Montenegrin trade union conference proposes international mediator to set peace in the Balkans as basis for economic recovery

ICFTU Online..., 103b/980430/DD, 30 April 1998

Cetinje, April 30, 1998 (ICFTU OnLine): Trade Unionists at a Conference dealing with Reform Process in Montenegro which looked at restructuring the economy, privatisation and methods of dealing with poverty, stressed that peace in the region is vital for their country's economic revival. The reform process which Montenegro has embarked on would be destroyed by conflicts in neighbouring areas say trade unionists, and international mediation must be used to stop the crisis.

At the Conference Montenegrin trade unionists underlined the country's need to recentre the international community if it is to rebuild its shattered economy. They believe that this will not be possible unless there is peace in neighbouring Kosovo.

Earlier this month President Djukanovic visited Western capitals in order to re-establish links with the international community, because of his concern that the current policy in Kosovo, which he has labelled “illogical, detrimental and destructive” would lead to further isolation of Montenegro, including the loss of desperately needed foreign investment to help rebuild the country.

James Howard, ICFTU economist, said that the international trade union movement believed that outside intervention could resolve the crisis, and likened the situation to that of Northern Ireland where “the recent peace proposals were brokered by a mediator from the United States who was seen as neutral by all parties”.

The two-day trade union conference hosted by the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Montenegro welcomed trade unionists from Montenegro, Serbia, Croatia, France, Britain, the United States and Italy, and representatives of the Public Services International, International Metalworkers Federation and International Labour Organisation.

The Brussels-based International Confederation, which is supporting the conference has 125 million members represented through 206 affiliates in 135 countries.

Contact: ICFTU-Press at: ++32-2 224.02.12 (Brussels).