SAT, 23 SEP 2000 13:16:22 GMT
AIM Athens, September 23, 2000
Prominent Greeks rushed to become "observers" of tomorrow's Yugoslav elections. Not really to be objective witnesses of any possible irregularities, but probably to do what so many other such Greek delegations have done in previous Yugoslav elections. In the past, they had issued dissenting statements blasting all other observers of such elections who had considered them as unfair: Greek observers (including in one case the at the time President of the Greek section of Amnesty International) considered all other international observers as participants in Western efforts to interfere in Yugoslav politics and overthrow the popular Milosevic regime.
This year's Greek delegation, invited by the Milosevic government, includes the whole leadership of the splinter socialist -and now extra parliamentary- party DIKKI of Mr. Tsovolas, who has repeatedly and publicly supported Milosevic even in the last party congress of the latter's Socialist Party. Also present, the Greek lawyer of the Milosevic family -and reportedly of other prominent persons indicted by the ICTY- Alexandros Lykourezos. Most prominent, the government (PASOK)'s former Foreign Minister and Chairman of the Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, Karolos Papoulias, who had a publicized meeting with current Foreign Minister George Papandreou before he left for Belgrade. The latter's views on the elections he pretends to observe were stated on 23 September at "Sky Radio."
"It is a crucial election in Yugoslavia. Of course, a pattern of the past seen again today has been the interference of all those forces who want to overthrow Milosevic. These forces can be found in the US or some European great powers. I consider unacceptable the EU's statement that says 'if you overthrow Milosevic you will eat in golden plates.' I think the Yugoslav people have many experiences and will go to the polls with their own experiences and will express their will. Regardless of the criticism we may make to President Milosevic, there is a stable basis in Yugoslavia's internal matters. Serbia's political life is characterized by patriotism and nationalism that will be expressed. The big question is if Milosevic looses what will be the attitude of the new president on the major national problem of Kosovo. Which will be the relation of Serbia with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia? And on the Montenegro factor, there is a threat not so much for the opponent of Milosevic but for the latter. I think it is the last trump card of all those who want to overthrow Milosevic is the use of Montenegro. But I am afraid that they should think over and over gain such a development. Because a new military intervention by NATO Nand the US and Great Britain will be a difficult one and will blow all of us away. Greek interests in our region and especially in Yugoslavia are completely different than those of the US and the large European countries."
One cannot wait to hear these observers' conclusions after the elections...