Interview with the President of Serbia-Montenegro Mr. Svetozar Marovic
His Excellency the President of Serbia-Montenegro
The President of Serbia-Montenegro
talks to the Police Review
The President of the Republic of Serbia-Montenegro Mr. Svetozar Marovic received us during his recent visit to Athens and shared with us his condescending, jovial, smiling and diplomatic skills. He is a major political figure in his country, well-known for his smooth personality, always tending to reconcile extremities. Both friends and foes know these assets of his and this is why he was the sole candidate for the Presidential office.
"Police Review": Mr. President, your country has gone through a terrible war ordeal in the past years, the impact of which has spilled over in the entire Balkan region. We all know that the origins of this ordeal are still tormenting your homeland. Would you be so kind as to comment these painful facts, taking into account the fact that the Greek Orthodox people has felt and continues to feel very close to your people?
During the nineties, Serbia, Montenegro and the other countries of former Yugoslavia have experienced a difficult period of dramatic conflicts, lack of confidence and pain. Thousands of peoples perished, hundreds of thousands became homeless and a lot of crimes were committed... At the end of the conflict and indeed, after the democratic wind of change that has blown in Serbia and in other countries of former Yugoslavia, the door is now open to establish relations of mutual friendship, to restore confidence and create cooperation activities. In a very short - from the historic point of view - time, we, all the people from Western Balkans have managed to develop friendly relations, to improve our level of cooperation and to embark - all of us together - on this painstaking but unavoidable process of facing the past and generating ambitions for a joint European orientation. In the past quite difficult years, Greece and its citizens have proved their original motives and their belief in the expression that "you will know who your friends are, when you need them". Huge amounts of humanitarian aid coming from Greece to Serbia and Montenegro, innumerous efforts to collect funds for rebuilding our country, hospitality extended to our children - mainly children of refugees - for a short or a long period of time in Greek families, all this is just a token of the Greek moves of true friendship and solidarity that we will never forget. Even today, as we speak, Greece realizes, being a true friend of ours, our goals and priorities and is helping us to achieve them. Greece has always been supportive to our ambitions towards the European road, which is our fundamental and true commitment. Greece - a member of NATO, a member of the European Union and a major shareholder in the region - is a key-partner for Serbia and Montenegro in our endeavor for European integration.
The lawyer Svetozar Marovic from Montenegro was elected as a first President of the union of Serbia and Montenegro on March 7th, 2003, less than a month after the fall of the former Federation of Yugoslavia.
Mr. Marovic was born on 1955 in the city Kotor; he studied law at the University of Podgorica. He is co-founder and vice-chairman of the Montenegro Socialist Democratic Party (DPS), which is in favor of independence. Mr. Marovic was the first elected member of the Parliament of Montenegro in 1990. He was three times elected President of the Parliament from 1994 to 2001 and he has been chairing the Parliamentary Commission of Foreign Affairs. He has also occupied the post of General Secretary and Vice-President of the Federation and Montenegro with DPS party.
On March 7th, 2003, in his first speech as President, Mr. Marovic said that this agreement leading to the creation of a new, loose Union between Serbia and Montenegro as "the first agreement really based on democratic principles". Mr. President said that during the three years before both Republics can choose to exit this Union, his main focus will be to improve quality of life for the people in Serbia-Montenegro. Mr. Marovic has also promised to cooperate with the International War Crimes Tribunal of the UN in the Hague.
Besides the fact that he is an active politician, the President of Serbia-Montenegro has written various articles in many everyday and weekly newspapers and magazines and he has also given the impetus for many cultural events in the town Budva.
Mr. Svetozar Marovic is married and a father of two.
P.R: "Your country is currently going through a period of reconstruction. To which point have you arrived in this process and how was the name "Serbia and Montenegro" born?"
This institutionalized relation between Serbia and Montenegro constitutes the first democratic - and maybe I should also add the word "European" - framework that Serbia and Montenegro have ever experienced ever since the beginning of their history, as old European states. Despite the fact that the essence of this relation is quite particular, non democratic aspirations are obstructed as well as any attempt whatsoever by one state to impose itself on the other. Serbia and Montenegro both aspire to create a united country in accordance with the European Union, willing to achieve common goals and quickly accede to the European institutions. The official name of our united country - Serbia and Montenegro - reflects in the best possible way the substance of our perspectives. Our practices, the democratic agreements we conclude and everything else we do tend to the same direction, as I have already pointed out, that is to join as soon as possible the European family.
P.R: "What was the role played by the Serbian Police during the war and what has it become today?"
In the period of conflict in former Yugoslavia and Kosovo, during the eighties, some parts of our police forces have been used in the wrong way by the non democratic forces of power in the Milosevic regime in Belgrade. The International Tribunal in the Hague and our national courts have been judging up till today all the actions of abuse and crime that were committed by the security forces in the nineties. Certainly, we should make the distinction for each liability in cases of domestic and international law-breaking and this is also true for Police Officers. This is the only way we have so as to fully and truly confront our recent past. Today, the polices forces of Serbia and Montenegro are under absolute democratic and public control and the changes brought about in this domain and generally speaking, in the entire security framework, are subject to the relative international concepts. In other words, the police exclusively deal with the protection of citizens, public security and order, thus aiming to protect all our democratic achievements and to suppress all forms of crime. The police forces in Serbia and Montenegro have risen up to a very high level of cooperation with co-competent services in the region and this is indeed of paramount importance. Taking into consideration the fact that the Balkans are a crossroad linking the East to the West, common efforts need to be deployed to prevent all forms of international organized crime.
P.R: "What is the level of cooperation between our countries?"
The strong, historic and friendly relation between Serbia-Montenegro and Greece constitutes the most important foundation to improve any form of cooperation in the field of politics, economy, culture, sports or education... We, in Serbia-Montenegro are proud that Greece is the second largest investor in the business world of our country. This is sound proof of the fact that the Greek investors realize that Serbia and Montenegro can indeed offer a quite good environment for work and business. This is also the best message we can send to all other developed countries and their corporate world, in other words that they should also come and invest in our country.
P.R: "The Balkan Agreement of Friendship was signed in 1934, setting the foundations of cooperation between all Balkan countries. Despite the fact that that Agreement had a short duration, would we be right to assume that it can be a model and example of cooperation and friendship that should be enhanced in the Balkan countries?"
The Balkans were an unstable territory in the course of history; this is why various efforts have been made from time to time, with the help of various Agreements, in order to secure a peaceful and stable environment. Nevertheless, all these Agreements did not really take into account the fact that a viable solution cannot be achieved, unless we deal with the Balkans as an integrated entity. The historic opportunity rises now before us to secure stability, safety and growth in the entire region, through the European integration process. We have all detected this unique opportunity and I am confident that we will not lose it. The European Union is the ultimate framework, providing the democratic solution to all our problems, taking into consideration not only the reality in the region but also the fundamental European values. The more European ideals, rules and values we adopt in the Balkans, the less will be the risk of "Balkanization" in the region. By the term "Balkanization" I mean, of course, the notion of conflicts, misinterpretations and isolation!
P.R: "Thank you very much for your time!"
I thank you too and I wish for your magazine to always reach more and more readers! Keep up the good work!
Interview: Police Captain Areti K. Liassi