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Appeal to Western Democracies

We address you on behalf of the large Montenegrin diaspora, which observes the political events in our homeland Montenegro with great concern and with high hopes.

With the constitutional referendum in Montenegro at hand, our concern is caused both by far-reaching divisions within Montenegro itself regarding the basic issues of its future as a State, and by the predominantly negative attitude of some high factors of international politics towards legitimate Montenegrin aspirations.

A recent statement by the French President, Mr. Jacques Chirac, has made the most unfavorable impression upon us. In our opinion, it is politically unfair and legally baseless, because it rejects in advance the plebiscitary will of the Montenegrin people (i.e., the citizens of Montenegro), asserting that the European union would not recognize an independent State of Montenegro! It is devastating that a politician of his caliber can make such a grave faux pas, not only revealing animosity against a European people and its State, but also undermining the entire democratic credibility of French politics with regard to the realization of the European-community-of-free-States project.

It is our basic assumption that you definitely should not find it incomprehensible or unacceptable that the State of Montenegro requests that at last an adequate solution be found regarding its status.

Please accept that for some years already Montenegro has been placed in a legally and politically untenable situation: neither within Yugoslavia, nor outside of it! It is fully out of balance, remaining on the one hand in the Yugoslav autocratic past, while on the other hand it has stepped forth into its democratic European future. It is no longer willing to tread the old ways, and not yet able to tread the new ones.

We would like to draw your attention to the fundamental legal and political fact that Yugoslavia no longer exists and that Yugoslavia is not possible as a democratic federal State. Its actual key institutions (the President, the Government, the Parliament and the Armed Forces of the FRY) are Yugoslav in name only, while de facto and de jure they are all Serbian. This they have been under the dictatorship of Slobodan Miloševiæ, and this they have remained to this day. It is therefore illusory to expect that a solution could be found within this phantomlike institutional framework, according to the shallow formula: a democratic Montenegro in a democratic Yugoslavia .

As you know, the old Yugoslavia (SFRY) no longer exists; this fact has been legally certified by the Badinter’s Commission back in 1991. Most of the States --- republics, members of the disintegrated federation --- expressed their will for independence by way of referendum. Alas, Montenegro was not among them.  It was the only State-member of the former SFRY which opted through a questionable referendum in 1992 for the continuation of Yugoslavia (as FRY).

This decision soon proved to be a fatal illusion, since every single element of Montenegro’s statehood as the second federal State has been brought into question in the new, nominally common State (the so-called Federal State of Yugoslavia). It is not only as a result of this repeated, painful experience of a common State, but also as a result of the bold and consistent activity of progressive political forces and the majority of Montenegrin intellectuals who resisted dictatorship, war, and ethnic cleansing, that Montenegro has finally come to its senses in the last years and has broken away from the hegemonic embrace. The majority in Montenegro is no longer held captive by the illusion of Yugoslavianism, because through its resistance to Serbian hegemony it realized that it can survive only by means of thoughtful establishment of all instruments of its statehood. Herewith we primarily refer to the economic, monetary and legal-political instruments.

The Montenegro of today is a sovereign State in almost every respect, and it is as such willing and compelled to redefine in a principled manner its relations with Serbia as a State. This is the purpose and the content of the Montenegrin referendum scheduled for the spring of 2002.

We the Montenegrin diaspora await this referendum with high hopes, convinced that the majority of the citizens shall democratically express their political will to affirm Montenegro as an international legal subject, as a member of the UN. It is, however, not our intention to impose wise decisions from the outside onto Montenegrin citizens. Similarly we feel we have the right to expect from you, too, not to reach decisions either without them or against them!

We therefore address this appeal to you in the hope that you will invest your authority in the creation of a democratic and rational atmosphere surrounding the preparations for and the carrying out of the referendum.  By your active neutrality you will enable all actors of the Montenegrin political process to conduct the public debate regarding the solution of the Montenegrin national question in the spirit of tolerance and factual discussion.

In this way you can positively assist the Montenegrin political body in accomplishing the prevalence of the force of argument over the argument of force, in removing the tenacious illusions with regard to Yugoslavianism, which are still present in a part of the Montenegrin people, and in preventing the anti-constitutional activities of extremist anti-Montenegrin political forces, which openly and aggressively deny the Montenegrin State itself.

The Montenegrin World Association, an independent and nongovernmental organization consisting of national communities of Montenegrins from 17 countries all over the world, is convinced that it is the legal obligation and the fundamental interest of the international community to enable the Montenegrin people and, of course, also the Serbian people to decide by free and democratic will whether to effectuate sovereignty independently or in a redefined State-union with a sovereign Serbia. The aspirations of the Montenegrin people do not in any way exceed the legal and civilizational achievements upon which all democratic States in Europe are building their future.

Please accept our highest regards.

President of the Montenegrin World Association 
Blazo Sredanovic 


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