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Yugoslav Crown Prince to congratulate Kostunica

Royal Family
Crown Prince Alexander II with wife Katherine and three sons  

LONDON, England (CNN) -- Yugoslavia's exiled crown prince says he will personally congratulate the new president Vojislav Kostunica in Belgrade on Sunday.

Crown Prince Alexander Karadjordjevic told CNN.com that he had been invited to visit by Kostunica, whom he called a "serious gentleman who is not corruptible."

He praised both Kostunica and the multi-party alliance behind him "on their valiant achievements" and the Serbian people for a truly "velvet revolution."

Karadjordjevic will spend five days in Yugoslavia with his wife, Crown Princess Katherine, but has not yet decided if he will return permanently to Yugoslavia.

He said: "It was an amazing feeling watching the events of last week unfold at an incredible pace.

"A great pleasure and happiness for the Serbian people, that finally democracy was coming, better days were going to take place, that sanctions would be lifted which that are at the moment. I was thrilled.""

The invitation comes in the wake of a recent statement by Kostunica that the Karadjordjevic ancestral home, recently occupied by Slobodan Milosevic, would be handed back to the royal family pending a referendum.

The crown prince said: "My future is in the homeland and in the family. In going back which was always my desire (I want) to help the country, to serve the people, but not to create any problems.

"It's the government that has been elected by the people and they are the ones who do the daily business. The monarchy provides unity, the continuity and the stability of the state."

He says he will stress the need for unity by political parties during the rebuilding process and will also urge people not to take revenge on Milosevic supporters.

In the short-term he sees pension and health provision as absolutely vital to the people and calls on the international community to provide aid and bring sanctions to a quick end.

The crown prince says he will assess his own role in the process following his visit.

He supports Serbia's maintenance of a union with Montengro in a federal Yugoslavia calling it "vital" for all parties.

On his first visit to the republic in 1991, following the death of former Yugoslav strongman Tito, half a million people lined the streets of Belgrade to greet him.

Since then he has made frequent visits, the most recent in July for his uncle's funeral.

The prince, who has never taken the title of King, was born in a London hotel that was briefly declared Yugoslav territory, after his father had fled the country in 1941.

CNN.com Europe

Reuters contributed to this report.



RELATED STORIES:
Crown Prince Alexander fears Montenegro coup
August 4, 2000
In-Depth: Uprising in Serbia
Struggling Serbian city awaits end of sanctions
October 11, 2000

RELATED SITE:
Yugoslav Royal Family

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