of the most surprising successes was the goodwill that he
had encountered in contacts with the West.

He said he could envisage Yugoslavia one day joining NATO's Partnership for
Peace programme.

"Partnership for Peace is not a priority for us, but it is not excluded and
has been discussed. I would need more time and a change of attitude before
thinking about it," Kostunica said.

NATO devised its Partnership for Peace programme to draw former communist
states into closer cooperation with the Western alliance, but stops short of
offering full membership, which could antagonise a suspicious Russia.

A popular uprising last October forced Milosevic to concede defeat to
Kostunica in federal presidential elections held 10 days before.

00:07 03-08-01


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Macdonald Stainsby
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