By Tamara Zamyatina and Nikolai Kalintsev
BELGRADE March 28 (Itar-Tass) - Serbia is celebrating Republic Day on Saturday. On this occassion the Yugoslavian statesmen and leaders of the ruling Socialist Party of Serbia have addressed congratulation telegrammes to Serbian President Milan Milutinovic. Timed for the holiday was a large amnesty of convicts.
Nine years ago, on March 28, 1989, on agreement with the parliaments of the Autonomous Territory of Voevodina and the Autonomous Territory of Kosovo, the parliament of Serbia adopted a new constitution of the republic, restoring the statehood of Serbia, which was curtailed during Tito's rule in 1974 by means of the basic law of the former Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia. According to the 1974 constitution, the republic was in fact split into three state units -- Serbia proper, the Autonomous Territories of Voevodina and Kosovo, which had practically equal rights at federal level.
The new constitution laid down the status of the Republic of Serbia, comprising two autonomous territories, but vested with legal powers on the entire territory of the country. According to this document, the authorities of the two autonomies cannot alter the constitutional system of Serbia. Some historians presume that the consolidation of Serbia within the Socialist Federative Republic of Yugoslavia provoked the known separatist tendencies in the other constituent republics and eventually led to the disintegration of former Yugoslavia. Official historians, on the contrary, claim that Serbia would have lost Voevodina and Kosovo after the collapse of the federative state.
National conflicts grew particularly acute within Serbia proper after the adoption of the 1989 constitution, especially inKosovo, which was called in it the Autonomous Territory of Kosovo and Metohjia. After that the two million Albanians, living in that part of the country, began to ignore the state institutions of Serbia, including the eduction and public health systems. They refuse to take part in nationwide elections, are electing unlawful parallel governing bodies and fighting for independence.
The crisis, which lately came to a head in Kosovo, is attracting the attention of all the world community, which is endeavouring to resolve by political means the problem of the Albanian national minority within the bounds of Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia by promoting local self-government.
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