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Thursday, July 22, 1999 Published at 22:35 GMT 23:35 UK

World: Europe

Montenegro breakaway threat

EU Balkan Co-ordinator Bodo Hombach (left) at the conference

By Nigel Glass in Vienna

The President of Montenegro, Milo Djukanovic, has made his strongest threat yet to break away from the Yugoslav Federation, in which it is Serbia's junior partner.

Kosovo: Special Report
Addressing a meeting of European Social Democratic leaders in Vienna, Mr Djukanovic demanded that Montenegro have full equality with Serbia in all constitutional areas.

The meeting came a week before a Balkan summit of world leaders in the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, to discuss regional stability and reconstruction.

[ image: Milo Djukanovic:
Milo Djukanovic: "We will have ways to decide our own sovereignty"
Mr Djukanovic called for the "abolition of dictatorial rule and an opening of the country to the European Union".

"We must eliminate any possibility of the continuation of Slobodan Milosevic's dictatorial single-handed rule," he said.

He said that after suffering for 10 years - "tied to a country that has alienated itself from the international community" - the people of Montenegro were not prepared to endure it any longer.

Pointing out that support had often been promised but was never forthcoming, he said that now at least Europe appeared to be paying more than lip-service to the cause of his country.

Asked what would happen if his demands were not met, Mr Djukanovic said: "The people of Montenegro will have ways to decide on their own sovereignty".

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