Foreign relations of Serbia and Montenegro

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This article is part of the series:
Politics and government of
Serbia and Montenegro

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Since the breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, the foreign policy of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (renamed Serbia and Montenegro in 2003) was characterized primarily by a desire to secure its political and geopolitical position and the solidarity of ethnic Serbs in the Balkan region through a strong nationalist campaign. Since October 2000, the country has worked to stabilize and strengthen its bilateral relationships with neighboring countries. In spring and summer 2002, Yugoslavia resolved its longstanding border dispute with Republic of Macedonia and established full diplomatic relations with its neighbor and former adversary Croatia. Although a difficult political issue domestically, Serbia has established a solid working relationship with UNMIK and has released all disputed ethnic Albanian prisoners from Kosovo to the competent UN bodies.

In 2002, the government established a commission to coordinate cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and began serving warrants for the arrest of indicted war criminals who have sought refuge in the country. The crackdown on organized crime following the assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Đinđić; also resulted in the apprehension and transfer to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in Hague of several persons indicted for war crimes.

Immediately preceding the NATO bombing campaign of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in spring 1999, the U.S. and most European countries severed relations with Yugoslavia, and the U.S. embassy was closed. Since October 5, 2000, foreign embassies, including that of the U.S., have reopened, and the country has regained its seat in such international organizations as the OSCE and the United Nations and is actively participating in IMF and World Bank projects. As of summer 2003, Serbia and Montenegro has been admitted to the Council of Europe and has indicated that it wishes to join NATO's Partnership for Peace.

Foreign Aid

Subsequent to the outbreak of hostilities with NATO, Belgrade received no foreign aid from the United States and other west European countries. Since October 2000, however, the European Union aid has steadily increased, and U.S. restrictions on aid have fallen away as the union of Serbia and Montenegro stepped forward to meet its international obligations. In June 2003, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell was able to certify that Serbia and Montenegro relationship with the Republika Srpska was consistent with the Dayton Accords, had released all political prisoners, and was cooperating with ICTY. As a result, the United States is now free to release aid money and support Serbia and Montenegro in international financial institutions, such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. Total U.S. aid to Serbia and Montenegro, including debt forgiveness, exceeded $180 million in fiscal year 2002. The U.S. is the single-largest donor of aid to Serbia and Montenegro.

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