Thomas Keenan on 6 Oct 2000 21:34:35 -0000

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[Nettime-bold] ICG: Yugoslavia Situation Report #3

International Crisis Group

Yugoslavia Situation Report
No. 3,
Friday, October 6, 2000, 4:15PM EST
Prepared by Eric Witte, Washington DC

Kostunica Meets Milosevic:

Tonight, President-Elect Vojislav Kostunica met with ousted president and
indicted war criminal Slobodan Milosevic and Yugoslav Army (VJ) chief of
staff Nebojsa Pavkovic, also indicted for war crimes. Kostunica spoke
privately with Milosevic for one hour.

Ivanov in Belgrade:

Following pronouncements by governments around the world, Russian Foreign
Minister Igor Ivanov today appeared to recognise Vojislav Kostunica as the
outright victor in Yugoslavia's presidential elections at a meeting with
Kostunica in Belgrade. However, Ivanov was evasive when later asked whom
Russia viewed as the current president of Yugoslavia, a move seen as
creating room for Russian negotiation on the issue. He said he had not
congratulated Kostunica "on being elected president, but on victory in the
elections." This is no change from Russia's earlier recognition of the
Milosevic regime's figures, which showed Kostunica with more votes than
Milosevic, but not reaching the 50 percent hurdle necessary to win in one
round of balloting.

After meeting Ivanov, Kostunica remarked, "I think the crisis and arguments
about our election results were unnecessary and I am deeply convinced that
this is the last time that representatives of the international community
and friendly countries like the Russian Federation try to resolve our
internal disputes."

Ivanov proceeded to a 45-minute meeting with ousted Yugoslav leader and
indicted war criminal Slobodan Milosevic at his residence in the Belgrade
suburb of Dedinje. Ivanov reported: "During the talks, Milosevic emphasised
his intention to seek a solution in a peaceful and legal manner, to avoid
any use of force.Being the leader of the largest political party in Serbia,
he intends to continue to play a political role in the country."
Specifically, Milosevic told Ivanov that he would remain as head of the Soci
alist Party of Serbia (SPS). This outcome raises the spectre of cohabitation
between Kostunica and Milosevic as a possible fallback position for both
Milosevic and Russia.

Milosevic's Fate:

One DOS leader, Vladan Batic, earlier claimed that Milosevic was in Bor,
together with VJ Generals Pavkovic and Vladimir Lararevic, and that "their
arrest is expected at any moment." Some speculated that Milosevic had fled
the country. Belarus dictator Alexander Lukashenko said today that it would
be the "noble thing" to shelter Milosevic, but that his regime had received
no such request. Kazakhstan and Russia also said they had received no
request to protect Milosevic from his indictment for war crimes at the UN
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). ICTY
spokesman Jim Landale emphasised today that "all countries have a binding
obligation to cooperate" with the tribunal, which was created by the UN
Security Council. Yugoslav President-Elect Kostunica has said that he would
not extradite indicted war criminals, including Milosevic, to The Hague.
ICTY Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte urged him to reconsider, saying: "I
hope we see the establishment of true democracy in Yugoslavia and that there
is.the rule of law." Four other senior officials of the former Milosevic
regime are also indicted for war crimes, including Serbian President Milan

Kostunica Consolidates Power:

The Yugoslav Constitutional Court, previously under the control of the
Milosevic regime, today ruled that Vojislav Kostunica indeed had won a
first-round election victory.  It nullified election results from polling
stations in Kosovo that had not even been open on election day.

Senior staff of the VJ met this morning and announced that they "respected
the electoral will of the people" and "will not interfere in democratic
processes in Serbia." The announcement follows assurances from Belgrade
police commanders that their forces would only patrol the city to prevent
common crime. There have been no reports of unusual troop movements in

Zoran Zizic, the deputy chairman of Montenegro's Socialist People's Party
(SNP) - a member of Milosevic's former ruling coalition - today
congratulated Vojislav Kostunica on being elected Yugoslav president. He
also called on Milosevic's Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) to recognise
Kostunica as president. The DOS had wanted to convene the newly elected
Yugoslav Parliament today in a session at which Kostunica was to have been
inaugurated. The session has now been rescheduled for Saturday to give
deputies adequate time to reach Belgrade. Kostunica will be inaugurated on

President of the Serbian Parliament, Dragan Tomic, one of the closest
Milosevic associates and a member of his party, called for a session of the
Serbian Parliament for Monday; the body will consider motions to recognise
Kostunica as the new Yugoslav President and repeal the draconian Public
Information Act. In a letter to Kostunica informing him of the session,
Tomic addressed him as "Yugoslav President."

The newly elected Belgrade city council met Thursday night and appointed
long-time opposition figure Milan Protic as Belgrade's new mayor. An
estimated 100,000 people greeted him in front of the parliament building
this afternoon. Later, the crowd gathered for a prayer service outside the
St. Sava temple.

At DOS request, the Yugoslav National Bank has halted financial operations
until the new government takes control. Opposition economist Mladjan Dinkic
said that DOS had managed to "physically prevent" Milosevic allies from
transferring state funds abroad.

Radio and Television Serbia (RTS) is back on the air under new management.
Independent radio and television stations throughout Serbia are now fully

UN administrator for Kosovo, Bernard Kouchner, said today that he is in
contact with the new FRY government about the release of 1,000 remaining
Kosovo Albanians in Serbian prisons, abducted at the end of that war. Two
Britons and a Canadian held in a Belgrade prison since July on espionage
charges were released today. Police sources in Belgrade reportedly said last
night that abducted former Serbian President Ivan Stambolic is alive and
imprisoned, though there was no information on where.

International Reaction:

UK Foreign Minister Robin Cook said that EU foreign ministers would likely
decide Monday to begin lifting sanctions against Yugoslavia. German Foreign
Minister Joschka Fischer called on EU finance ministers to decide on a
package of immediate aid for Yugoslavia. Representing the EU, French Foreign
Minister Hubert Vedrine plans to travel to Belgrade early next week to
discuss cooperation with President-Elect Kostunica. The US has joined the EU
in calling for a swift easing of sanctions once it is clear that Milosevic
no longer wields power.

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