European Stability Initiative - ESI - 22 February 2020, 07:41

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Fears of war

Montenegrin special police Kosovo refugees at the Montenegrin border
Montenegrin special police - Kosovo refugees at the Montenegrin border

The most dangerous moment in the cold war between Serbia and Montenegro came with the 1999 Kosovo war and its aftermath. The Montenegrin government had declared itself to be neutral in the conflict. It had also given sanctuary to some 40,000 Kosovo Albanian refugees. This put Montenegro on the side of the West against Milosevic's Serbia.

Tensions in the country ran high. Supported by western governments, the Montenegrin authorities build up their police forces. Estimates put the number of Montenegrin police at 10,000-15,000 police, including up to 1,500 well-equipped special police.

They faced the Yugoslav army stationed on Montenegrin territory: 7,000 troops, mostly conscripts but including some 1,100 men of the 7th military police battalion. President Djukanovic described these in March 2000 as a paramilitary unit loyal to Milosevic "to overthrow the government." Yugoslav army troops conducted house-to-house searches and threatened political allies of Djukanovic. A series of smaller incidents happened through 1999 and 2000:

"On the night of 8-9 December 1999, the Yugoslav Army seized the civilian part of Podgorica airport, after Montenegro had declared it to be Montenegrin government property and had started to build hangars for police helicopters.

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Post-modern Nation - Montenegro one year after independence

  1. Fault line of civilisations?
  2. Tribal reputation
  3. Facing the past
  4. The threat of civil war
  5. Cold war with Serbia (1997-2000)
  6. Fears of war
  7. Building institutions
  8. A short history of "Solania"
  9. Independence
  10. First stop: Europe's youngest capital
  11. Podgorica
  12. Near Podgorica: KAP and FDI
  13. Second stop: the North after independence
  14. Tribes and clans
  15. Wild beauty
  16. "Little Montenegro"
  17. Northern politics in 2007
  18. Third Stop: the Adriatic Coast
  19. Multiethnic Bar
  20. Catholics and Orthodox in Sutomore
  21. Kotor between East and West
  22. Montenegro's economic motor: Tourism
  23. Into the mountains
  24. Fourth stop: Cetinje
  25. Symbols of statehood
  26. The fight over orthodoxy

© European Stability Initiative - ESI 2020
22 February 2020, 07:41