Milosevic to visit restive Montenegro

BELGRADE, May 29, 2000 -- (Reuters) Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic plans to visit the republic of Montenegro, whose reformist government is at odds with Belgrade, an independent news agency quoted a Montenegrin ally of Milosevic as saying.

"During recent talks with the Yugoslav president in Belgrade certain members of the Socialist People's Party (SNP) invited Milosevic to visit Montenegro, and he accepted," SNP Vice President Predrag Bulatovic was quoted on Sunday as saying.

He did not say when Milosevic would visit. There was no immediate comment from Milosevic or his Socialist Party (SPS).

Milosevic has not gone to Montenegro since a government committed to democratic reform and integration with the West took office in Podgorica three years ago.

At a meeting with SNP representatives led by Bulatovic and the ruling SPS in Belgrade on May 19, Milosevic vowed to prevent the break-up of Yugoslavia, which has long been dominated by leftist, nationalist Serbia.

The SNP is the main pro-Milosevic party in Montenegro, a small Adriatic coast republic that has grown apart from its bigger federation partner Serbia since Milosevic opponent Milo Djukanovic was elected president in 1997.

Bulatovic, speaking to Podgorica-based Elmag television, said a visit by Milosevic would "create great problems" for Djukanovic.

"Djukanovic cooperates with the (UN war crimes) tribunal and he would have to keep his promise that he will arrest all war crimes suspects, including the Yugoslav president," Bulatovic said.

The tribunal indicted Milosevic and four other top Yugoslav Serb officials a year ago for alleged war crimes against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. The Milosevic-dominated Belgrade authorities have denounced the tribunal as "illegal".

Bulatovic added that Montenegrin Prime Minister Filip Vujanovic was "wise" when he said that Montenegro would only detain those indictees whose arrests would not jeopardize civil peace in the republic.

Djukanovic accused Bulatovic of going to Belgrade to "receive instructions on how to destroy Podgorica".

"Bulatovic and all those who think they can talk to Montenegro in a threatening tone are mistaken," Djukanovic told a meeting of Montenegro's ruling coalition on Saturday.

He said those who were trying to deceive the Montenegrin people that the choice in the Podgorica and Herceg Novi local elections, set for June 11, would be between Yugoslavia and a sovereign Montenegro were mistaken.

"One side is for integration, the other isolation. One for democracy, the other dictatorship," Djukanovic said.

Original article