La seguente intervista, pubblicata sul quotidiano ``Politika'' e poi
riprodotta sul sito del Ministero dell'Informazione della Serbia
e' stata rilasciata da Slobodan Milosevic in occasione del Capodanno
Ne riportiamo i passaggi politicamente piu' rilevanti. CRJ


December 31, 1999

Federal President Slobodan Miloševic
agreed to an interview for "Politika"
daily. In a lengthy conversation with
the "Politika" Editor-in-Chief - Mr.
Hadži Dragan Antic, President Miloševic
replied to all the 15 questions
concerning the position, the efforts
and the development prospectives of our
nation, as well as the standpoints
related to key political issues
pertaining to the present and the

The interview took place on Wednesday
December 29th, at the presidential


During the year we are about to leave
behind the pressure and the attacks our
country has been facing for the last
ten years have culminated. What is it
that the West wants?

- The West wants to seize control of
the entire world. The most developed
part of the global community, usually
called the West, is determined to force
the world around to serve its needs and
interests. Rich countries want to
become even richer. To do that, they
need other countries to become sources
of their constant and unlimited
accumulation of wealth. For the time
being, the most developed part of the
world is rather concerted. At least it
seems to be. But, along with their need
for expansion, their mutual envy will
grow stringer. Such rivalry might hurl
the world - both the developed and the
under-developed world - into a series
of major, tragic conflicts, which might
prove catastrophic for all mankind.

Let us hope that the developed
countries will realize the threat they
represent for themselves in this world
of ours. Still we should hope that the
rest of the world will find the
strength to unite and oppose the
downfall that is inevitable if we are
to wait for things to be solved
spontaneously. In life no solution
comes about by itself. At least no
major and important solution. Everyone
should contribute to the shaping of a
better and a more just world in the
coming century.

I believe that the positive trend that
marked the 20th century will override
the destructiveness that - especially
towards the end of the century - has
grown quite strong.

The Chinese embassy in Belgrade has
been bombed during the war. The
Yugoslavs have grasped the meaning of
it. So did the Chinese. What is your
evaluation of our relations with that
part of the world?

- The Chinese embassy was targeted
deliberately and after serious
planning. It was a message for China to
the effect that in world affairs it
hardly has more influence than
Yugoslavia. That it might even face the
fate of Yugoslavia should it fail to
show obedience to the new world order.
The message was addressed to China not
only because it constitutes a potential
threat to this order, but also because
it publicly and repeatedly condemned
the aggression on Yugoslavia.
Naturally, the message inherent in the
bombing of the Chinese embassy has been
understood by the Chinese, the
Yugoslavs and everyone else. The
message wasn't a complicated or an
ambiguous one. In fact, the West isn't
capable of sending messages to the East
that the East would view as mysteries
it can't understand. Only the other way
around might occur. That's why the
Chinese have not only realized the
message quickly, but gave a quick
answer as well. Not only on the
government level, but also on the level
of ordinary people. Their reply was
that they shall defend their country
fiercely, that they are determined to
develop rapidly and that in
international relations they shall
always endorse peace, equality among
nations and the right of every country
to shape its future autonomously...

With these stands, China is very close
to Yugoslavia, but probably also to all
other peoples and countries that risk
facing aggression and humiliation
tomorrow. Our relations with China are
extremely friendly, our cooperation
with China is comprehensive - economic,
scientific, cultural... We plan to
develop and enhance it in the spirit of
common interests and benefit for both

Do you think that the future of
Montenegro lies within the Federal

- The best solution for Montenegro is
the one that suits the Montenegrin
people. If the Montenegrins believe
that their life without Yugoslavia
would be a better one, then they have
the right to make such a choice. And
vice-versa. If the people of Montenegro
believe that life within Yugoslavia is
the optimum choice, then they should
keep it.

In that case, they must honor the rules
of the game imposed by such life in
common with another nation or another
federal entity. First of all the
Constitution that they have - obviously
- adopted jointly. The Constitution
can, naturally, be changed and it is
good to make changes in it. We live in
dynamic times and it is logical that a
state is to be managed more dynamically
than in the past, keeping in step with
the rhythm of changes that take place.

