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Sunday, May 23, 1999 Published at 19:13 GMT 20:13 UK

World: Europe

Milosevic must go, says Montenegrin president

Many Montenegrins want the Yugoslav army out

The president of Montenegro - Serbia's sister-republic in the Yugoslav federation - has called on Nato to depose Slobodan Milosevic.

Kosovo: Special Report
In interviews with the Montenegrin media over the weekend, President Milo Djukanovic called the Yugoslav president "the source of the present problem" which had to be dealt with.

He warned Nato and the West that they must find a comprehensive solution to the Balkan crisis.

[ image: Milo Djukanovic:
Milo Djukanovic: "A new framework for Yugoslavia"
President Djukanovic said there was no way he would accept a Balkan settlement in which Kosovo ended up with a higher degree of autonomy than Montenegro.

He said the legal status of the Republic of Montenegro within Yugoslavia would have to be redefined once a solution had been found, and that would mean a complete rethink of Yugoslavia's legal and constitutional system.

"The existing legal and constitutional framework of Yuogoslavia is open to manipulation to the detriment of Montenegro and to attempts - which have partly succeeded - by the Belgrade regime to undermine the equality and dignity of Montenegro in the Yugoslav state," Mr Djukanovic said.

A new status for Montenegro

[ image: President Milosevic:
President Milosevic: "The source of the problem"
The constitutional review would have to "offer Montenegro and its distinct state policy a broad enough framework, a broad enough autonomy for that policy to be pursued, and for the strategic national and state interests of Montenegro to be fully realised," Mr Djukanovic said.

That would mean Montenegro would no longer have to depend on Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic or his successor.

Nato must remove Milosevic

He accused the West of using wrong policies in the past to deal with what he called the dictatorship of President Milosevic.

[ image: The Yugoslav Amy in Montenegro is loyal to President Milosevic]
The Yugoslav Amy in Montenegro is loyal to President Milosevic
Now he hoped, Mr Djukanovic said, the West would not try to find a short-term solution to Kosovo but aim to remove the source of the whole problem - Mr Milosevic himself.

If the West failed, Mr Djukanovic predicted a series of other conflicts in the predominantly Muslim Sandzak area on the Montenegrin border with Serbia, in the ethnic Hungarian area of Vojvodina north of Belgrade and in Montenegro itself.

Shuttle diplomacy

For the past two weeks, the Montenegrin president has been going back and forth to European capitals to press his views on leaders there.

He has also come in for a barrage of criticism himself.

Serbian television has run a long documentary accusing him of taking multi-million dollar bribes from Nato, supporting terrorism and consorting with what it called that Serb-hater, Madeleine Albright, who was intent on destroying the federal republic of Yugoslavia.

There are reports that Mr Djukanovic has ambitions to become the next president of Yugoslavia, although the Montenegrin president's officials say that is merely political speculation.

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