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Monday, May 17, 1999 Published at 17:41 GMT 18:41 UK

World: Europe

EU backs Montenegro

The European Union has reaffirmed its support for the pro-Western president of Montenegro, Milo Djukanovic, and promised his country some twenty-five million dollars in aid.

During talks in Brussels with EU foreign ministers, Mr Djukanovic said he supported the idea of an international military force in Kosovo, and he blamed the crisis almost exclusively on the Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic.

The German foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, said Montenegro -- Serbia's junior partner in the Yugoslav federation -- was a positive democratic alternative to the dictatorship of Mr Milosevic.

Montenegrin officials meanwhile say that the Yugoslav army has released more than a hundred ethnic Albanian refugees it detained in Montenegro on Saturday.

The refugees -- all of them men -- were taken from convoys that were about to cross into Albania. Correspondents say the action sparked panic among the tens of thousands of refugees in Montenegro.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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