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Monday, April 12, 1999 Published at 19:34 GMT 20:34 UK

Serbia hails union with Russia, Belarus

Daily protests against Nato air strikes continue

Serb radio on Monday broadcast Yugoslav Prime Minister Momir Bulatovic's address to parliament on the day that the MPs voted in favour of joining a proposed union with Russia and Belarus.

Kosovo: Special Report
The prime minister described joining the union as being of "historic importance", saying the three states would be able to protect their national interests together.

"This union will create conditions for the peoples of Russia, Belarus and Yugoslavia to join forces and, based on a new turning point in civilisation, protect their vital state and national interests and once more immeasurably contribute to the just goals of peace and co-operation in Europe and the world.

"Yugoslavia joining the Union of Russia and Belarus will facilitate the economic, cultural and general development of our countries and peoples. The union will be of particular significance in fighting for peace and security in Europe," he said.

He added that "aggressor countries" had rejected Yugoslav-Russian proposals to end the conflict in Yugoslavia and accused the USA and Nato of trying to impose itself as a single power on the whole world.

President Bulatovic also informed President Slobodan Milosevic of the decision, saying that the move to join the union would strengthen economic, scientific, cultural and technological developments between the three countries.

Montenegrins 'dissatisfied' with media

The Yugoslav news agency, Tanjug, has said people in Montenegro are unhappy with coverage by state radio and television of current events, particularly the Nato air raids on Serbia.

[ image: Yugoslav Federation MPs voted to join the Slavic union]
Yugoslav Federation MPs voted to join the Slavic union
It was quoting the results of a poll carried out by the Podgorica daily Dan.

The daily was quoted as saying that the media were "either not objective, have incorrect sources of information or... are selecting in a strange way."

It said some people were demanding that Montenegrin Radio-Television broadcast the Radio Television Serbia programme and that the broadcasting of foreign radio stations be prohibited.

The Montenegrin Information Secretariat said on Saturday that it would ignore a request by the Yugoslav army to ban the rebroadcasting of foreign news programmes.

Killing of journalist unreported

Serb radio and TV failed to report the killing of one of Serbia's leading independent editors on Sunday which sent shockwaves through Yugoslavia's independent media. Slavko Curuvija, who owned the Dnevni Telegraf paper, was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in a Belgrade street.

He had been in conflict with the authorities for many months over the paper's reporting policy.

Tanjug reported briefly that an investigation was under way into the shooting of Curuvija, whom it described as a "prominent Belgrade journalist".

'Patriotic' images

Serb TV carried video of Australian aid worker Steve Pratt saying that he was in Yugoslavia to spy for Nato.

It also broadcast a 10-minute segment of "patriotic" images, featuring attractive parts of the country, children at play, workers in factories, farmers tilling land, images of the Yugoslav Army, all interspersed with brief flashes of President Milosevic smiling while meeting ordinary citizens followed by a programme of patriotic music.

Nato strikes received meagre coverage with a brief report by the Serb-backed Pristina media centre saying one of those killed in bombing raids on the town of Podujevo in Kosovo on Saturday was a baby girl.

On Sunday, Serbian TV showed a video approximately 30 seconds long mocking statements by US President Bill Clinton, US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and Foreign Secretary Robin Cook in which they say they want a diplomatic and political solution to the Kosovo crisis.

The station also mocked Mr Clinton by showing a video clip of a young man finding a voodoo doll in an art exhibition and Clinton reacting in a "strange way" every time the man touched the doll.

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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