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Thursday, June 24, 1999 Published at 20:12 GMT 21:12 UK

World: Europe

Yugoslavia ends state of war

Federal Prime Minister Momir Bulatovic, front row left, in parliament

Yugoslavia's parliament has voted to lift the state of war declared when Nato launched its bombing campaign. But it has taken new measures which could preserve some restrictions of freedom.

Kosovo: Special Report
The state-of-war decree imposed on 24 March included media restrictions, a ban on military-age men leaving the country and a ban on public gatherings.

The lifting takes effect Saturday.

But emergency regulations will stay in force until Saturday - the day opposition groups plan to hold a series of protests against the government of President Slovodan Milosevic.

A BBC correspondent in Belgrade says delaying lifting the state of war may have been deliberate, in order to disrupt the opposition meetings.

'Milosevic will not surrender control'

[ image: Nationalist MP Vojislav Seselj speaking during the debate]
Nationalist MP Vojislav Seselj speaking during the debate
Opposition parties do not believe the government will give up its control of political activity and the media.

Before the vote on lifting the state of war, Yugoslav Defence Minister Pavle Bulatovic said some "aspects of the state-of-war decrees would be included in new legislation" since "they can function in peacetime, too".

The opposition say there must be elections soon so there can be reform of both politics and economics.

An opinion poll in Yugoslavia shows President Milosevic's approval ratings have dropped from 35% to 15%, but he is still ahead of any other politician.

The decision to end the war footing is expected to allow men aged 18-60 to leave the country again.

Price fixing to stay

The government will continue to control prices, until what Serbian radio called "a new economic policy" has been adopted.

[ image: Montenegro's President Djukanovic: Talk of independence referendum]
Montenegro's President Djukanovic: Talk of independence referendum
Serbia's partner in the Yugoslav Federation, Montenegro, refused to impose the state of war, and the Montenegrins are growing increasingly resentful of President Milosevic's policies.

Montenegro's pro-Western President Milo Djukanovic has threatened to call a referendum on independence.

The threat comes despite the presence of some 40,000 Serb troops in Montenegro, many having moved in from Kosovo.

Some had been moved there because of the state of war, and now that it has been lifted, President Djukanovic will be hoping the additional troops are withdrawn.

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