Year 2000 No. 167, October 6, 2000
Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :
Britain and the Big Powers Continue their Blatant Interference in Yugoslavia
Opposition Leader Seizes Control
Summary of News Agency Reports Leading Up to the Demonstrations
Blair "Milosevic Must Respect The Will of the People and Go"
Yugoslav Elections A Lesson in Outside Interference
Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Addresses a Memorandum to the UN Security Council
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Britain and the other big powers have all made statements demanding that Slobodan Milosevic stand down as president as the political crisis deepens throughout Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The calls were made amidst reports that those opposed to President Milosevic had taken control of the Serbian parliament and state television.
The Foreign Secretary, Robin Cook, made it clear that the departure of Milosevic would facilitate the rebuilding of Serbia and what he referred to as "rebuilding its bridges to the modern Europe", and he added that the EU sanctions imposed against Serbia would be lifted if Milosevic resigned. The governments of Germany, Italy, France and the US also made statements urging Milosevic to resign. The German Chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, hinted that state violence in Belgrade would lead to international "resistance", while the Russian President Vladimir Putin was said to have renewed his offer to mediate in the current crisis.
The British government and its NATO allies are jubilant that what they were unable to achieve by the criminal bombing of Yugoslavia now appears to have been accomplished by other means, facilitated by the pressure and interference of the big powers themselves, who blatantly interfered in the election process, issued threats and inducements and, as is well known, openly financed the opposition to Milosevic. The big powers, which were determined to use force to oust Milosevic, are now urging the greatest restraint. Those who carried out the Hitlerite bombing of the Serbian people are now posing as their greatest friends and championing non-violence.
The desire of the long-suffering peoples of Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia for their democratic rights and for the sovereignty of their country will not be brought about through "the modern Europe", nor under the auspices of Britain and the other big powers. On the contrary the events in the Balkans show that the rivalry between the powers is intensifying as they continue to struggle for economic and political domination in this strategically important region of Europe, as a pre-condition for their contention for global hegemony.
According to agency reports, the Yugoslav opposition is in charge of the Belgrades streets today after a swell of people appeared to have swept President Slobodan Milosevic from power.
On Thursday, demonstrators stormed the federal parliament and the building housing the executive of Milosevic's Socialist Party. Many of his police joined the protesters and the army stayed in its barracks. After initial resistance from police, who fired tear gas, the crowds burst into parliament, setting fire to some parts and ransacking filing cabinets. They also took over Serbian state television, where eyewitnesses said director Dragoljub Milanovic and news editor Spomenka Jovic were both beaten.
The state news agency Tanjug referred to opposition leader Vojislav Kostunica as ``elected president of Yugoslavia'' in a report signed ``Journalists of Liberated Tanjug'.'
The independent news agency Beta reported that one girl died when she was run over by an excavator during the demonstrations and three people were injured by firearms in Belgrade. About 100 people sustained various other injuries.
There was no official word on the whereabouts of Milosevic, but Beta reported late on Thursday that three aircraft had taken off from a military airport near Belgrade, fuelling speculation that some of the leadership might be leaving. Serbian opposition sources said on Friday Milosevic was in a bunker in the village of Beljanica, some 25 miles west of the town of Bor, which is close to the Romanian and Bulgarian borders, protected by troops.
Earlier today, opposition party leader Zoran Djindjic said Milosevic was in Bor along with his associates and warned that he might be preparing ``a coup'' to regain control.
The United States said on Thursday it hoped Milosevic would not try to hold onto power with some kind of ``last stand". ``We hope that Milosevic will recognise reality and step aside peacefully,'' National Security Council spokesman P.J. Crowley said. ``We also recognise that he is certainly capable of engineering a last stand. For the good of the Serbian people, we hope he won't.''
US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said on Thursday she would speak shortly to Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov. The United States and a growing number of other nations want Russia to recognise Kostunica as elected successor to Milosevic. ``I think the people of Serbia, of Yugoslavia, deserve a peaceful exit to a horrible two decades...,'' Albright told reporters aboard her plane on the way back to Washington from Egypt.
Shortly before her arrival in Washington, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said: ``We are looking to first of all, recognise the new government ... second of all, do what we can to help consolidate and stabilise the situation, and third of all, get on with the work of lifting sanctions and starting to work with the new government to integrate it into the region and into Europe.''
Tanjug news agency reported that army chiefs were meeting in Belgrade and a statement was expected after the session. The agency, citing reliable sources, said the army chiefs had been meeting for several hours.
Beta said the Yugoslav army would not interfere in protests by hundreds of thousands of demonstrators. ``The Yugoslav army will in no way interfere in street events,'' Beta quoted a source close to the military leadership as saying.
