Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Wednesday, July 14, 1999 Published at 20:28 GMT 21:28 UK

World: Europe

Talks focus on 'Yugoslav crisis'

Montenegro's police have remained loyal to President Djukanovic

Representatives of the two countries which make up Yugoslavia - Serbia and Montenegro - have begun exploratory discussions in Belgrade to redefine their relations.

Kosovo: Special Report
Montenegro has been pressing for a looser and more equal partnership. Its reformist president, Milo Djukanovic, wants greater control of troops on Montenegrin territory and has said the Yugoslav federal army should be reduced in size and modernised.

Members of the two states' ruling parties met in the Yugoslav federal parliament building on Wednesday for an initial round of talks.

After the meeting, the head of the Montenegrin negotiating team, Zeljko Sturanovic, said: "It is our impression that representatives of political parties with whom we held talks today did not have any serious objections to the principles we are proposing."

BBC Belgrade Correspondent Jacky Rowland: "Conflict with Belgrade inevitable"
The Serb independent news agency Beta quoted him as saying: "We have agreed that Yugoslavia finds itself in a serious crisis."

One of the Serbian negotiators, Zivko Soklovacki, hinted at a continuation of the talks.

"As long as there is goodwill on both sides, an agreement can be reached," Mr Soklovacki told Yugoslavia's state news agency Tanjug.

Mr Soklovacki is head of the team of negotiators from the Yugoslav Left party led by the wife of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

Yugoslav survival

[ image: Yugoslav Prime Minister Momir Bulatovic on his way]
Yugoslav Prime Minister Momir Bulatovic on his way
Montenegro has said it wants Yugoslavia to survive, but as a looser confederation of sovereign states.

However, BBC Belgrade Correspondent Jacky Rowland says Montenegro's tough demands in the areas of defence, economy and foreign affairs make conflict with Belgrade look inevitable.

Mr Djukanovic has warned that if Belgrade refuses to restructure and equalise relations, Montenegro could go ahead with a referendum on independence within the next six months.

[ image: Serb ultra-nationalist Vojislav Seselj enters the talks]
Serb ultra-nationalist Vojislav Seselj enters the talks
Montenegro also wants economic freedom. It has been courting the West in search of foreign investment and there is even talk of a separate currency, to replace the weak Yugoslav dinar.

Mr Djukanovic has also stated his intention to co-operate fully with the International War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague.

He did not mention the best-known suspect, President Milosevic, but his statement will have been interpreted as a threat.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Relevant Stories

01 Jul 99 | Europe
Montenegro denounces 'stupid' army blockade

06 Jul 99 | Europe
Montenegro's media speaks out

01 Jul 99 | Europe
Montenegrin leader slams Belgrade: Interview

25 Jun 99 | Europe
Montenegro calls for troops to leave

23 May 99 | Europe
Milosevic must go, says Montenegrin president

22 May 99 | Europe
Anti-Yugoslav protest in Montenegro

15 May 99 | Europe
Montenegrin president condemns Milosevic

Internet Links

Serbian Ministry of Information

Government of Montenegro

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Violence greets Clinton visit

Russian forces pound Grozny

EU fraud: a billion dollar bill

Next steps for peace

Cardinal may face loan-shark charges

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

Trans-Turkish pipeline deal signed

French party seeks new leader

Jube tube debut

Athens riots for Clinton visit

UN envoy discusses Chechnya in Moscow

Solana new Western European Union chief

Moldova's PM-designate withdraws

Chechen government welcomes summit

In pictures: Clinton's violent welcome

Georgia protests over Russian 'attack'

UN chief: No Chechen 'catastrophe'

New arms control treaty for Europe

From Business
Mannesmann fights back

EU fraud -- a billion-dollar bill

New moves in Spain's terror scandal

EU allows labelling of British beef

UN seeks more security in Chechnya

Athens riots for Clinton visit

Russia's media war over Chechnya

Homeless suffer as quake toll rises

Analysis: East-West relations must shift