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news 28 May 13

Oliver Stone Lauds Late Yugoslav Leader Tito

The Hollywood director and screenwriter has recalled the longtime leader of Yugoslavia who died in 1980 as a heroic figure for bridging East and West.

Belgrade

Oliver Stone said he admired the former President of Yugoslavia because he represented a "third line" between Communism and capitalism.

Josip Broz Tito "was a very important person ... and it was interesting to watch him negotiate between two worlds," Stone told the TV network Al Jazeera Balkans on Monday.

He said it was obvious that things started falling apart in Yugoslavia after his death. Tito died in 1980 and ten years after Yugoslavia disintegrated amid bloodshed.

According to Stone, his own country, the US, paid too little attention to Tito's achievements.

"We did not recognize properly the rift between Yugoslavia and the Soviets, and we did not recognize the power of neutrality," Stone said recalling the 1955 conference in Bandung, Indonesia, where Tito and leaders of 29 Asian and African nations gathered to discuss peace and the role of the Third World in the Cold War.

In 1961 these countries officially formed a Non-Aligned Movement at a conference in Belgrade.

Nostalgics across former Yugoslavia celebrated May 25, Tito's birthday, a few days back.

During Tito's 35 years in power he imprisoned political opponents, outlawed non-Communist parties and conducted an economic policy that some say led to dangerously high levels of foreign debt.

Nevertheless, there is still considerable nostalgia for his era in the Yugoslav successor states, where some remember his rule as a time of unity, peace, and relative prosperity.

Stone is famous for focusing on American political and cultural issues in his movies including JFK, Natural Born Killers, and Nixon.

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