- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Breaking up

Diplomats at the Embassy of Serbia-Montenegro expect a smooth transition when the division of the hyphenated nation completes the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, which shattered amid bloodshed and genocide into five countries in the 1990s.

Ambassador Ivan Vujacic, now representing both entities, said yesterday that he will stay in Washington as ambassador from Serbia. The only Montenegrin diplomat at the embassy, Deputy Chief of Mission Nebojsa Cagorovic, will return to Montenegro for a new assignment.

Serbia will continue to occupy the embassy at 2134 Kalorama Road NW, which is rented from the Ethiopian Embassy. Montenegro has a trade mission on New Hampshire Avenue NW that could double as an embassy.

Mr. Vujacic said, “There was no reason for anyone to believe this [election] would not go smoothly.”

He noted that Serbia and Montenegro had agreed to abide by the results and that the referendum was guaranteed in the constitution.

Mr. Vujacic said official results of the referendum are expected by June 5, after the country’s election commission hears any demands for recounts or complaints about the voting.

In Belgrade yesterday, U.S. Ambassador Michael Polt applauded Montenegrin voters for their peaceful participation in Sunday’s independence referendum. Preliminary results showed that 55.5 percent of voters endorsed independence, which qualifies the fledgling nation for opening talks to join the European Union.

“I would like to congratulate the people of Montenegro on the peaceful, democratic and transparent manner in which the referendum was carried out,” Mr. Polt said. “The people and their leaders on both sides of the vote demonstrated political maturity in dealing with this historic occasion.”

Mr. Polt pledged U.S. support to help Serbia-Montenegro work out the details of their separation.

“The U.S. is firmly committed to supporting efforts in the region that will help achieve President Bush’s goal of a Europe whole, free and at peace.”

Serbian President Boris Tadic announced he recognized the outcome.

“As the president of Serbia, I am accepting the preliminary official results announced by the Republic Referendum Commission,” he said at a press conference in the Serbian capital.

Unlike in the 1990s when Serbia fought to preserve Yugoslavia, it had agreed before the election to abide by the results. The new and separate republics of Serbia and Montenegro will join Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Slovenia as six new nations that once made up Yugoslavia.

Jordan’s outreach

The Jordanian Embassy this week hired a North Carolina nonprofit research firm to “lead an aggressive outreach program” to increase Jordan’s exports to the United States and to attract U.S. investment to the kingdom.

RTI International will work to “expand on Jordan’s success in the apparel industry and will target other high value items, such as pharmaceuticals and information communications and technology to support Jordan’s growth as a technology and health care center in the Middle East,” the embassy said in announcing the contract.

Ambassador Karim Kawar said Jordan had become more attractive to foreign investors since King Abdullah II introduced broad-based economic reforms after ascending to the throne in 1999.

“Jordan’s progressive economic reforms, stable economic and political infrastructure and geographic location provide trade partners and investors with access to a dynamic regional market,” he said.

The Index of Economic Freedom, prepared by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal, ranks Jordan 57th in its annual survey of 161 nations. It noted that Jordan achieved annual growth of 6.1 percent in 2004, despite high unemployment, heavy foreign debt and costly oil imports.

• Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail [email protected]

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