Two Republics Transform Selves Into a New, Smaller Yugoslavia
Two republics of Yugoslavia on Monday transformed the remains of their dismembered country into a new, Serbian-dominated state.
The “Federal Republic of Yugoslavia,” less than half the size of the defunct six-member federation, was proclaimed in the Belgrade Parliament by the republic of Serbia and its lone ally, tiny Montenegro. The new nation hopes to inherit the international recognition and privileges of the former Yugoslavia.
Leaders of the new country pledged that its formation would halt the ethnic war that destroyed the federation founded at the end of World War II. The war has claimed more than 10,000 lives since June, when Slovenia and Croatia seceded, followed by Bosnia-Herzegovina this year.
The United States and the 12 European Community nations boycotted a proclamation ceremony staged by Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, which included hoisting a new Yugoslav flag, the last in Europe to drop the Communist red star.
The European Community is likely to grant limited recognition while opposing the new Yugoslavia’s immediate entry into international bodies, Dutch spokesman Dig Istha said. EC foreign ministers meet Friday in Lisbon, Portugal, to discuss the status of the new state.
Macedonia also has broken from the federation but has not gained the same recognition as the other new states because of opposition by EC member Greece, which fears its own northern Macedonia region would be coveted by an independent Macedonia.
The West, weary of Balkan strife and wary of Milosevic’s pledges of peace, is demanding concrete action from Serbia to curb violence in Bosnia-Herzegovina and relinquish territory captured by Serbs there and in Croatia.
Hours after the proclamation, Bosnian authorities in Sarajevo ordered the federal army to remove its 100,000 troops in Bosnia. But Gen. Milutin Kukanjac, commander, earlier had told reporters the army will not withdraw.
The 51-member Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe has threatened to expel Yugoslavia if violence in Bosnia is not halted by Wednesday.
The new Yugoslavia pledged to respect international laws and to seek EC membership.