When asked whether the opposition was in contact with the armed forces, a former general turned opposition leader, Vuk Obradovic, said: ``Negotiations are constantly underway.'' Asked whether there were any results, he said: ``Can't you see that the army is silent and acting properly?'' The key thing at this moment is that people remain out in the streets because we haven't passed the most critical moment.'' He said he meant between 3 and 5 a.m. (0100 and 0300 GMT) on Friday.
Thousands of opposition supporters heeded this call. Before dawn, several hundred people were still sitting on the parliament stairs, while around 10,000 were still in the square across the road in front of Belgrade city hall building, listening to speeches and music. Many more were sleeping in the park.
On Thursday, Serbian television went blank for several hours and came out with a written message saying: ``This is the new Radio Television Serbia broadcasting.''
Police withdrew on Thursday from a coal mine where workers were on strike for the sixth day.
Kostunica, the centre of the protest, told the protesters on Thursday they had defeated Milosevic. ``Good evening, liberated Serbia,'' he told the crowd. ``Serbia hit the road of democracy and where there is democracy there is no place for Slobodan Milosevic,'' he said. Kostunica said he had been promised by France that international sanctions on Yugoslavia would be lifted by next week.
Sources: Associated Press (AP), Reuters, Beta
COURT INVALIDATES YUGOSLAV PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
The Yugoslav constitutional court annulled part of the 24 September Yugoslav
elections. "At first glance it might look like a concession by Slobodan
Milosevic, but I am afraid that it's a question of a big trap and so there's no
need to be euphoric," Vojislav Kostunica told Beta, according to Reuters.
Milutin Srdic, head of Yugoslavia's Constitutional Court, told the Bulgarian
office of Radio Free Europe that the presidential election had been annulled
and new elections should be set for the end of Milosevic's current term as
president. His term expires in mid-2001.
Dateline: Lazarevac, Yugoslavia
Sources: Reuters, Agence France Presse (AFP), Beta
SERB POLICE ENTER MINE, KOSTUNICA URGES CALM
Serb police took over key areas of the Kolubara mine following a breakdown
in negotiations with striking workers, wire services reported. Mine employees
vowed to maintain their strike. Vojislav Kostunica, opposition presidential
candidate, addressed the strikers. "I will remain with you until we defend
what we achieved on September 24," Kostunica said, according to Reuters.
Beta reported that Radojko Marinkovic, a member of the strike committee, was
arrested in his home. Details and confirmation of the arrest were not
JAPAN URGES NON-VIOLENCE IN YUGOSLAVIA
Japan called on the Yugoslav government to desist from violence in the
current election stand-off. "Japan is deeply concerned about the
announcement made by the government of Serbia on October 3.which said it would
block the peaceful protest, including general strikes, of the democratic
opposition, using special measures," the Japanese embassy in Belgrade said
in a statement, according to Reuters.
SERB FOOTBALL STAR ATTENDS RALLY
Football star Savo Milosevic took part in demonstrations against Yugoslav
President Slobodan Milosevic, Reuters reported. "I came here to
participate in this action, the fact that I am here speaks volumes on what I
think," Savo Milosevic told Reuters.
Source: Associated Press (AP)
KOSTUNICA SENDS LETTER TO MILOSEVIC
Serb opposition presidential candidate Vojislav Kostunica called on Yugoslav
President Slobodan Milosevic to step down from power for the good of the
country, AP reported. "Believe me, it will be better for you to recognise
this, for Serbia, Yugoslavia, Europe and each citizen of this country,
including you and me," Kostunica wrote in an open letter to Milosevic,
according to AP.
Dateline: The Hague
Source: Associated Press (AP)
U.N. REJECTS IMMUNITY FOR MILOSEVIC
Both the U.N. war crimes tribunal and U.N. Secretary-General condemned a
proposal by U.N. human rights envoy Jiri Dienstbier to offer Yugoslav President
Slobodan Milosevic immunity in exchange for his removal from office, AP
reported. Annan stated that Dienstbier's comments "do not represent the
views of the secretary-general or of any inter-governmental organ."
Source: Agence France Presse (AFP), Beta
ARMY WILL RECOGNISE RUN-OFF WINNER
General Nebojsa Pavkovic, the chief-of-staff of the Yugoslav army, said the
army would recognise the winner of the presidential run-off, AFP reported,
Source: Reuters, Associated Press (AP)
KOSTUNICA REJECTS MOSCOW'S OFFER TO MEDIATE
Vojislav Kostunica, Serb opposition presidential candidate, rejected
Russia's proposal to hold talks to help solve Yugoslavia's political crisis,
Reuters reported. "We are now in a situation in which I would consider it
irresponsible to leave the country because of the tension in the country, the
strikes and protests," Kostunica said, according to Reuters.
