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Monday, 17 December, 2001, 13:52 GMT
Yugolavia's future: Who wants what?
Javier Solana (l) at talks with President Vojislav Kostunica
Tough talking over Yugoslavia's future lies ahead
The Yugoslav federation has been in crisis since the fall of Slobodan Milosevic. Paul Anderson in Belgrade examines the conflicting demands over its future.

Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic is determined to lead his country to international recognition as an independent state.

But the EU has already declared it wants to see Yugoslavia remain intact.

And the Yugoslav side, led by President Vojislav Kostunica, also wants the federation to survive in a revamped form.

The EU and US... fear another redrawing of the map in the Balkans could lead to more separatism and volatility.

Mr Kostunica's plan is for Montenegro, with a population of 600,000, and Serbia, with eight million, to become partners in a loose confederation.

The Serbs want to build on the existing arrangement, but to completely change the constitution, which they say belongs to a previous dark age.

Mr Kostunica has the support of Montenegrin opposition politicians, and, they claim, a thin majority of their people.

But Mr Djukanovic continues to press for independence - and is still planning to hold a referendum on the question early next year.

President Milo Djukanovic
Djukanovic continues to insist on independence
He won international support for standing up to Mr Milosevic, but circumstances have changed.

Now the EU as well as the United States are urging both sides not to allow the final disintegration of Yugoslavia.

They fear another redrawing of the map in the Balkans could lead to more separatism and volatility.

Mr Solana has already made it clear to the Montenegrins that if they think independence is a fast track to EU membership they are sorely mistaken.

Mr Solana has made his mark as a Balkans trouble-shooter in the past year.

As the talking continues this time, he will be keeping a low profile.

One Serbian politician said it was cynical that the man who ordered the bombing of Yugoslavia two years ago as the then Secretary General of Nato should be assisting the talks process now.

See also:

23 Apr 01 | Europe
Montenegro: Which way now?
23 Apr 01 | Europe
Uphill struggle to secede
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