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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and
Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic

Press Stakeout at Excelsior Hotel
Rome, Italy, August 1, 2000
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
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PRESIDENT DJUKANOVIC: (English Translation) I wish to inform you that at this meeting, too, we were able to hear the words of support to the Montenegrin democratic and reformist project by the United States of America.

Also Secretary of State Albright and I shared the concern of the permanent threats to Montenegro by the dictatorial regime in Belgrade. The latest such attempt was the attempt to violate the statehood and equality of Montenegro, to undermine these through passage of illegitimate constitutional amendments by the legitimate federal parliament. As you know Montenegro has thwarted Milosevicís expectations. It has not taken some of the measures that the Milosevic regime could take as a pretext for violence against Montenegro.

Rather than do that we have adopted a resolution in our parliament. Under this resolution we have distanced ourselves from the constitutional violence committed by Mr. Milosevic and we have announced that Montenegro will not enforce any regulations or legislation passed on the basis of these constitutional amendments. Consistent with its policies, Montenegro will continue to make only those moves which will contribute to its stability and the stability of the region we live in and which will contribute to the democratization of Yugoslavia.

Also Secretary of State Albright and I discussed issues of economic cooperation. I used this opportunity to thank the government of the United States for the additional assistance that it has recently allocated to Montenegro, and we have also discussed future plans for mobilizing U.S. and European support for Montenegrin democratic and economic reforms.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I am very pleased that President Djukanovic was able to come and meet me here in Rome. As he said we try to talk to each other and meet on a regular basis to exchange views about what is happening in Montenegro as well as in the Balkans generally. The United States is supportive of the approach that President Djukanovic has taken in terms of democratic development in Montenegro and his approach to the economic reforms also. As he said we did talk about the economic assistance that the United States is giving and how to try to get others to contribute also.

We also obviously spent a lot of time discussing the issue of Milosevicís calling for elections and the illegitimate steps he has taken as far as the Yugoslav constitution is concerned. And we talked about how to strengthen and unify the opposition to Milosevic during this election period. We obviously are going to stay in very close touch in the coming weeks.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, do you want Montenegro to take part in federal elections?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I think that itís very important that we do everything we can to strengthen and unify the opposition. This is what we talked about.

QUESTION: (inaudible)

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Iíll leave that to President Djukanovic.

QUESTION: Mr. President, have you reconsidered your position on these elections? Did the Secretary of State ask you to endorse them?

PRESIDENT DJUKANOVIC: You certainly know that we have adopted a resolution in our parliament saying that we will not enforce any decision adopted, any legislation adopted on the basis of these constitutional amendments. Equally we are resolved not to take a single move which will undermine the already fragile democratic front in Serbia which should make use of every opportunity to de-legitimatize Milosevic. We will continue in the next days to provide a strong support for the democratic support in Serbia.

QUESTION: Will you take part in the elections?

PRESIDENT DJUKANOVIC: I have said this already that we have to take this decision and that this decision will be taken by the legitimate bodies of the parties which form the Montenegrin governing coalition and that after taking that decision we will inform the public of that. What I can say at this moment is that we will not put up with the constitutional violence that Milosevic is trying to use against Montenegro. If we had wanted to we could have accepted a dictatorship three years ago and in that case we would not have to pass through this economic, political and security Golgotha that Montenegro has been passing through in this period.

[End of Document]
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