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Montenegro: Belgrade's Constitutional Changes Rejected

Podgorica, 7 July (RFE/RL) -- Montenegro's government held an urgent session today, rejecting Belgrade's changes to the constitution which could extend President Slobodan Milosevic's term in office and decrease Montenegro's role in Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav parliament, dominated by Milosevic's allies, yesterday passed constitutional amendments enabling Milosevic to seek another term in office through popular vote when his term expires next year. Parliament's upper house would also be chosen by popular vote. The changes put Montenegro--with just 600,000 people--at a disadvantage, as there are 10 million people living in Serbia.

The resolution will be discussed by Montenegro's parliament later in the day. Montenegrin Deputy Prime Minister Dragisa Burzan said Podgorica is not planning on declaring independence yet.

The French government criticized yesterday's changes to the constitution, saying they are meant to provoke a crisis with Montenegro.