Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Montenegro to Serbia: "Good Riddance."

After reviewing the situation, I realized that there was not as much to say about this topic as I originally planned. In that cause, let's make this short, sweet and bullet-pointed:
  • Overall, declaring their independence from Serbia will be a good thing for Montenegro. It has been assumed, at least since 2003, that this would happen.
  • It is good because Montenegro can cleanse itself of any relation to Serbia. This is important as Montenegro desires to become part of the European Union(EU) and eventually the North Atlantic Treaty Organization(NATO). Serbia still has two major questions to answer for in the wake of Slobodan Milosevic and the 1990's.
  • First, there is the question of turning over war criminals that should be prosecuted under the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. This is one of the major stumbling blocks to Serbia integrating itself into any larger European framework. If they are seen to still be hiding war criminals, no moves can be taken. Montenegro has dodged this bullet, so to speak, by making this latest move.
  • Second, there is the unresolved issue of Kosovo. The United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) with the enforcement of NATO's KFOR still controls this province of Serbia. What the settlement will be is still up in the air, but a decision is set for some time this year. Montenegro, I am sure, finds this a prospect devoutly to be missed.
  • Serbia inherits all of the international memberships of the (now) former Republic of Serbia and Montenegro. This is exactly how the Montenegrins wanted it. They want to be "integrated" on their own terms and not as a partner to the Serbs.
  • Montenegro, if you look at the map, by making this move has cut Serbia off from access to the Adriatic Sea. You can count on this being a major bargaining chip for the Montenegrins in negotiating use rights and access for the Serbs, for which the Serbs will doubtless be made to pay dearly.

Of course, this is a "watch-and-see" situation, but if the record of the war crimes tribunals are any indication, this might take a while. Montenegro will be much better off generally when separated from Serbia. Now, the Montenegrin government must take care to mind its own problems (organized crime, for a start) and make a clean break.

Further Reading

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