Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Going Native

William Montgomery, US ambassador to Serbia-Montenegro, is one of the most successful and influential American diplomats in recent history. His ambassadorships in Bulgaria, Croatia and Serbia-Montenegro have been associated with regime changes in those respective countries, and Montgomery was rumoured to have his career crowned by prestigious ambassadorship in Moscow.

However, according to Spiegel and Sunday Times, Montgomery spent enough time in Balkans to have his life resemble sad lyrics of local "turbo folk" songs – stories of all-powerful unstoppable men who were led to their dooms by fatal women.

Femme fatale in this case was Biljana Jović (Biljana Jovic), ambassador's secretary, who had made a fatal mistake of answering call to ambassador's private cell phone. The call was made by Mrs. Lynne Montgomery who was returning from Montgomerys' summer house in Cavtat, Croatia. After realising that Ms. Jović is on the other line Mrs. Montgomery rushed to the Embassy building in Belgrade and assaulted her husband's secretary. What followed was fight in which Ambassador unsuccessfully tried to set two women apart. The incident ended with intervention of Marines.

While all official sources deny any stories about incident, Montgomery's career is over. Nine months before the end of his tenure, he was sent to retirement by his State Department superiors.

UPDATE: New York Daily News link is here.


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