Hope on the Balkans Kosov@ Crisis 2000
Serbian police guard Milosevic at Montenegrin rally
BERANE, Wednesday -- Serbian police and Yugoslav Army troops stood guard at a Montenegrin Socialist People's Party campaign rally at Berane Military Airport this afternoon as Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic spoke.
The president, speaking to a crowd estimated at 15,000, said that the people of Montenegro were for the first time in their history defending themselves with their honour, rather than by arms.
Milosevic described Serbs and Montenegrins as giants facing a menagerie of rabbits, rats and hyenas who wanted to turn a giant nation into a curly poodle which its owner could play with whenever he was bored.
The would-be conquerors of Yugoslavia, said Milosevic, had begun by bribing Montenegro with small amounts of money which would later be increased if it were not enough. Thus Montenegro, he said, was now on trial in the face of its entire history. The Yugoslav president asked whether Montenegrins were prepared to give up their freedom and independence, their history, and their life in a joint state with Serbs for the promise of a high standard of living. Serbs and Montenegrins, he said should be clever and brave enough in the interest of their survival and in a federation if possible. However, he warned, if either of the two nations were weak, there would be no great wisdom in federation.
The rally was also addressed by the party's leader, Federal Prime Minister Momir Bulatovic and the head of the Yugoslav Army, Nebojsa Pavkovic.
Bulatovic said earlier today that it was not possible that the federal president could be arrested in Montenegro, "because a mouse could not catch a cat".
Berane Mayor Sveto Mitrovic told media this morning that he was not interested in welcoming Milosevic to the town.
Serbia's state media network threw its program schedule out of the window today to cover Milosevic's campaign rally. The coverage was carried by every television channel seen in Belgrade.
Radio Television Serbia reported that Milosevic arrived with his son Marko and that more than 100,000 Montenegrins turned out to greet him. Independent media estimate the number at 15,000.
The visit was Milosevic's first to Montenegro since he began his term as Yugoslav president and the first time he has stepped outside Serbia since the NATO bomb attacks on Yugoslavia last year.
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