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Protests in Serbia Archive
Odraz B92 Daily News Service

    ODRAZ B92, Belgrade                             Daily News Service
    Odraz B92 vesti (by 10 PM), January 15, 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 10 PM


    The Governing Council of the University of Belgrade has accepted
    the decisions of the Teaching Council, which supported student
    demands. But after a secret ballot on the second issue on its
    agenda, it decided not to replace the University's rector Dragutin
    Velickovic and the student deputy rector Vojin, reports FoNet.
    Thirty-six members of the governing council voted in favor of the
    motion to replace the rector; 31 cast their votes against it. The
    council has 76 members in total, but since only 69 of them voted,
    andas decisions of this kind require a simple majority, no
    decision could be reached. Member of the student delegation
    Cedomir Antic stated after the session of the Council: ``I am
    astounded by the double standard of the members of the Council,''
    adding that ``students will continue with their protests until the
    bitter end.''


    Rector of the University of Belgrade, Dragutin Velickovic, said
    today that by placing the student demand for his replacement on
    its agenda, the Governing Council of the University of Belgrade
    had endorsed that demand. ``Secret balloting is a relative thing,
    because people can vote differently from what they say,'' said the
    rector. Asked if he will resign on his own, Velickovic answered:
    ``I am not thinking about it right now. Do not ask me about it
    tonight. I have the support of the Council, and I will remain
    rector for the time being.'' He added that the regular election of
    the new rector will be held at the Governing Council's session in


    Member of the Steering Board of the Student Protest 96/97, Ceda
    Jovanovic, stated at a press conference given today: ``UofB
    students will persist with their protests until the demands that
    gave rise to these protests are met. The fact that Dragutin
    Velickovic is still the rector is not a setback but our great
    moral victory and an incentive to persist with our demands.''  The
    Steering Board of the Student Protest will decide about the future
    protests tonight.


    Leaders of the coalition Zajedno today called on the residents of
    Belgrade to persist with their demands for the recognition of the
    results of the local elections from November 17. They also
    stressed that the latest concessions of the authorities may be
    just a trick in order to deter further protests.

    Head of the Democratic Party, Zoran Djindjic, pointed out: ``There
    is no bargaining, Mister President. We do not have the right to
    let go of a single vote. The results from November 17 are sacred.
    Milosevic is making concessions and is playing cat and mouse with
    us. But he is a mouse caught in a trap,'' said Djindjic, and added
    that the coalition Zajedno sternly condemns last night's attack on
    a Belgrade mosque.

    Leader of the Serbian Renewal Movement, Vuk Draskovic, stated that
    the latest concessions made by the authorities could be a sign of
    a common sense approach but it could also be a new trick of the
    Socialists. ``In the following days, we will see whether the
    Socialists will lodge a complaint and what will the court say.''
    Regarding the article in the daily Nasa Borba about an alleged
    incident between him and the students, Draskovic said: ``The
    terrorist organization JUL (Yugoslav Left) has until now presented
    all their lies via state-run television and state newspapers. Now
    they are putting out false information through the independent
    media as well. I give you my word that all that is a naked lie
    invented by the special police. The journalist who wrote that
    article is a free-lance contributor of Nasa Borba. He is also a
    member of the information service of the Serbian Radical Party.''
    Draskovic also claimed that JUL is preparing a set of terrorist
    actions aimed at the police in order to incite them to use
    violence against the demonstrators. Two American Senators, Karl
    Levin and Jack Reed also addressed the crowd.

    Today's protest walk was organized in the Knez Mihajlova street in
    central Belgrade and the protesters did not approach police lines
    at all. The next protest rally was announced for tomorrow.


    Head of the Democratic Party, Zoran Djindjic, today gave a
    statement for BBC Radio in which he said that the latest
    confirmation of the electoral results in Belgrade and Nis ``could
    signal a new policy, but it may also be the sign that the system
    is falling apart. We see it as the latter. On one side, we have
    concessions about Belgrade and Nis, but on the other side we see
    that hard-liners have prevailed in the Socialist Party and their
    leaders are speaking against the democratization of Serbia. In any
    case, we have no reason to feel triumphant. We have to wait and
    see what this [new move] is all about. The crisis is still acute
    and one cannot say which way it will turn: towards compromise, as
    we and the people of Serbia want it, or towards a deepening of the
    rift. We are continuing with the protests and with our demand that
    the OSCE commission's report be recognized in every detail. We
    demand that state media, which should be independent [of party
    influence] according to the law, begin to cover the events in
    Serbia objectively and independently. The odds in favor of a
    peaceful solution are great, because we, who are supported by the
    majority of the people, insist on a peaceful solution.''


    Deputy Secretary of the Italian Foreign Ministry, Piero Fassino,
    claimed today that the decision made by the Belgrade Electoral
    Commission yesterday has raised great expectations in the
    international community. He also commented that if the results
    from the local elections are recognized in full, it will be
    possible to ``re-open the discussion on Yugoslav re-integration
    into the international community.''  Fassino today met with
    General Momcilo Perisic, Chief-of-Staff at the Yugoslav Army
    Headquarters, His Holiness Patriarch Pavle and the leaders of the
    party Nova Demokratija.


