Russian FM, Yugo Premier Reaffirm Support for Unified Yugoslavia
Visiting Yugoslav Prime Minister Zoran Zizic and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov reaffirmed Wednesday their support for a unified Yugoslavia and warned that Montenegro's independence would destabilize the Balkans.
"We spoke about the importance of Yugoslavia's territorial integrity, and the negative consequences that could arise if Montenegro leaves the country," Zizic said after his talks with Russia's top diplomat.
"This could provoke a destabilization of the Balkans, a political crisis, and the disappearance of the Balkans from Europe's political map," warned Zizic.
Ivanov for his part said that the international community supported "a democratic Montenegro which is part of a democratic Yugoslavia."
"Russia supports the territorial integrity of Yugoslavia, the return of Yugoslavia to the international sphere, and the strengthening of its own democratic institutions," said Ivanov.
The Moscow talks came on the eve of Montenegro's parliamentary elections that are widely seen as a litmus test of public support for the tiny republic's independence from its senior partner in the Yugoslav federation, Serbia.
Montenegrin officials have said they would immediately set up a referendum for independence from Belgrade if parties backing President Milo Djukanovic win the vote.
Although strongly supporting the preservation of a federal Yugoslavia, the new leadership in Belgrade promised earlier in the week not to "interfere in any way in the elections" on Sunday.
Russia, which was one of the last countries to recognize Milosevic's September election defeat by then opposition leader, now President Vojislav Kostunica, was a staunch ally of Yugoslavia during NATO's 1999 bombing campaign – MOSCOW (AFP)
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