02 April 2006

"Be prepared" for Albanians' "next step", Serbian commentary warns Montenegro

BBC Monitoring European. London: Feb 8, 2006. pg. 1


Text of commentary by "BP" entitled "Montenegro, be prepared" published by Serbian newspaper Politika on 4 February


George Bush and Bono were the stars at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington this year. The US President traditionally plays host to the occasion so it is no surprise that he addressed the gathering. The Irish musician said he climbed the rostrum to persuade rich Americans to give more money to the poor. Whether he has succeeded remains to be seen. At the end, the president and the singer - who claims to have the messiah complex - embraced.


Meanwhile, about 200 people were demonstrating in front of the hotel, seeking to attract attention, claiming that an entire nation in Montenegro was oppressed. They said there were 250,000 of them in Montenegro and that the brutal regime in Podgorica was depriving them of human rights.


But you are wrong if you think that the protesters were supporters of the union of Serbia-Montenegro or strict non-smokers protesting over the tobacco scandal. The demonstrations were staged by Albanians who allege that [Montenegro's capital of] Podgorica is persecuting their fellow nationals by "applying force and destroying property".


Former US Congressman Joseph Diogardi, who has been lobbying for Kosovo's independence for years, denies he had any part in organizing the protest, but agreed about the assessment on human rights violations.


"Albanians in Presevo, Montenegro, everywhere....[ellipsis as published] want the same rights as the Serbs demand in Kosovo," Diogardi said shamelessly.


He then laid out the situation for the Montenegrin prime minister. "If Djukanovic wants independence from Serbia, he must ask Albanians for support, but instead he violates their rights," said the former congressman and called for the unification of all territories populated by Albanians, from Montenegro, Kosovo and southern Serbia, to northern Greece.


This could scarcely be the kind of campaign that Djukanovic would want. It could even be a signal on the kind of opponents he will gain among former friends, should Montenegro become independent.


The protest in front of the Hilton in Washington during the Prayer Breakfast and Diogardi's statement are merely an introduction to the next step by the Albanian lobby. Montenegro, be prepared.


Credit: Politika, Belgrade, in Serbian 4 Feb 06