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Yugoslav Revolution: World Leaders Applaud Milosevic's Fall

Aired October 6, 2000 - 1:32 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: Russia, a longtime Yugoslavian ally, today recognized Kostunica as Yugoslavia's president-elect.

CNN's Richard Blystone reports that many world leaders applaud this week's developments in Yugoslavia.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

RICHARD BLYSTONE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Referring to the uprising of Poland's Solidarity movement 20 years ago, Britain's visiting prime minister Tony Blair declared: What the Poles began, the people of Serbia will finish.

TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: They can now make those steps into a fully fledged democracy, as indeed you in Poland have shown the way.

BLYSTONE: The European Union's foreign and security policy chief Javier Solana said the union should start lifting sanctions on Yugoslavia Monday when its foreign ministers meet in Luxembourg. France, currently holding the E.U. presidency, declared it will press for that. German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer hoped for Russian help in affirming Kostunica as president to assure the transfer of power is peaceful. Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder canceled a trip to concentrate on liasing with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Some Russian newspapers likened the storming of parliament in Belgrade to Russia's own uprising and accused the Moscow leadership of timidity in its response to the Yugoslav crisis. Mindful of those days, other former Communist-bloc countries were quick to welcome the change. Hungary's foreign minister Janos Martonyi stressed the future of a European Yugoslavia. In Bulgaria, one of the later Communist dominoes to fall, Prime Minister Ivan Kostov feared Mr. Milosevic might still have resources to strike back.

And where could he flee? Likening the downfall of Mr. Milosevic to that of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu 11 years ago, Romanian authorities announced they were tightening controls over their airspace to stop the passage of people sought for war crimes. Belarus says it will consider giving the Yugoslav president asylum if he asks for it. Kazakhstan's prime minister said he's not aware of any request there, and added: In any case, presidents should stay in their own countries.

But whether or not the new Belgrade regime intends to hand over the fallen president, Britain says he must be tried.

ROBIN COOK, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: I believe that if we want reconciliation for the future in the Balkans, we've got to do justice for the atrocities of the past. I don't see how you could drop the charges against Mr. Milosevic without winding up the work of the tribunal against lesser figures who were carrying out his policies.

BLYSTONE (on camera): Those western political leaders who believe that anyone short of the devil himself would be better than Slobodan Milosevic are talking now about hands of friendship and hands full of reconstruction cash.

Easy, now, to skip over questions like: Will Kostunica hand over accused Serb war criminals? or, what would he do if Kosovo Albanians persist in their battle for independence?

Richard Blystone, CNN, London.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: We'll continue to follow that story.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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