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Protesting Montenegrin Women Disperse After Government Agrees To Meeting

A group of Montenegrin women who are protesting in Podgorica against cuts in state aid for mothers agreed on February 17 to break up their demonstration and meet with a government delegation next week.

Many of the protesters are from outside the capital and had spent the night of February 16 in the cold near government headquarters.

They are demanding that the government reverse a decision to cut aid for mothers of three or more children.

Financial assistance for an estimated 21,500 women was instituted last October.

But it was cut by 25 percent in January as the government seeks to reduce public spending.

The demonstrators say spending cuts should be made to other parts of the budget before aid to mothers is reduced, and demanded to meet with Prime Minister Dusko Markovic.

Montenegro is seeking to join NATO and is a candidate for European Union membership, but is under pressure to improve its finances.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP