CEOL - Montenegro says won't take part in YU elections

BELGRADE, Dec 20, 1999 -- (Reuters) Montenegro has said it would not take part in any federal elections organized by Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's government, a Belgrade newspaper reported on Saturday.

"Montenegro will not take part in the elections organized by federal bodies, which we consider illegitimate. Those are private institutions elected by Slobodan Milosevic," the daily Blic quoted Montenegro's Economy Minister Vojin Djukanovic as saying.

Djukanovic was reacting to a recent statement by hard-line Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Vojislav Seselj that his Serbian Radical Party would demand the imposition of emergency rule in Montenegro if it did not allow federal elections due next year to be held on its territory.

Montenegro, a junior republic in the Yugoslav federation, avoided direct involvement in the conflict between Serbia and NATO earlier this year. It does not recognize the federal government and parliament.

The two Yugoslav republics have been increasingly at odds since August when Western-leaning Montenegro told Serbia it wanted to reshape and rename the Yugoslav federation and have more autonomy in running its own finance, defense and foreign policies.

Djukanovic said ruling Montenegrin parties had no intention of accepting Seselj's invitation to consultations on federal elections.

"This issue is very important. As far as we are concerned, the Serbian Radical Party is not a relevant factor and we do not need to talk to those who do not recognize the legally elected government in Montenegro," Djukanovic said.

"An agreement with the Serbian authorities on redefining relations with Montenegro is possible, but a referendum is possible too. Montenegrin citizens are determined to go to Europe, not to wars," he added.

Montenegro has said it would hold a referendum on independence if Milosevic does not agree to reform Yugoslavia.

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