New Federal Government Approved With PM-Yugoslavia
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) _ Yugoslavia’s federal parliament approved a new Cabinet today, and it includes several prominent allies of Serbia’s hard-line president, Slobodan Milosevic.
But the post of finance minister will remain vacant for now because of a disagreement between Serbia and Montenegro, the only republics left in Yugoslavia.
Premier Radoje Kontic gave lawmakers a gloomy report on Yugoslavia’s economy, which has been crippled by U.N. sanctions imposed last May to punish Milosevic for fomenting war in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia.
Those two former Yugoslav republics and Slovenia and Macedonia all have seceded from the Balkan federation since 1991. In a veiled warning to Montenegrin nationalists and to Serbia’s Kosovo province, which is dominated by ethnic Albanians, Kontic said there could be no more secessions.
″The union of Serbia and Montenegro shall be defended with all the means at our disposal,″ he said.
The new Cabinet includes Vladislav Jovanovic as foreign minister and Slobodan Ignjatovic as information minister. Both are supporters of Milosevic.
Jovanovic has previously served as foreign minister, and Ignjatovic has been director of TV Belgrade - Milosevic’s main propaganda mouthpiece.
The dispute over the finance minister post illustrates growing differences between Serbia and Montenegro over the civil wars in the Balkans.
Serbia wants to control the Finance Ministry so it can continue its policy of printing money to finance wars in neighboring Croatia and Bosnia and curb growing social unrest at home.
That has angered many Montenegrins, who feel unfairly targeted by the U.N. sanctions.
In his report to parliament, Kontic said Yugoslavia was entering ″a period with possibly disastrous consequences.″
Almost 60 percent of the workforce is idled, monthly inflation has topped 200 percent and the gross national product is reported to have fallen 40 percent.