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Yugoslavia: Vedrine Pledges Solidarity And Assistance

Belgrade, 10 October 2000 (RFE/RL) - French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine flew to Belgrade today, meeting Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica and pledging support for the country's transition to democracy. Vedrine said his visit was meant to bring a message of hope and solidarity from France as well as Europe as a whole. Meanwhile, political parties continued discussions on the makeup of a new interim government in drawn-out, backroom negotiations. Serbia's parliament -- which is packed with supporters of ousted President Slobodan Milosevic -- is due to announce a date for new elections later today before dissolving itself.

In a tentative sign of easing tensions between Serbia and Montenegro, Kostunica announced today that Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic has agreed to attend a meeting of Yugoslavia's top defense body tomorrow for the first time in two years.

But Djukanovic has said that Montenegro will only remain in the Yugoslav Federation if it is accorded equal status with Serbia.