Clark says Nato still concerned over Serb actions

RIGA, Apr 3, 2000 -- (Reuters) NATO's military chief said on Sunday the alliance remained concerned over possible military action by Serbia against its pro-Western neighbor Montenegro.

General Wesley Clark, the alliance's Supreme Commander, Europe, told journalists during a one-day visit to NATO hopeful Latvia that Belgrade had been preparing various ways it could put pressure on its tiny sister republic.

"I can tell you that NATO remains concerned, we are very watchful. We have seen over the past...months long development of various capabilities that could be employed to threaten Mr. Djukanovic," Clark said.

Djukanovic said on Monday he feared Milosevic might try to oust his government as a way of retaining power after he completes his final term as Yugoslav president next year.

Clark declined to comment on any specific details or on any military preparations NATO may be making in the event of any Serbian action against Montenegro.

Montenegro is Serbia's junior partner in the Yugoslav federation, but has been pulling away from Belgrade in frustration over the lack of economic or democratic reforms under Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

Montenegro has acted cautiously on the advice of the West, which fears a repeat of the conflicts which accompanied the independence moves of other Yugoslav republics. Montenegro was the only republic in the old Yugoslavia that did not break away from Belgrade during the 1990s.

It has legalized the German mark as a parallel currency to escape inflation in Serbia and opened its border with Albania. Belgrade retaliated by banning any trade and by reinforcing troops watching the border crossing.

Original article