The horrendous terrorist attacks in the USA have made their impact on the situation in Serbia, as well.
- There has been no information so far on any panic among American citizens or overt fear for the American objects on the Serbian territory. There was a meeting of the highest Yugoslav officials Tuesday evening local time, after which Federal Interior Minister Zoran Zivkovic stated Yugoslav authorities were on a state of alert, and additional security forces would start protecting the American Embassy and all the American officials in Yugoslavia immediately. Precaution measures included private objects of American citizens currently in Yugoslavia, and embassies of other Western countries, as well. In Kosovo, too, American citizens and especially soldiers have been warned of possible terrorist attacks, and most have been ordered to return to secure locations, including bases such as Bondsteel. Yugoslav Deputy Ambassador to the US, Ivan Zivkovic, stated that, according to his information, no Yugoslav citizens or officials currently in the US had been hurt in the attacks. He also said the Embassy issued an official warning to Yugoslav citizens to avoid any federal buildings in the American capital for fear of new attacks. Zivkovic confirmed many Yugoslavs from the United States had called the Embassy to express their disgust at the event.
The local reactions are, however, mixed. Politicians, including president Kostunica and Serbian prime minister Djindjic were unanimous in condemning the act of violence and offering words of comfort to the American people. Premier Djindjic also warned of the "alarming globalization of conflicts, in which events in distant countries, such as the Middle East, can bring about disaster practically in any part of the world in no time." Yugoslav Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic cut short his visit to Tunisia to return to Belgrade and meet President Kostunica. He warned the Serbian population to "try to calm their emotions and share the sorrow with the American nation and the entire world today." The hint was at the 'it-serves-them-right' or 'let-them-have-some-of-their-own-medicine' attitude to America, still present in many locals. The virus did not miss some opposition officials, either. Milosevic's Socialist Party representatives condemned the act, adding, however, "this was partly a consequence of America's turning a blind eye to terrorism all over the world, and sometimes its open support to terrorists, including places such as Kosovo and Macedonia". Hardline Serbian Radicals gave no official reactions, apart from their leader's occasional hints on the local Nis TV Belle Amie last night that 'America is the one to really blame, due to its constant policy of bullying around all over the world.'
The reactions on the street were similar, at least in the beginning. At first, although many people felt pangs of consciousness, knowing that those who got killed were nothing more but innocent civilians, not in the least responsible for America's global policies, many felt this was necessary to bring America back to earth, and to show its citizens "what it is like to see the symbols of your country being torn down by madmen." The common comparison was the one with the TV tower on the Avala mountain, on the outskirts of Belgrade, once the prime symbol of the Serbian capital, destroyed by NATO bombs in 1999. Some claimed no one expected America would be humiliated as much as Serbia was just two years ago. However, after the initial urge for retaliation, Serbs calmed down (as usual). The images of innocent people killed or hurt downtown New York, with the stories of people jumping out through the windows in panic, made them really sympathize with ordinary Americans this time, although there is still no love lost of official American policy.
Any analyses offered so far aimed at global consequences. Possible American reactions have been examined, and there have also been hints this would be 'a landmark in international relations unseen in the last 100 years.' As for Yugoslavia's position, the only reaction was given by Serbian Finance Minister Bozidar Djelic, who claimed this would open up a way to a "visible recession" in the United States, which would then influence US's partners, including Europe, and therefore even we here might feel some economic consequences of this act. Other politicians, however, only gave general anti-terrorism statements, rarely failing to remind the public of the problems with Albanian terrorism in Serbia.