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Protests in Serbia Archive
Odraz B92 Daily News Service

    ODRAZ B92, Belgrade                             Daily News Service
    Odraz B92 vesti (by 5 PM), January 11, 1997

    e-mail: beograd@siicom.com      URL: http://www.siicom.com/odrazb/
            odrazb92@b92.opennet.org     http://www.siicom.com/b92/
    All texts are Copyright 1997 Radio B92. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

    NEWS BY 5 PM


    A high ranking Serbian government official, who asked for
    anonymity, has told Reuters that Slobodan Milosevic is expected to
    publicly recognize opposition victories in several Serbian cities
    and to call for the formation of a coalition government later

    ``Milosevic will publicly accept, and in full, the recommendations
    of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe
    (OSCE). The statement regarding this is being prepared as we
    speak,'' the same Serbian official told the British news agency.

    An OSCE mission visited Belgrade just before Christmas, headed by
    Felipe Gonzalez, former Spanish Prime Minister, and determined
    that the opposition coalition Zajedno had won in the local
    elections in 14 out of the 18 larger cities and town in Serbia,
    including Belgrade.

    The decision to accept the OSCE mission's report was made last
    night at a joint meeting of the SPS and JUL leadership, the ruling
    party and the left-coalition headed by Slobodan Milosevic and his
    wife Mirjana Markovic respectively.


    According to an article in today's issue of the independent daily
    Dnevni Telegraf, the Serbian government is expected some time
    today to issue a public acknowledgment of the electoral victories
    by the opposition coalition Zajedno in all the cities in which the
    November 17 results had been nullified.

    Quoting anonymous sources close to the government, Dnevni Telegraf
    says that the issue was one of the major topics at the meeting of
    the top echelons of the ruling SPS and the left coalition JUL,
    held at a Belgrade conference center yesterday.

    The daily's sources also claim that the meeting was called to
    discuss a planned reshuffle in the Yugoslav government as well as
    in these two parties, which have experienced some serious internal
    divisions over their handling of the electoral crisis. The SPS,
    Milosevic's ruling party, seems to be ready to sacrifice some of
    its top ranking members -- Gorica Gajevic, Branislav Ivkovic, and
    Nikola Sainovic -- to forge a closer alliance with JUL.  Zoran
    Todorovic, general secretary of JUL, is said to have already
    handed in his resignation which hasn't been accepted as yet.

    ``The reinstatement of opposition coalition Zajedno's victories in
    the local elections and the changes in the SPS-JUL personnel
    should lead, by the end of next week, to a complete resolution of
    the current situation on the Yugoslav political scene,'' writes
    Dnevni Telegraf, adding that ``the SPS is about to concentrate on
    drawing up an uncompromisingly tough campaign strategy for the
    parliamentary and presidential elections'' to be held later this


    Relying on its usually well-informed sources in the ruling party,
    Belgrade's daily Blic reports today that the current Mayor of
    Belgrade, Nebojsa Covic, is expected to step in and take over the
    office of Serbian Premier, filled up to now by Mirko Marjanovic.
    Marjanovic is said to have already submitted his resignation.

    Nebojsa Covic's nomination for the next Premier of Serbia is
    expected today, Blic claims. The paper also reports that Covic
    accepted the position yesterday, during the meeting he had with
    Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. At their meeting yesterday,
    Covic made his acceptance conditional on the removal of several
    SPS hard-liners, Gorica Gajevic, Nikola Sainovic and Ivica Dacic
    in particular.


    Cedomir Jovanovic, member of the Steering Board of the Student
    Protest 96/97, told a press conference held after his three-hour
    meeting with Serbian vice-presidents Ratko Markovic and Nedeljko
    Sipovic yesterday that ``the government of Serbia has issued an
    order to the Ministry of Justice instructing it to demand from the
    local election commissions as well as the local courts immediate
    action on determining the real results of the November 17
    elections and identifying those responsible for the violations of
    law committed at the time.''

    According to Cedomir Jovanovic, the authorities have also asked
    the Ministry of Education to accept and endorse the student
    demands for the replacement of the current rector and his student
    assistant at the University of Belgrade.

    The students were not able to get any satisfactory response to
    their demand for the removal of the special police units currently
    deployed in Belgrade in their thousands. Jovanovic added that the
    Student Protest will go on until that demand, too, has been met.

    The student representative also emphasized that Dragoljub
    Mladenovic, Serbian minister of education, did not show up for the
    meeting with the vice-presidents of Serbia and is expected to see
    Nedeljko Sipovac later today to be briefed on the decisions taken
    during this meeting.


    At the Brussels meeting of the Contact Group countries, the US has
    publicly come forward with its list of measures aimed at
    pressuring the Serbian government to accept the OSCE
    recommendations for a full reinstatement of opposition victory in
    the recent local elections in Serbia, reports AFP.

    The statement issued by the US delegation in Brussels carries a
    4-point plan of punitive measures against official Belgrade. The
    US plans to veto all FR Yugoslavia's moves in the field of foreign
    relations; delay granting any landing rights in the US to the
    Yugoslav state-owned airline; discourage all international trade
    and other high-level missions relating to Serbia, thus maintaining
    the outer wall of sanctions against FR Yugoslavia; and cut all
    contact between official Belgrade and international financial

    The US statement additionally calls for further consultations with
    US partners in Europe to consider new measures should the
    situation in Belgrade take a turn for the worse.

    The US plan also calls for a continued monitoring of the situation
    in Serbia so as to ensure both short and medium term diplomatic
    assistance to the struggle aimed at removing structural
    impediments to the development of democracy in FR Yugoslavia. Such
    assistance and associated measures, goes on the US statement,
    should focus on helping the investigation of state corruption in
    Serbia, giving assistance to an independent judiciary, providing
    aid to independent political organizations, and continuing to
    exert pressure on the Belgrade authorities concerning the position
    of ethnic minorities in FR Yugoslavia.


    The current protests in Belgrade are being mirrored by peaceful
    protests in many other cities and towns across Serbia.

    Radio B92 has learned that in Vrsac, yesterday, a rally of 5,000
    Zajedno supporters was addressed by several members of the city
    council as well as the president of the municipal government of
    Vrsac. The walk held after the rally attracted a larger number of
    participants. The police did not attempt to block the protest walk
    or otherwise interfere with the protesters.

    The residents of Vrsac have also been staging their own noise-
    making campaign, using their car horns and car alarms to express
    their dissatisfaction at the November 17 electoral theft and the
    state-media reporting of the current crisis in Serbia.

    Prepared by: Aleksandra Scepanovic
    Edited by: Vaska Andjelkovic (Tumir)

    ODRAZ B92, Belgrade                             Daily News Service
    e-mail: beograd@siicom.com      URL: http://www.siicom.com/odrazb/
            odrazb92@b92.opennet.org     http://www.siicom.com/b92/

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