Ex-U.S. envoy "made sure Koštunica would lose elections"

When the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) lost elections in 2008, it was "the revenge of then U.S. Ambassador Cameron Munter", a Belgrade tabloid is reporting.

Vojislav Koštunica (file)
Vojislav Koštunica (file)

Blic quotes an article published in the Foreign Policy magazine, which says Munter's vengeance was prompted by the fact he was "in possession of evidence that then Serbian PM Vojislav Koštunica personally approved the attack and did noting in order to arrest those responsible for setting the U.S. embassy on fire".

The embassy came under attack after the unilateral declaration of independence made by ethnic Albanians in Kosovo in February 2008, which was supported by the U.S. and a number of other western countries.

Munter's statements published by the magazine and carried by the Serbian daily were taken from his book entitled, "America's Other Army: The U.S. Foreign Service and 21st Century Diplomacy".

Once he had the evidence against Košutica, the Foreign Policy article says, Munter was "going to ensure the prime minister was gone and that the best revenge was making sure this guy lost the next election".

The former ambassador explained that he determined that Košunica's chances to be reelected as Serbia's premier would be diminished if the support of Ivica Dačić's Socialists (SPS) was taken away.

In the book, he explains how he went about accomplishing this task:

"We got him to flip over and join the pro-Europeans. We didn't pay him off; we just persuaded him. What he really wanted was international legitimacy. So we got (Jose Luis Rodríguez) Zapatero, the Spanish prime minister at the time, and George Papandreou, the future Greek prime minister, who ran Socialist International at the time, to invite Dačić to visit them abroad, where they wined and dined him. They told him they would let him in (to the Socialist International) if he joined the pro-European forces, and he did. He put a knife in Koštunica's back."

The article went on to say that "Munter got his revenge: Koštunica's party lost the election", while "Dačić's party didn't join Socialist International" - but he "became deputy prime minister and rose to prime minister four years later.

DSS reacts

The Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) on Saturday in Belgrade reacted to the report by denying that Vojislav Koštunica was "personally responsible" for the embassy incidents.

Party spokesman Petar Petković said in a statement that Munter was reaching for "huge and coarse deception" when he said Koštunica had "set anything on fire".

"On the other hand," continued the spokesman, "It is true that half of Serbia was set on fire and thousands of innocent people killed during the (1999 NATO) aggression against Serbia."

The former U.S. ambassador to Serbia is also described as "a good example of a person attempting to use untruths to cover up the evils perpetrated by his country against Serbia, starting with the (NATO) bombing, via the recognition of Kosovo, and all the way to the direct meddling in the formation of Serbia's government."

"Using the tried and tested method used in Račak, Merkale, and other crimes that were purposefully assigned to Serbs, the setting on fire of the U.S. embassy represents a devious attempt to shift the blame to innocent people," Petković pointed out.

As far as the Serb people are concerned, Munter's intentions are transparent, and "more than obvious", he added.

The DSS, the spokesman noted, will resolutely stand up to any attempt to criminalize the party because it is fighting against the disintegration of Serbia and against the country's placement under NATO's control.

"Koštunica adheres to justice and law, leaving the lies and force to Munter," Petković concluded.