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  •   Montenegro Offers Supply Route

    By Steven Mufson
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Thursday, June 10, 1999; Page A30

    COLOGNE, Germany, June 9 Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic offered his small Yugoslav republic for international peacekeeping forces to use to support operations in Kosovo and called Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic "a politician who belongs to the past."

    Free access to Montenegro Serbia's smaller partner in the two-republic Yugoslav federation would give international military forces a third route into Kosovo in addition to the ones from the neighboring countries of Albania and Macedonia. The presence of international forces in Montenegro would provide a degree of protection for Djukanovic, 37, whose multiethnic, democratically elected coalition government has refused to provide recruits for the Yugoslav army, has been a refuge for Milosevic's opponents and has been harassed by Yugoslav troops.

    One potential obstacle remains, however: Yugoslav troops occupy the Montenegrin port of Bar and are blocking many of the border crossings between Montenegro and Serbia of which Kosovo is a province.

    But Djukanovic said at a news conference here with Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright that he assumed with the end of the war in Kosovo that Yugoslav forces would withdraw to their barracks and "do the things they are supposed to do under the constitution."

    Djukanovic said he did not view the outcome of the conflict in terms "of whether Yugoslavia has won or lost. What has lost is a quarrelsome, arrogant policy personified by Mr. Milosevic. I think that Yugoslavia will gain because peace will be restored in our country."

    The president added: "I hope that after all this agony that he put the Serbian people through, they too have such an opinion of Mr. Milosevic."

    If Milosevic plans to hang on to power in Yugoslavia, his tangling with Djukanovic might not be over, some U.S. officials cautioned. Yugoslav troops have been pressuring Montenegrin police forces loyal to Djukanovic for many weeks.

    Despite differences between Montenegro and Milosevic's Serbian-dominated federal government, Djukanovic reiterated that he did not seek to split from Yugoslavia. He expressed hope that after the war Serbia "will democratize and that Montenegro will not have to look for another constitutional arrangement . . . for achieving its interests."

    © Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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