    The Student Protest yesterday issued a statement branding minister
    Mladenovic's claim that the Teaching Council does not support
    students' demands but instead supports a completely imaginary
    agreement between the students and the members of the government a
    shameful attempt to manipulate the public and use the University
    for purposes of daily politics.


    The city of Kragujevac today had its forty-seventh protest rally
    of the coalition Zajedno. The protests in Kragujevac are to
    continue until the full recognition of the election results from
    November 17.

    The UN's special envoy for human rights, Elisabeth Wren, today
    expressed concern for the status of human rights in the province
    of Kosovo and anxiety that the agreement on education in this
    province is not being implemented.


    Mayor of Belgrade, Nebojsa Covic, today gave a statement for Radio
    B92 in which he commented on his expulsion from the Socialist
    Party of Serbia. ``My expulsion was voted for on the grounds that
    I had damaged the interests of the party by my pursuit of a quick
    way out of the crisis and [by my insistence on] the recognition of
    the election results and a dialogue with the opposition. But the
    accusation was eventually re-phrased and I was excluded from the
    party because I came in conflict with party's power figures, Mile
    Ilic and Branislav Ivkovic. I admit that I have always been in
    conflict with the likes of those two, for they are the ones who
    contributed to the defeat of the Socialists in the elections and
    to the ensuing crisis in Serbia,'' said Covic in his statement for
    Radio B92.


    Yugoslav foreign minister, Milan Milutinovic, unexpectedly arrived
    in Madrid today, reports AFP.  It is expected that he will meet
    his Spanish counterpart Abel Matutas. It is still uncertain
    whether he will meet Felipe Gonzalez, head of the OSCE delegation
    which inspected the regularity of the election results in Serbia.
    Milutinovic came to Spain just a day before the OSCE meeting in
    Vienna, where the situation in Serbia is to be discussed.


    British foreign minister Malcolm Riffkind stated for BBC Radio
    that it is absolutely necessary that Serbian President Milosevic
    accept the victory of the opposition in the local elections. The
    minister also announced that Great Britain has deferred the visit
    by Nikola Sainovic, a high ranking member of the ruling Socialist
    party, and invited Zoran Djindjic, leader of the Democratic Party,
    to visit the island first. This was done to demonstrate Britain's
    disapproval of the current Serbian policy.


    Melissa Fleming, spokeswoman for the Organization for Security and
    Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), tonight stated for Belgrade's BK
    Television that the current situation in Yugoslavia may be on the
    agenda of today's OSCE session in Vienna. She said that no
    decisions about Yugoslavia will be discussed tomorrow, because all
    member countries have agrees that the report made by Gonzalez's
    commission must be accepted in full.


    In his letter to Yugoslav foreign minister Milutinovic, French
    foreign minister, Ervet De Charet today warned of ``serious
    consequences'' if the electoral victories of the opposition are
    not recognized. ``Every delay in the implementation of the OSCE
    recommendations could have serious consequences on the future of
    Yugoslavia. We remain cautious regarding the recognition of the
    results in Nis and Belgrade. We await the implementation of those


    Russian weekly Itogi in its latest issue says that the Serbs have
    woken up politically, but even after two months of protests they
    have managed to wake up the authorities. ``Under the pressure of a
    high-spirited and ingenious opposition, Serbian President
    Milosevic is maneuvering, thinking that he still has some aces to
    pull. But he is forced to gradually give up his positions while
    trying to give the impression that he is doing it on his own
    initiative.''  Daily Izvestia says that Serbia cannot overcome its
    current political crisis without democratic changes and criticizes
    the Kremlin for refusing to establish contact with Serbian
    opposition leaders.


    President of the Democratic Party, Zoran Djindjic, had a long
    meeting with a delegation of the Student Protest, says today's
    issue of the daily Blic. Djindjic talked with the students about
    the alleged incident between them and Vuk Draskovic. He said that
    private statements, if true, are of much less importance than the
    protests themselves. The students were evidently in high spirits
    when they came out of Djindjic's office, reports Blic.


    Today's issue of the daily Demokratija claims that Greek foreign
    minister, Theodoros Pangalos was astonished to learn after his
    return to Athens the contents of the statement his Serbian
    counterpart Milan Milutinovic has made concerning the topics of
    their talk in Belgrade. The newspaper cites well-informed
    diplomatic circles and claims that Milutinovic forwarded his
    statement to the state news agency Tanjug. The announcement says
    that the two Ministers had talked about signing a contract on the
    use of the free zone in the port of Thessaloniki and on a
    liberalization of visa requirements. Not a word was exchanged on
    those topics, claim the sources of Demokratija. The Greek minister
    hod came to Belgrade to convey his government's grave concern over
    the unstable political situation in Serbia and its insistence that
    the OSCE report must be accepted in full.


    Some time in the early hours of January 13, the Belgrade weekly
    Nedeljni Telegraf received a fax-message from a terrorist
    organization calling itself the ``Liberation Army of Kosovo.''
    The message claimed that the organization had carried out two
    assassinations of Albanians who ``have worked against the
    interests of their people.''  Two murders really did occur at the
    beginning of this month in Kosovo. One of the murdered Albanians
    was a member of the ruling Socialist Party of Serbia. The police
    still have no official information to give about the above
    mentioned terrorist organization.

    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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