[Menu] [dDH]   If you came here via a search engine looking for news: remember that search engines are never 'up to date'. But you are close, try our front door

Protests in Serbia Archive
Serbian Renewal Movement: News of Feb. 10

11th February, 1997

Eighty third day of the protest in Belgrade

At yesterday's meeting on Liberty square, President of Serbian Renewal Movement Vuk Draskovic informed the citizens that none of the Coalition ZAJEDNO representatives will enter neither the Serbian nor the Federal Parliament until all the mandates are recognized with respect to the OSCE report.

"We won't be present at the Serbian Parliament assembly and we have no business in such a parliament. The president of that Parliament is retiring already. A month ago he called us pro-fascistic , because we wanted to forcefully change the electoral will of the citizens. What we wanted to change using violence Serbian Parliament should adopt", said Vuk Draskovic.

The leader of SRM condemned the statement of the president of Serbian Parliament Dragan Tomic, in which he called the refugees from Bosnia and Croatia hooligans who left their homes at their own free will. Commenting that statement Vuk Draskovic said:

"Those words are made of disgrace and shame. This country made many people refugees and then treated them as enemies and what is more called them fascists. I couldn't imagine that somebody would dare say something like that in this town".

Commenting upon the suggestion that new mandatary of the Federal Government should be Radoje Kontic, Vuk Draskovic "congratulated" the president of the Federal state:

"If they looked for him with a lantern they couldn't find a better one. Unlike the current one (Radoje Kontic), who was non-aligned and didn't even interfere in his own business, , the new one (Radoje Kontic) will be firm, determined and unshakable". "You can be certain that the new Government will consist entirely of new men and it will definitely turn towards Europe and revival" - commented Vuk Draskovic upon the future members of the Federal Parliament.

After the leaders of the Coalition ZAJEDNO finished their speeches, the citizens dispersed.

Letter from DR.Lippel to Ljubisa Ristic and Zivadin Jovanovic

Delegation consisting of 3 MPs of Alliance 90/ The Greens in the Federal German Parliament and one MP of the European Parliament (Helmut Lippel, Gerd Poppe, Werner Schulz, Wolfgang Ullmann) visited Belgrade on 23rd and 24th January. After this visit, Dr. Helmut Lippelt wrote a letter addressed to the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Federal Parliament of Yugoslavia, Ljubisa Ristic, and to the Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Zivadin Jovanovic.

In his letter dr. Lippelt explains true reasons of his visit to Belgrade because the official media abused his visit and the discussions he had with the Serbian authorities.

When asking for their visas to come to Belgrade, dr. Lippelt' delegation was strongly urged by Yugoslav Government to not only meet the opposition (ZAJEDNO), but to hear the arguments of the governing parties of our country. He agreed to meet them because his democratic conduct demanded hearing both parties. "This was the only reason for our meeting you", said dr. Lippelt in his letter and added that they had not had the least intention of supporting Ristic or his Government.

Dr. Lippelt expressed great disappointment in the improper use of the official media for reporting only of the official position of the Government, whilst none of the delegation's statements during the discussion were even mentioned. In total contrast to what was really said, the statements were interpreted as support for the official position of the Belgrade Government.

Due to breaking the democratic principles dr.Lippelt and other members of the delegation informed in their letter of the true contents of their statements. They were as follows: "1. We have not come to Belgrade, nor have ever done so, as a "Fifth Column", so libeled by one of your Government's newspapers this very morning.
2. During the last two months, the non-violent democratic movement of the citizens of Belgrade and Serbia for the recognition of the elections of November 17th has won respect and admiration for your country in Germany and all over Europe. It has changed the image of your country.
3. It is not the dispute of different courts, but the political recognition of the result of the elections - as reported by the OSCE mission led by Mr. Gonzalez - that will be taken as a sign of democratic procedures finally being respected in Serbia.
4. In a democratic state, the competition for governmental power has to be accepted by all political actors, governments included. In Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, the ruling Communist parties learned this in the 1980's and 1990's and did reform themselves only after they had to form the opposition in democratic states. Evidently, the ruling Socialist Party of Serbia and its allies are not yet willing to accept these rules. But this will be the only way for your country to join western and eastern democracies and the European Union".

Reaction to the statement made by Dragan Tomic

In his statement the President of Serbia Dragan Tomic refers to refugees as to "the militant core of the Belgrade protest". Reacting to this statement, the President of the Society for Helping Refugees and Exiles in FR Yugoslavia said: "Tomic would have to reveal to public that core of demonstrations consisting of refugees, which is hidden or illegal to all of us. For such heavy political qualifications of refugees, it is necessary to produce evidence publicly. For that reason I recommend Dragan Tomic to think it over seriously, because his statement provokes refugees and practically compels them to take part in these protests."
The President of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights, Sonja Biserko, also reacts to the statement made by the President of the Serbian Parliament. She thinks that such a statement announces the deportation of refugees to Croatia and the Republic of Srpska.

Helsinki watch in Belgrade

These days the representatives of Helsinki Watch are staying in Belgrade. It is an organization concerned with the protection of human and civil rights and media liberation. The subject of their research is the political situation in Serbia, with the special reference to the cases of arresting and beating the citizens and to the liberation of media. After the research of the political situation in Serbia the data will be made public.

Press conference, 11th february 1997.

Speaking at today's press conference, Vuk Draskovic, President of the Serbian Renewal Movement, said that the attitude of the coalition ZAJEDNO regarding today's Serbian Parliament session is clear: the coalition will insist upon complete recognition of the OSCE report. Draskovic also pointed out that the leaders of the coalition ZAJEDNO are very suspicious about that and that they believe that Milosevic will continue to use deceit and theft. The protests of the coalition will continue until resolution has been made for every single elected representative.

Vuk Draskovic also talked about very intensive activities of the Coalition ZAJEDNO in foreign affairs. These activities, as Draskovic emphasized, prove the amount of support that the democratic Serbia receives from the democratic Europe. As a part of these international meetings the leaders of the Coalition ZAJEDNO will be staying in Madrid on 25th February, at the invitation of the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs. Vuk Draskovic and Vesna Pesic have also been invited by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Austrian Government to pay a visit to Vienna. The date of this visit has not been determined yet.

When asked to comment upon placing Radmila Milentijevic at the position of the Minister of Information, Draskovic said he was "amazed by Milosevic's ability to replace a bad thing by something even worse". He said this appointing was shameful. Namely, Draskovic thinks that her militant statements have long ago determined Radmila Milentijevic's status at the political scene of Serbia.

Asked whether the Coalition ZAJEDNO should develop into a unified party, Draskovic replied that it is still early for creating a single party, but that this is a moment when Coalition should be even more strengthened.

Regarding the recent events in Mostar, Draskovic reminded the journalists of his long-preceding warnings concerning the insufficient application of the Dayton treaty. Draskovic thinks that in this case the international community is hesitating to make more radical movements. There can be no solution to these problems until the people who have started the war withdraw from the political scene and until democratic forces take over their positions. These democratic forces have to fight for the right of all refugees to return to their homes, but also to make certain that anybody who committed a war crime should answer for it. Finally, Draskovic emphasized that the war crime is always an individual act and that there must be, and there is, no collective guilt.

[Menu] [dDH]