Montenegro Willing To Pay War Damages To Croatia
PODGORICA, Serbia-Montenegro (AP)--Montenegro is willing to pay an unidentified sum of money to Croatia for damages inflicted during the 1991 war, Montenegro's President Filip Vujanovic said Friday.
Vujanovic spoke after meeting Croatia's Stipe Mesic in the Montenegrin capital, Podgorica, at the end of Mesic's three-day visit to Serbia-Montenegro, the country that has replaced ex-Yugoslavia.
The visit was part of efforts to patch up ties after a series of conflicts that followed the bloody breakup of the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s.
Croatia declared independence from the Yugoslav federation in 1991, triggering a rebellion by its minority Serbs.
The Yugoslav army bombed Croatia's ancient coastal city of Dubrovnik while its troops and volunteers, including those from Montenegro, moved in and looted the property in the Konavle region, near Dubrovnik.
Mesic and Vujanovic did not specify how much Montenegro would pay Croatia in war damages. There was also no immediate reaction from Serbia - the main player in the conflict - with which Montenegro remains tied in a loose union.
But Vujanovic's statement reflect a readiness by Montenegrin leaders to acknowledge the role of the Montenegro citizens in the conflict.
Mesic said the agreement was mutual and that "it is only a question of time" until Montenegro's payment materialized.
"They (Montenegro) cannot return the cattle that were taken from Konavle, or equipment from the (Dubrovnik) airport, but there should be financial compensation," Mesic added.
"The inflicted damage is evident, and Montenegro intends to repay it," Vujanovic said.
The payment is not related to lawsuits brought by Croatia and Bosnia before the International Court of Justice at The Hague, Netherlands, against Serbia-Montenegro. The suit could lead to a ruling that would include compensation for war damages.
Earlier on his visit, Mesic also met with Serbian officials in Belgrade and visited the U.N.-run province of Kosovo, which formally is part of Serbia-Montenegro but has been a U.N. protectorate since 1999.
July 08, 2005