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First Pictures of Milosevic Since Yugoslav Revolt

Aired October 6, 2000 - 10:35 a.m. ET


BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: We want to the take our viewers to Yugoslavian television. Right now this is videotape coming to us here in from Atlanta. To let you know what is happening here. This is Slobodan Milosevic, the first appearance we have seen him since the bloodless revolution that we saw on the streets of Belgrade yesterday. Igor Ivanov, the Russian foreign minister, has flown to Belgrade to meet with Slobodan Milosevic. And certainly the Russian involvement here is critical to the future of this country.

KAGAN: All right, watching this along with us is David Ensor in Washington -- David.

DAVID ENSOR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I understand from some analysts who are watching this very closely that the Russians are taking the position that there should be a role for Mr. Milosevic in the new Serbia. That he should be allowed to remain the head of the Socialist Party there, and should have a real continuing role in Serbian politics.

That, obviously, will not be something that the West favors, and it is not clear yet, of course, what the government of President-elect Kostunica is going to do on that front.

But the Russian clearly see a role for Milosevic still in Serbia. They are meeting with them. That is an important sign that they see, he should still have some kind of role in Serbian politics. It certainly bears watching.

KAGAN: It definitely does, but one thing that Mr. Kostunica has said, that he doesn't favoring turning over Slobodan Milosevic to the War Crimes Tribunal; is that right?

ENSOR: That is right. And that will be a bone of contention with the West certainly. We do see Western government saying that they hope and expect to lift economic sanctions against Serbia soon, as soon as they know Mr. Kostunica is in power. But technically, under the language of the sanctions, Serbia should be promising to cooperate with the War Crimes Tribunal as a condition for the lifting of the sanctions. So there will be some interesting diplomacy coming up in the next few days to see how Western governments finesse that, if they are going to. And what exactly Mr. Kostunica does about the War Crimes Tribunal.

HEMMER: David, the other thing that appears quite clear from this videotape we just saw is the whereabouts of Slobodan Milosevic. Apparently, he still is in Belgrade, or a part of Serbia, depending on the location for that. We don't have the information about a specific locator just yet. We may talk to Alessio Vinci shortly in Belgrade and find that out.

But again, this is the videotape that came in just a few moments ago. The two men shaking hands and, David, as I mentioned, there is a lot of speculation as to where Milosevic was, but indeed it appears he is still on the soil of Serbia.

ENSOR: That is clearly correct. And Mr. Ivanov has now met with both President-elect Kostunica and Mr. Milosevic. Showing a certain amount of even-handedness, but he did recognize and congratulate Mr. Kostunica on his victory. So clearly the Russians signaling that they plan to do business with the new government, but they also see a role for Mr. Milosevic.

KAGAN: And David, for those of us -- those of our viewers who have not been following this scene so closely, explain again how important Russian support and Russian involvement is in this process, as this government tries to go to a new chapter.

ENSOR: Russia has a long, historic relationship with the former Yugoslavia, and the Serbs, fellow Slavs, fellow Orthodox Christians. There is a real strong bond of kind of brotherhood between the two nations. And Russia has always stood up for Serbia, even in the darkest days, when Mr. Milosevic was facing NATO bombing, the Russians condemned it, and took his side to a very large extent.

So, of the major powers in the world, certainly Russia is the one that is regarded as Serbia's closest friend.

HEMMER: David, the other thing we want to let our viewers know, as we are watching that videotape come in through Serbian television. I did see some videotape, here in Atlanta anyway, we have not shown it on the air just yet. But apparently of a few rooms that had been pretty much trashed, for a lack of a better word. Book shelves thrown on the floor, papers thrown all over the place.

I am not quite sure where that is, but it is possible that is the first pictures we have seen inside the parliament building that we saw, the protesters charged yesterday. I believe, do we have it cued up just yet? When we get to it, again, we will show our viewers, David.

It appears that these may be the first pictures inside the parliament building. But again, unclear exactly 100 percent. Now we have the videotape here.

This would be, if indeed we are accurate, inside the building that we saw stormed yesterday, when the thousands upon thousands of protesters did eventually break through that police line and get inside the building.

We talked yesterday, David, about the substantial amount of damage that was done physically to that structure. This would be testament to that.

ENSOR: Well, and there are going to be interesting questions now, not only about the rebuilding of the parliament physically, but about the parliament politically. In the elections that just occurred, supporters of Mr. Milosevic did very well in the parliament, and as I understood it at least, he still had a majority in that parliament.

How is that going to stack up now? Will there be people defecting to the Kostunica side, who actually ran as supporters of Mr. Milosevic in the parliament? Very, very interesting question.

And as we heard Alessio Vinci saying earlier, parliament needs to endorse Mr. Kostunica taking power, if he intends to do that right now. So an awful lot of behind-the-scenes politic now need to take place in that parliament.

HEMMER: Somewhat symbolic, OK, David.

KAGAN: One thing is clear, there is a lot yet to happen before the final form of this government has taken place in Yugoslavia. Once again, the pictures we showed you, Russian foreign minister, Igor Ivanov, meeting with Slobodan Milosevic, who indeed it appears is still very much still in Yugoslavia.



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