Source: Agence France Presse (AFP)
SERB UNIONS ANNOUNCE STRIKE
Unions representing Serbia's state power company and the republic's copper mines announced they would strike in an effort to force Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic from power, AFP reported. Both unions said they would remain on strike until Vojislav Kostunica was officially recognised as the winner in the presidential elections, according to AFP.
The Foreign Office reports that, reacting to the demonstrations in Belgrade in response to President Milosevic's "refusal to relinquish power", the Prime Minister, Tony Blair, said: "The message for Milosevic is clear. Go, go now, go before any more lives are lost, before there is any more destruction." He addressed the following to the people of Serbia: "Whatever the differences that have been between us, now that you have reached for democracy, the hand of friendship and partnership from countries like Britain is there for you."
The official results of the Yugoslav presidential elections had shown that President Milosevic had received the greatest share of the vote, but not enough to secure an outright victory. A second round of elections was to be held, before the Yugoslav Constitutional Court annulled the elections.
It might be added that when the will of the people of Britain had demonstrated their desire to see fuel prices reduced, Tony Blair took the line that it was not the course of a democratically elected government to heed such messages.
The three-person delegation of the Socialist Labour Party which participated in the monitoring of the Yugoslav elections has released the following statement.
At the invitation of the Socialist Party of Serbia, Britain's Socialist Labour Party sent a three-person delegation to participate in international monitoring of the Yugoslav elections held on 24 September. We were the only British representatives among 250 observers invited from around the world.
Our delegation travelled extensively throughout the country, was able to talk to officials and voters and visited numerous polling stations, gaining first-hand experience of what was actually taking place during an election which was being misreported in many parts of the world.
From what we saw, the Federal Electoral Commission, an elected all-party body, did everything in its power to ensure that people were able to cast their votes without intimidation and in an orderly manner - and certainly in accordance with procedures which we would expect in a democratic, free election.
In Serbia, we visited the Muslim areas of Kraljevo and Novi Pazar as well as observing polling in the capital, Belgrade.
It was only in Montenegro that we observed the following irregularities:
· the so-called Democratic Opposition which boycotted the elections in Montenegro nevertheless gathered outside polling stations there in clear violation of election procedures, using intimidating behaviour towards prospective voters;
· we received many first-hand reports from people who stated they had been threatened with the loss of their jobs if they turned out to vote;
· we were in no doubt that countless refugees from Kosovo had been deliberately excluded from the electoral lists in Montenegro despite the fact that their identity cards, issued in 1999, gave them the right to vote, and were thus also prevented from voting.
We could only conclude that these tactics of intimidation and disenfranchisement were designed to benefit the so-called Democratic Opposition.
We were also appalled at the blatant outside interference in the procedures from Western governments which are obviously seeking to influence the outcome of these elections by promising economic aid and the lifting of sanctions if the Yugoslav people vote in accordance with the wishes of these governments and the European Union.
Mick Appleyard Liz Screen Ian Johnson
BELGRADE, October 4, (Tanjug) - Regarding gross foreign interference in the elections in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs addressed a Memorandum to the United Nations Security Council and the General Assembly of the world Organisation, with a request that it be circulated as official document of the United Nations.
The Memorandum, inter alia, states: Before as well as during the electoral process conducted so far, the FR of Yugoslavia and its citizens have been incessantly exposed to systematic, brutal pressure by some influential international factors, primarily the US Administration and NATO countries, with an undisguised aim of directly interfering in the electoral process in the FR of Yugoslavia and of an inadmissible pressure brought to bear on the will of its population.
