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Thursday, 23 December, 1999, 17:50 GMT
Montenegro's Foreign Minister resigns

Montenegro's Foreign Minister, Branko Perovic, has resigned over charges of smuggling and racketeering brought against him by an Italian prosecutor.

In a speech before parliament, Mr Perovic denied the allegations, but said he did not want to become a burden on the government.

Earlier this month an Italian judge ordered him and 26 others to stand trial on charges of cigarette smuggling and involvement with the Mafia.

The charges relate to the period when Mr Perovic was working for the Rome office of the Yugoslav airlines.

He was appointed foreign minister of Montenegro in July 1998. The trial is due to start in November 2000.

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