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Thursday, 2 November, 2000, 22:34 GMT
Yugoslavia comes in from the cold
President, Vojislav Kostunica
Mr Kostunica waves hello to the international community
By south-east Europe analyst Gabriel Partos

The Yugoslav President's special envoy, Goran Svilanovic, has promised his country, under its new democratic administration, will be a trusted neighbour and a conscientious member of the international community.

Mr Svilanovic, who is tipped to become the new Yugoslav foreign minister, was speaking after his country was readmitted into the United Nations after an eight-year absence.

Goran Svilanovic
Goran Svilanovic attends a ceremony to raise the new Yugoslav flag at the UN
Since its emergence in 1992, the rump-Yugoslavia which ex-President Slobodan Milosevic established on the ruins of the old Yugoslavia has been something of an international pariah.

While the four other former Yugoslav republics - Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Slovenia - joined the UN and other international organisations, the new Yugoslavia of Serbia and Montenegro remained excluded.

Opening to the world

This was, in part, a case of self-exclusion. Belgrade's insistence on being recognised as the sole successor to the old Yugoslavia - and its consequent refusal to apply as a new member - has held up its accession to most of the key international organisations.

Last week, the new Yugoslav President, Vojislav Kostunica, put an end to this pointless debate by applying to join the UN.

Slobodan Milosevic
UN membership would have been problematic under Mr Milosevic
UN membership was not the first achievement of Mr Kostunica's opening to the world.

Yugoslavia also recently joined the Stability Pact for south-eastern Europe - the Western-sponsored grouping set up at the end of the Kosovo conflict in July 1999 to forge closer links between the Balkan states.

Until now Yugoslavia's exclusion from the Pact was viewed as creating something of an important missing piece from the jigsaw of regional co-operation.

Speedy procedure

The next step is likely to be Yugoslavia's admission to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), from which the old Yugoslavia was suspended in 1992.

Yugoslavia will have to apply as a new member to the OSCE - as it did with the UN.

Indeed, in the case of the OSCE - which acts through consensus - this is even more important because any of the other former Yugoslav republics could veto Belgrade's membership if they felt there was any hint that Belgrade still claimed the status of sole successor to the old federation.

The UN and the OSCE are, by nature, inclusive organisations: countries are only excluded in the most unusual circumstances.

President Bill Clinton
The US wants Yugoslavia to turn over war crimes suspects
That is why joining can be a speedy procedure. Already a member of the UN, Belgrade is expected to become an OSCE member by the end of the month.

Other organisations are more choosy.

Perhaps the most important of these for Belgrade are the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Without their assistance, economic recovery is difficult to envisage.

However, Belgrade will have to meet certain financial criteria before it can join these bodies.

Trade liberalisation

The United States and some of its allies may also want to use membership of the IMF and the World Bank as a lever to put pressure on Belgrade to co-operate with the international war crimes tribunal in The Hague and extradite suspected war crimes suspects.

Whether or not such pressure is applied on Yugoslavia, it is likely to take months before Belgrade can join the IMF and the World Bank.

Months - or perhaps years - are also the likely timetable for Yugoslav membership of other bodies, such as the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the Council of Europe.

In the case of the WTO, this would require extensive trade liberalisation.

With the Council of Europe, there would be a long list of human rights stipulations to meet - including fresh legislation on elections and the media, and abolition of the death penalty.

Meanwhile, in the much more immediate future - perhaps in the coming weeks - Belgrade is expected to restore diplomatic relations with the US, Britain, France and Germany which it broke off during Nato's air strikes against Yugoslavia.

It may even join Nato's Partnership for Peace co-operation programme - though that is not expected until some considerable time later.

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See also:

20 Oct 00 | Europe
Belgrade changes worry Kosovo
19 Oct 00 | Europe
Serbia's unfinished revolution
19 Oct 00 | Europe
Yugoslavia to join security body
16 Oct 00 | Europe
Deal breaks Serbia deadlock
27 Oct 00 | Europe
Yugoslavia seeks return to UN
02 Nov 00 | Europe
Belgrade frees Kosovo activist
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