a) Political and psychological pressures and subversive activities:
In the period prior to elections in Yugoslavia, centres for assisting Yugoslav opposition and destabilisation of Yugoslavia were established in neighbouring countries (Szeged, Timisoara, Sofia, Skopje, Tirana). A month prior to the elections in Yugoslavia, a US Regional Centre was set up to co-ordinate the work of centres in individual countries of South Eastern Europe in order to exert political, psychological, diplomatic and subversive pressure (on 15 August 2000). The Budapest-based US Centre has engaged more than 30 experts for intelligence, propaganda, military intelligence and subversive activities against the FR of Yugoslavia under the direction of former US Ambassador to Croatia William Montgomery. The Centre recruits experts from USIS, CIA, USAID, DIA and other similar US agencies. For this reason, the FR of Yugoslavia lodged an official written protest with the United Nations Security Council on 18 September 2000 by qualifying the establishment of this centre as a violation of the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic and Consular Relations and international law and describing it as a gross interference in the internal affairs of the FR of Yugoslavia (S/2000/880). During the month of August this year, Director of CIA George Tennet visited the broader region of South Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Romania) to step up and co-ordinate pressure in the run-up to elections in Yugoslavia. A ring of radio and TV centres was established around the FR of Yugoslavia to transmit anti-Yugoslav propaganda, the well-known system of NATO propaganda such as Radio Free Europe, Deutshe Welle, Voice of America and others. Hundreds of hours of anti-Yugoslav propaganda aimed at psychological and political pressure on the citizens of the FR of Yugoslavia, concocted in US and NATO centres of subversion and destabilisation, are being aired via these systems and their transmitters from the territories of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania, on a daily basis. Many of these radio and television transmitters operate illegally on the same frequencies that, according to international conventions, belong to the FR of Yugoslavia and that are used by Yugoslav radio and television stations. The European Union too sent a "message to the Serbian people" on 18 September, on the eve of the elections, giving overtly support to the Serbian opposition and promising to lift sanctions against it if it votes for the opposition. This is evidence of the illegal nature and unjustifiableness of sanctions as an instrument to violate fundamental human rights, grossly intervene in internal affairs and bring about the accomplishment of illegitimate political goals. On this score, an EU representative was delivered the strongest protest in the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 21 September and at EU headquarters in Brussels on 22 September, respectively. Similar malicious views were publicly expressed every day in the media by the President of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly, by the Foreign Ministries of a number of EU countries, the EU High Representative and Commissioner for External Relations, as well as by the EU Stability Pact Co-ordinator and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, with a view to exercising an organised pressure on the public in the FR of Yugoslavia and on its electoral bodies and to prejudicing election results.
b) Opposition funding:
The US Administration, the Governments of NATO countries and various foundations, such as the Soros foundation, openly finance Yugoslav opposition and various forms of subversive activity aimed at destabilising the FR of Yugoslavia and at overthrowing its legitimate Government. This funding has been intensified in particular after the announcement of nation-wide parliamentary, presidential and local elections. Funds have openly been allocated to opposition political parties and their leaders, to the so-called independent media, associations and structures of the so-called civil society and to individuals. Prior to these elections, the US Administration paid US$ 77.2 million to Yugoslav opposition, a public fact also confirmed by a daily close to US Administration, The Washington Post, on 22 September 2000. The same was also confirmed by sources in US Congress, the Department of State and others. Only a day after the elections and the first round of Presidential election in the FR of Yugoslavia, US Congress passed on 25 September the "Democratisation of Serbia Act", making a series of gross and unsubstantiated allegations against the legitimate authorities in the FR of Yugoslavia and appropriating additional financial resources, to the tune of US$ 105 million, to bring them down, i.e. for the purposes of the Serbian opposition. This document, under the guise of an alleged concern for human rights, openly supported the separatism of ethnic Hungarians in the Serbian province of Vojvodina, where the majority Serbs live in harmony with 26 minorities. A week before the elections, the Charge d'Affaires of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Belgrade handed out cash funds in Deutsche marks to students and young people in several towns in Serbia, thus directly promoting the cause of the opposition. The so-called independent media and the statements made by the Norwegian Charge himself bear witness to it. Such conduct by the Norwegian Charge, as an abuse of the hospitality of the Yugoslav Government, contradicts his diplomatic functions, whereas giving bribe is punishable by law in all countries of the world. The Charge was twice officially warned in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that such activity is a flagrant interference in internal affairs and a gross violation of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. He was asked not to do so and to channel all assistance in accordance with the agreements and the normal practice existing in co-operation among sovereign States, via competent Government authorities, which the Charge completely ignored.
The above facts testify to flagrant foreign interference in electoral processes by using propaganda, psychological, political and military pressure aimed at influencing the will of the electorate, which is contrary to what democracy is about and which constitutes a violation of all norms of international law. The Government of the FR of Yugoslavia recalls that following the interference of foreign factors in its electoral process, it has already addressed the UN Security Council on 20 September 2000. The Yugoslav Government requested on that occasion the Security Council to address this important and urgent issue and to take measures to put an end to flagrant interference in our internal affairs and to ensure respect for international law and decisions of the United Nations. Considering that the UN Security Council has not yet reacted to this communication, the Yugoslav Government, presenting once again the above facts, calls again upon the Security Council to take specific steps to condemn in the strongest terms interference by the above-mentioned external factors in the internal affairs of the FR of Yugoslavia, especially interference in its electoral process, so as to ensure the respect for the Charter of the United Nations, international law and UN General Assembly documents.
The Memorandum, which has been delivered at UN Headquarters today, outlines also in detail specific provisions of the Charter of the United Nations and of other documents of the world Organisation that ban all interference in internal affairs, and particularly in electoral processes. In this context, the Memorandum cites provisions of UN General Assembly resolution 54/168 on non-interference in electoral processes which provides: "Strongly demands that all States refrain from financing political parties or groups in another State and from taking any action that undermines the electoral process..."
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