Life in common is simple and easy for
those that are determined to live
together, and difficult and unpleasant
for those that live together forcibly.
When life together entails imposition,
it is not only difficult and
unpleasant, but it has no prospective.

Lessons have been learnt from the
aggression on Yugoslavia. The rich and
mighty - that a local war and not only
a global one can be a dangerous
adventure even when the enemy is
considered inferior, and the poor and
small and all other nations were faced
with the fact that they shall continue
being poor, insignificant, other,
unless they choose to change it.

At the end of a century in which two
big, tragic wars have been fought, and
practically countless little ones, the
greatest military power assaulted us,
or to be more precise, newly assaulted
us. What is your interpretation of this
occurrence in view of the future of our
country, but of the future of mankind
as well?

- The aggression on the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia was supposed to
be a lesson for all disobedient nations
in the world, to make them realize that
the order of things dictated from a
single place must be respected. With
the aggression on FR Yugoslavia
international organizations have been
suspended, first of all the United
Nations, as the most important
organization that had the task of
arbitrating international conflicts and
controversies. The aggression on
Yugoslavia also deferred international
law and initiated a process for the
abolition of the sovereignty of every
country - big or small - standing in
the way of an order it did not help
create, and that dared voice its
opinion without being asked, or even
dared to rebel. Our country took a
stand, rebelled and hence faced

I would like to stress in particular
the major experience Yugoslavia, and
particularly Serbia have in
international politics, and their
openness for all forms of cooperation
with the immediate environment, but
also with the most distant countries in
the world. We have always been open for
all those that wanted to be here and
had a positive attitude towards those
that wanted to be with us. It is
characteristic of our nation. It is
also our historical heritage.

But this characteristic and heritage do
not include renouncing to the right to
freedom and independence.

For its entire duration, the aggression
kept our nation unified. Everyone knows
that from the very beginning of the
aggression the unity of our heroic
people amazed the world. At least that
part of the world which has free media,
where there's no censorship and where
correspondents reporting the truth and
journalists commenting in favor of it
(the truth) do not risk loosing their
jobs. But the unity of our people faced
with threats and difficulties during
the war is not the only issue. It was a
united, proud and enthusiastic
resistance to the aggressor that was
preparing to become the occupying
power. It was a rare and magnificent
resistance they never expected. The
feeling of invincibility, superiority,
obstinacy, goodness - resulted in a
specific resistance, admired in the
countries where the media are free, and
concealed from the public in the
countries where censorship and
autocracy rule.

But in those countries they also hid
everything else concerning Yugoslavia
and themselves. First of all the truth
that Yugoslavia is by no means an
aggressor. That it was victim of
unprovoked aggression by countries
portraying as the aggressor in order to
use this alleged aggression as an
excuse for the war they started against
it. Partially to teach a lesson, and to
a greater extent to secure their
interests. To seize control of the
Balkans - strategically important both
in the military and economic sense -
and also to use this peninsula as a
beachhead for taking hold of even more
militarily and economically important
regions - in the East: Near and Far.

Lessons have been learnt from the
aggression on Yugoslavia. The rich and
mighty - that a local war and not only
a global one can be a dangerous
adventure even when the enemy is
considered inferior, and the poor and
small and all other nations were faced
with the fact that they shall continue
being poor, insignificant, other,
unless they choose to change it.

Albanian separatists and their NATO
sponsors want to seize Kosovo and
Metohija. What will become of Kosovo
and Metohija?

- Albanian separatism in Kosovo and Metohija
failed to reach its goal even after it brought in
the most powerful ally on the planet in the
shape of NATO and its war machinery.
Warranties of our sovereignty and territorial
integrity are not the result of a unilateral
position but rather conditions under which the war was stopped. These
guarantees that we have accepted are for us final and unchangeable. All
decisions contrary to the guarantees contained in the Ahtisari -
Chernomyrdin Plan and UN SC Resolution 1244 are illegal and void for
us. The presence of the security forces under the auspices of the UN is
temporary. We have to endure and display great patience. NO one can
take Kosovo away from us.

