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Monday, September 20, 1999 Published at 17:01 GMT 18:01 UK

World: Europe

Montenegro sues for 'coup'

Montenegro's elite police have remained loyal to Mr Djukanovic

The public prosecutor in Montenegro has filed charges against the Yugoslav Prime Minister, Momir Bulatovic, alleging that he planned a military take-over in Montenegro during Nato's air campaign last spring.

In recent months, there have been increasing demands in Montenegro - Serbia's junior partner in the Yugoslav federation - for independence from Belgrade.

[ image: Filip Vujanovic:
Filip Vujanovic: "It was planned in deep secrecy"
The prosecutor, Bozidar Vukcevic, said that Mr Bulatovic - himself a Montenegrin - had proposed the "occupying" of all Montenegro's state and private media.

"This is tantamount to a putsch," Mr Vukcevic said in a statement.

Montenegrin Prime Minister Filip Vujanovic said the alleged plan had been "prepared in deep secrecy and discreetly".

"The political power centre in Belgrade still wants the same thing, but it is obvious it has no chance of success," he told the independent daily Vijesti.

Debate over referendum

Last week, the Montenegrin parliament met to discuss whether to hold a referendum on full independence.

[ image: President Milo Djukanivoc: An outspoken critic of Belgrade]
President Milo Djukanivoc: An outspoken critic of Belgrade
Most political parties in the republic have already adopted a common platform, demanding that Yugoslavia be transformed into a loose confederation with Montenegro having its own currency, foreign policy and separate army command.

The expectation is that Montenegro will follow up outspoken criticism of Belgrade by President Milo Djukanovic by holding a referendum - a move which Western diplomats fear could lead to conflict.

The Yugoslav army has denied any plans to take over in Montenegro.

"The army will not interfere," Third Army commander Colonel-General Nebojsa Pavkovic told the Belgrade-based independent Radio B2-92.

"What the Montenegrin people decide should be respected. There shouldn't be conflict there."

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