PODGORICA, Serbia-Montenegro, May 28, 2006 (AFP) -
Montenegro is likely to become an independent country next week, the president of the tiny Balkan state said in an interview with AFP.
"I think it's expected next week Montenegro will declare independence," said the president of the former Yugoslav republic, Filip Vujanovic.
The head of the Republic Referendum Commission, Frantisek Lipka, had "come out with the official results and in the next week he will also give the same results, and Montenegro will be independent," he insisted.
Since the historic referendum on Montenegro's independence from a federation with Serbia was staged a week ago, Lipka, a Slovak diplomat, has twice announced preliminary results showing voters opted to break up the union.
According to the latest set given on Tuesday, a narrow majority of 55.5 percent of Montenegrins chose to create the world's newest mini-state, barely clearing a 55-percent threshold agreed with the European Union.
The May 21 vote consigned to history Serbia-Montenegro, the last shred of the former communist federation of Yugoslavia after Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia and Slovenia left during the brutal 1990s Balkan wars.
Speaking to AFP after meeting his Serbian counterpart Boris Tadic on Saturday, Vujanovic said they had agreed to divide control of the military between them and share some diplomatic missions once independence is declared.
"I don't think that there are any difficult issues to resolve. I think that all issues we have are of a technical nature," said the Montenegrin president.
"We stated today that once Montenegro declares independence, the Supreme Defence Council and its competencies will be given to the president of Serbia and the president of Montenegro," he said in reference to the union's top military body.
Turning to the topic of diplomatic missions, Vujanovic said the issue was already in the process of being resolved, with Serbia and Montenegro likely to base their of model of sharing embassies on other regions.
"Serbia will of course have most diplomatic missions," said the pro-independence Montenegrin president.
"We'll have some discussions with Serbia, that for those places where Montenegro is not represented, that the diplomatic mission of Serbia could represent it.
"That is something that we have already seen in Baltic states and other regions with similar structures" including Malta and Cyprus, he added.
Vujanovic said the greatest threat to the talks on dissolving the union was a difference of opinions in the Serbian capital Belgrade.
"I think the hardest position is that of Prime Minister (Vojislav) Kostunica and his Democratic Party of Serbia," he said.
But he added: "I think that the discussions with them will start and that they will recognise our independence.
"And I expect that we will... resolve any issues."
Despite the international community's strong praise for the conduct of the referendum, Kostunica -- a moderate nationalist who openly supported preserving the union -- has only offered it his conditional approval.
The confirmation of the results has been delayed by allegations of referendum irregularities by a Belgrade-backed Montenegrin opposition.
The vote was made possible under the 2003 constitution which bound Serbia and Montenegro in a federation and contained an escape clause allowing either side to vote on independence after three years.
Its independence comes at a delicate time for Serbia, currently engaged in tough negotiations with separatist ethnic Albanian leaders in the southern province of Kosovo.