In final instance 1999 will always be remembered here as a war
year. Evil forces attacked us bringing death and destruction. Will
they answer for it and will the immense damages we have suffered
be compensated?

- The question of their responsibility is not a future issue, it is a
raised already throughout the world, although it is still mostly limited
moral condemnation. Nevertheless everyone expects them to answer for
all this. We do because we have suffered vast material destruction, we
had quite a number of casualties, all people in Serbia went through
stress, and all this without objectively provoking anyone in the world
inflict such evil upon us. Many are those around the world that hope the
criminals shall answer - many world public segments, entire countries,
majority of the population, all normal people. But those that
falls upon, also fear it. We do not live in times of Hun invasions,
massacres against nations and crimes against people to be committed
without fear of punishment, except maybe individual.

Half way through this century Fascism had to answer before mankind. I
am confident that this neo-Fascist beast shall also face judgement in
time, before entire mankind and in contemporary - not some distant -

As far as compensations are concerned, they go along with the
responsibility. Should the so-called international community fail to
those responsible for the crime against our country, then it is to
assume the
responsibility itself, as well as the compensation of the damages that
be paid with money.

The decision to launch a process of rapid, intense reconstruction of
has been damaged by the bombing, was not based on the hope that the
reconstruction can rely on the payment of war damages. The decision was
based on the conviction that we are capable of relying on our own forces
and that we shall do everything possible to rebuild and make operational
as quickly as possible all those facilities that have vital importance
for the
country. Naturally, in this reconstruction effort, we enjoy the support
certain countries, various foreign companies and numerous individuals
throughout the world. Still, for the time being, the decisive source of
financing of the reconstruction is our own country.

(...) We continue to live with
moderation and self-denial, but also with great efforts; it seems
that even the countries around us, especially former socialist
countries still haven't caught up with us in spite of the fact that
they did not face sanctions and went through a series of
transitions. Do you believe that we can prosper economically even
without the World Bank and the famous IMF?

- Certainly. In the year that lies ahead of us, priority objectives,
along with
the renewal of the country involve development, increase of agricultural
and industrial production, growth of wages, living standard and
employment. The reconstruction of the country is proceeding quickly and
with success. Everything also favors the rapid and successful
realization of
our development objectives. Still, I see no reason why we should be
denied the support you have mentioned. If the International Monetary
Fund and the World Bank really are international and really belong to
world, then they ought to endorse the interests of all countries and all
nations. Selective support to chosen countries and only given nations
invalidates their international institution character. In that case, the
of such institutions shall be denied to many countries not appearing on
favorites' list of the financial lobby abusing the name of the
Fund and the World Bank for the realization of its extremely partial

This is becoming increasingly clear not only to financial experts and
politicians, but to the general public as well. Recently we had the
opportunity to see the humiliating end of the World Trade Organization
meeting in Seattle, where hundreds, thousands of people from the US,
and from all over the world protested against the abuse of this
international organization by the US and its efforts to impose its
interests -
fully, openly and quite brutally - to all, including its partners in
Europe -
the most developed West European countries. The degradation of world
institutions such as the UN, the IMF, the World Bank... or regional
structures such as OSCE, by placing them at the service of Washington's
interests, does not have a negative effect only. It activates the need
of all
free countries in the world to face the threat of hegemonism more
and more efficiently.

But to go back to the final part of your question concerning our
international economic and financial cooperation. We have no intention
isolating ourselves. That's exactly what our foes are hoping for. That's
they are upholding the sanctions. We are countering it by establishing
and cooperation with numerous countries in the free world - with the
whole planet. The fact that according to the NATO dictate we are not
being financed by the IMF and the World Bank, did not prevent us from
securing a set of credit arrangements with friendly countries, totaling
than the support allocated to all the neighboring countries, even though
they enjoy the support - at least verbal - of the IMF, the European
the World Bank and America.

You are head of state but also
leader of the strongest political
party in the country. The
Socialist Party of Serbia will
soon hold its congress. What do
You expect from it?

- I expect that the Socialist Party of Serbia shall maintain the
heading it has been following ever since its foundation in 1990. Ten
we have been defending our country and our people. Some people
realized the country was under attack only when bombs started falling.
But if we hadn't defended the country before, all those long ten years,
wouldn't have managed to defend it when the bombing started.

Acting in the most difficult period in this century for the Serbian
and Serbian citizens, the SPS has strived to find the right answers to
challenges presented by the times we lived in. The citizens trusted this
answer for an entire decade and voted for SPS in all the elections we

This constitutes a major support for our conviction that we managed to
find the right answers for difficult, tormented, unfortunate times.
this answer wasn't always the best possible, and maybe better ones might
have been found. It is however important that we acted with the best
intentions, that we made great efforts, and that we are ready to face
facts and shape our policy accordingly.
Furthermore, SPS will try to contribute to the strengthening of the
block now growing in our country and acquiring a new face. There's
nothing illogical in the fact that other leftwing parties different from
exist. After all, the Left has always been a highly diversified front
encompassing very different leftist, progressive and avant-garde stands.

Furthermore, since our country faced enormous foreign pressure
culminating this spring with the aggression on Yugoslavia, I think that
this is
no time for great and tempestuous party passions, and certainly no time
for such conflicts between the parties. I believe that in the time we
living in, all parties that value their country above all, that believe
the love
for one's country is the most profound feeling, that are guided by
patriotism in all their political activities, should find a common
approach in
the efforts to alleviate these dire times for their people, and to
jointly bring
about happier times for all the citizens, for the entire country.

This is why I am certain that at the congress and after it SPS will
build the
spirit of a patriotic front and true solidarity and cooperation with all
that wish their country well - peace, economic prosperity, modern
development, cooperation on equal footing with all the countries in the

Is the unification of Russia and Belorussia a sign of the renewal
and stronger ties between the former Soviet Union countries, and
is this also an indication of broader integration processes
involving Russia, China and India creating a counterbalance for

- The unification of Russia and Belorussia is an indication of a
rapprochement and establishing of ties between Eur-Asian nations and
countries that might mark - should stronger and more rapid ties be
established - the beginning of the establishment of global balance which
was completely abolished at the beginning of the nineties. The
of the Warsaw Pact and the League of East European Countries not only
undermined the world balance, but gave a free hand to the members of
the surviving block, primarily to the NATO military alliance, to redraw
borders of countries, regulate countries, cause wars, introduce
punish the recalcitrant, award the obedient and submissive and generally
organize the entire world to their liking.

This is why any form of serious, and especially major, association
anywhere in the world constitutes a chance to establish the balance
has been missing for a decade and a chance to protect mankind from
hegemonism and violence which accompanies it inevitably.

Our Parliament endorsed the project for the adherence of our
country to the commonwealth of Russia and Belorussia. Now that
this community has been formalized, what is the prospect of our
status being also formalized within it?

- We stand fast in this decision and hope that in the foreseeable and
not a
very distant future we shall join this alliance. I hope this will be in
interest of our country, but also in the interest of bringing together
and other nations having a common goal to live in peace and evolve

Big countries like China, Russia, India, as well as the Arab world,
Latin America and Africa, undoubtedly support our just struggle
for independence and territorial integrity. The European public,
also is increasingly becoming aware to which extent has
Yugoslavia first been demonized by the media, and then brutally
attacked by NATO countries. What is you view of the relations
with Europe and with the other countries and regions I

- First of all, we are not out of Europe. We are a European country. The
question can be raised how will our relations evolve with the European
Union countries, or with the countries that have taken part in the
aggression on Yugoslavia, or with the neighboring countries, etc. The
answers are quite different. Except one. We are willing to cooperate
the whole world and hence with all the countries on our continent.
Obviously we are most interested in cooperation with the countries from
our own continent.
But for cooperation on equal footing. For cooperation that can help the
development of our country and for cooperation that will give us a
to help the development of others, of all. In all times, and especially
in our
times, everyone must rely on others, all communications are precious,
everyone can contribute to his wellbeing and that of others, at the same
time even.

