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EDITIONS
Friday, 14 February, 2003, 12:08 GMT
Press bids farewell to Yugoslavia
Yugoslavian deputies
Parliament voted itself out of existence

Newspaper front pages in Serbia and Montenegro on Wednesday said goodbye to the former state of Yugoslavia, but there seems little enthusiasm for the looser union which takes its place.

In the republics which broke away from Yugoslavia in the 1990s, some papers are openly scornful of the birth of the new state.

"Farewell to Yugoslavia, new start for Serbia and Montenegro" says the front-page headline of the leading, pro-government Belgrade daily Politika .

The paper notes that the "historic day" on which parliament dissolved the federation took place "without historic flourishes" and with "doubts about the longevity of the new state union".

Trial run

Mass-circulation daily Vecernje Novosti runs the headline "Goodbye, Yugoslavia!" over a background of the colours of the Yugoslav flag.

"Solemnly, with few words and without pompousness, with applause instead of an anthem, the new state union - Serbia and Montenegro - was declared last night in the federal parliament building," the paper declares.

"Champagne for a state on a trial run" is the headline in daily Glas Javnosti which notes that after three more years of "joint life" Serbia and Montenegro will have the right to choose whether to stay united or part ways.

Mass-circulation tabloid Blic relegates the story to page two, and also gives prominence to the fact that the new state has "an expiry date" - 4 February 2006, after which a referendum on the future of Serbia and Montenegro will take place.

Few regrets

In Montenegro, the pro-government Publika runs the headline: "No more Yugoslavia".

I have no strength left to express my grief for Yugoslavia

Writer Dobrica Cosic

It gives front-page prominence to Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic's welcoming of the new arrangement as the "logical and just end of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia".

Among the few expressions of regret for the passing of the old Yugoslavia, one by well-known writer and former Yugoslav president Dobrica Cosic stands out.

"I have no strength left to express my grief for Yugoslavia", Mr Cosic writes in a front page commentary in pro-federal Dan daily, saying that he grieves for the passing of the Yugoslav idea.

'Solania'

But these sentiments are a far cry from the view of Slovenian daily Delo, which describes the dissolution as "the death of Serboslavia".

The new union is already ridiculed and declared a 'Solania'

Novi List, Croatia

The last remains of the Yugoslav state "died yesterday in a play which was more in the nature of burlesque than tragedy", the paper says.

It claims that Serbia's political elite had seen Yugoslavia as an extended Serbia and this is why Yugoslavia as a union of equal republics was destined to fail.

Croatian daily Novi List says that the new union "is already ridiculed and declared a 'Solania'", a reference to EU High Representative Javier Solana.

The EU was instrumental in convincing Montenegro to shelve plans for independence and stay with Serbia for now in a revamped state.

"Since 1918, this is the seventh name change of a state which has continuously existed since Yugoslavia was first proclaimed," the daily points out.

"It is also intriguing," it says, "that the 60-year-olds of the hitherto Federal Republic of Yugoslavia will wake up today in their fourth state, without even changing their abodes."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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28 Jan 03 | Europe
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