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Yugoslav Opposition Leader Vojislav Kostunica Addresses People on State-Run TV

Aired October 5, 2000 - 5:24 p.m. ET


JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I apologize. Right now, we want to go live to Belgrade, where the opposition leader, Vojislav Kostunica is addressing the Yugoslav people on state-run television.


VOJISLAV KOSTUNICA, PRESIDENT-ELECT OF YUGOSLAVIA (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): ... and it is what power of Slobodan Milosevic want -- didn't want to recognize. We don't need conflicts, pressure and violence to protect the citizens' will on any future elections.

So far we have had no communication between Opposition and official authorities. As if it was easier for Slobodan Milosevic to communicate with Richard Holbrooke in Dayton as if it was easier for him to sign the (inaudible) agreement than to communicate with one part of his own people. And that part of his own people now represent -- president of the country must overcome that he is the president of only one part of citizens, he must be seen as president of all citizens of his country.

But Slobodan Milosevic wasn't that. He wasn't president of both federal parts of Yugoslavia. He is responsible for increasing of tensions inside federal Yugoslavia, between those federal parts. So I hope that citizens have another different kind of vision of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, one country that is open to international community, that is without sanctions.

I would say that all those years, our life, day after day, hour after hour, was too exciting, people now want some peace, and that's what during the campaign. That's what I saw in the eyes. And this vision of Serbia is going to get realized now. Democracy is pillar of that vision.

Tomorrow, this television will be open for those who present quite different attitudes. But I promise that every other voice in Serbia will be here. Those voices that belong to you, SPS, and radical party as well.

State television must not be one-party television. It should represent the mirror of people 's sensibility. Each party must be represented according to its own power. Objective informing of people is a duty that media has got, and also it's a right of the citizens to be well informed. That's the picture of Serbia I see. All those days before the elections, but I would say all those years, that's the dream about Serbia that people who confrontate themselves can't communicate normally one to each other. Something like that was possible in Serbia about 100 years ago in one country of peasants, but they talked to each other civilized way.

I have a vision of such country without inner tangents (ph) with normal relations with other countries. We cannot forget what some countries did to us last year during NATO aggression. And I'm repeating, we won't forget that, but we can't live against the grain. And everything can be fulfilled in normal, democratic country. When you have normal democratic life in a country and you have normal relations with the world, then you can expect that sanctions could be lifted.

Now I can announce the good news that on Monday, the next session of European Council, according to the promise we got from France, the sanctions against Yugoslavia are going to be canceled -- lifted.

I'm repeating, I'm the one who criticized those sanctions. His opinion is that those sanctions are of more help -- were of more help to Milosevic than -- because they hardly affected the poorest people.

Those are first issues. One vision of Serbia that I saw after the elections, the people struggled for and for what the opposition parties got the support of the citizens. This election victory is clear, absolutely clear, and if it wasn't recognized immediately on 24th of September, everything would be fine. But I expect the same day after the votes will be recounted, I know that everyone -- everything will be clear, opposition will be opposition, authorities will be authorities.

So, that is how one democratic country should look like, and that lifting of sanctions will make possible that we stop that drain of money and our capital to grow.

We must have understanding for those poorest social levels of society. We must have solidarity in the future.

QUESTION (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): How fast do you expect that recovery of your country?

KOSTUNICA (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Well, our situation is very hard and recovery must to -- after Dayton agreement the role of those sanctions was very hard. We expect lot of the nations within the Pact for Stability of Southeastern Europe.

QUESTION (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Do you expect that we are going to be included?

KOSTUNICA (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): Yes, we expect that. That's one way to compensate those damages NATO countries imposed to us. And then we are going to expect real economic recovery of the country. A recovery, that will be legacy of all citizens.

And recovery of the country is not the property of one party. No one can proclaim his own property, his own -- so we are going to start much more profound, wider rebuild of this country the legacy of all people.

And everything will start to be -- a normal economic recovery of the country will be like a medicine to our soul.

QUESTION: What do you they think about continuity of our social institutions?

KOSTUNICA (THROUGH TRANSLATOR): It's over the common reality. I must say a lot of people from official structures in army and police was thinking they felt what the people's sensibility is, and they were aware that if people (inaudible) on the Opposition, and if Opposition won the majority that means they should follow the peoples' will. Most of the people accepted that. State officials, even people who are members of Socialist Party. We had so many people, members of Socialist Party who congratulated our people inside the country, all over the country.

And then it came that this continuity, after one strict attitude of Slobodan Milosevic who wanted to dispute something what was completely clear, doubtless: victory of democratic opposition and especially victory on presidential elections. So, we said yes, if there is some problems, then there are ways to solve the problem inside the legal procedure, with all the members of Federal Electoral Commission who -- our representatives of the Opposition will have the right to take part in that counting. We -- our results were completely open and available to the public, local and international.

Everyone could count himself our results. But then other side, the official side, they used to hide those -- the results, because they were aware that the presidential elections were finished in the first round.

So gradually, people from SP start congratulate more and more to our people, and we saw the same way today -- the same thing we saw today. We saw the conduct of police...

WOODRUFF: We are listening to Vojislav Kostunica, the opposition leader in Yugoslavia, who has been declared by Yugoslav's agency Tanjug to be the president-elect of Yugoslavia, today has seen a phenomenal, mostly peaceful turn of events in that country, weeks after an election in which the opposition insisted that Mr. Kostunica was the winner. We know that President Milosevic disputed that. Today, suddenly, the opposition forces came together, took over the parliament building. Took over Yugoslavia state-run television. Mr. Kostunica just moments ago -- or hours ago addressed the people of Belgrade, said this is a new Democratic life we have in Yugoslavia. He appealed to citizens to remain calm.

And in this address that you're watching now -- it's still under way in Belgrade and Yugoslavia. He is saying, again, appealing to remain calm. He's saying that he's been told that the European Union will lift the economic sanctions that have been imposed on Yugoslavia now for several years. He said that he expects those will be lifted. He also said that state-run television in a promising sign for the Democratic forces in this country, he said will be open to all political parties. Now, that address by Mr. Kostunica is still under way.

We're going to monitor it. At the top of the hour, 6:00 Eastern, we will bring a live report with all of the very latest information.

We're going to take a break. When we come back, INSIDE POLITICS resumes.



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