With the neighboring countries we will implement cooperation -
and mutual to the extent that they are prepared and available for such
collaboration. This is also the case of our cooperation with Eastern
Europe countries. These countries can learn much from Yugoslav
experience, particularly from what happened to us this spring. From
experience we have drawn precious lessons and our conviction that we
must confront hegemonism partially results from those lessons.
As far as the countries that took part in the aggression on Yugoslavia
concerned, we will have relations with them as states, with their
and organizations, commensurate to their good will to help remove the
effects of the evil they have done to us.

The West should find the courage and moral strength to face the guilt
the crimes committed in the aggression on Yugoslavia. Otherwise it will
loose all self-respect. The longer it hesitates, the greater shall be
its shame.
And some new Willy Brandt will have to come up and tell the truth.

We often hear that the media have greatly contributed to the
creation of the bad image of our country. Can you draw a
comparison between foreign media and domestic media?

- In Yugoslavia, and primarily in Serbia, there' s absolute freedom in
operation of all media. Most of the media belongs to the private sector.
our country there's no state control of the media. However, a
percentage of television and radio stations and printed media is
and politically under the full control of given western governments or
institutions operating as non-government organizations and they have the
task to promote the destabilization of Yugoslavia, to discredit all the
efforts of the Yugoslav authorities for the reconstruction and
of the country, to stir up public diffidence, suspicion and intolerance
for all
that the legally elected government is doing, to depict in the worse
possible way government officials and their families, to belittle all
progressive and humane achievement made in our country, to question the
very sense of freedom, independence and patriotism, to represent our
people as inferior, stupid, retrograde and conservative unlike
"sophisticated" nations that are rational, educated, smart, progressive
Such "freedom" of the media, is obviously more than freedom. The Public
Information Law, passed by the Serbian Parliament two years ago,
prepared as a compilation of corresponding laws in a number of western,
introduced certain moderate means of protecting the truth, the dignity
the country and its citizens, the right of the individual not to be
i.e. to be protected from slander, intrigue etc. This law was greatly
opposed by a segment of opposition parties and part of the media sector
that are under foreign influence. Their objections have been promptly
echoed and joined by their mentors abroad that consult no one about the
laws they adopt in their own country, but deem themselves authorized to
shape the laws of other countries. On the other hand, they rigorously
apply far more radical and stricter laws not only on public media but
domains as well, and never dream of engage in polemics about those laws
with foreign governments or television stations.

Our institutions and individuals have made an effort to honor this law,
lately its enforcement is rather feeble and in practice we are nearly
back in
the phase of media irresponsibility that we faced in the past ten years

As far as the media abroad are concerned, in most countries, and
especially in developed western countries, the situation is quite
All media there - both private and state owned, are under intense
government control. All that the government deems contrary to the
interests of its current policy can not appear in the media, or it is
at the risk of facing diverse forms of retribution for going against the
will of
the authorities - such consequences can be financial, political, moral,
In western democracies, all media are dependent on their owner - state,
corporate or individual. Still, in final instance the state has the
decisive role
in the responsibility of the media. This is quite logical because modern
media play an important part in conflicts of interests, in clashes of
concepts, in creating the vision of global and regional development, in
determining the fate of the community and its individual members, in
shaping the life every single person.

What would you like to wish to the people of Yugoslavia for the
coming year 2000?

- I wish our country peace. That it may develop swiftly, successfully
in step with the times. I wish it to cooperate with the whole world, on
grounds of parity and mutual interest. The people of Yugoslavia, the
people of Serbia in particular, should never forget the violence we have
faced this year. The memory of all that evil shall shield us and other
nations from new, future violence.

The new century shall be better and nicer than this one only if mankind
manages to triumph against violence, first of all wars, but also against
other forms all the way down to the family level - between sexes and

Should the 21st century bring about the victory of peace, good will,
solidarity and equality among men, humanity shall be able to say that
the lives sacrificed throughout the centuries for those were not
in vain. That the enormous efforts to make those ideals come true made
by noble and courageous men throughout history had a purpose and
brought about results. I believe that in the coming century our people
achieve the tranquility and prosperity it well deserves. Therefore I
wish all
of us unity and concord that we may deserve and reach these happier
times - President Slobodan Miloševic said at the end of his interview
"Politika". H. D. A.

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