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U.N. renews Milosevic plea

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia -- The chief war crimes prosecutor has repeated her call for Yugoslavia to hand over former leader Slobodan Milosevic to the United Nations.

"I am waiting for Milosevic's transfer," Carla Del Ponte told the Associated Press after talks in Berlin with German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer.

The tribunal accuses Serb forces under Milosevic's command of mass expulsions and killings of Kosovo Albanians
The tribunal accuses Serb forces under Milosevic's command of mass expulsions and killings of Kosovo Albanians  

"The international community must help me in order for Milosevic to appear in The Hague. Of course I hope he will be brought there very quickly."

Her comments came as the Yugoslav parliament postponed until Friday discussions on a bill which could enable a law to be passed allowing Milosevic's extradition to face trial for alleged crimes against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo in 1999.

Del Ponte refused to comment on wrangling in the Belgrade parliament.

Fischer urged Yugoslavia to turn over Milosevic as well as other leaders accused of war crimes during the 1992-95 war in Bosnia, making it clear that putting Milosevic on trial in Yugoslavia would not be enough.

"We expect the Yugoslav government co-operate fully with the Hague tribunal," he told reporters.

Slobodan Milosevic's lawyers and the Yugoslav media said on Thursday that the country's former president would be handed over to the U.N. war crimes tribunal soon after a new law allowing his extradition is adopted.

Milosevic was arrested April 1 at his Belgrade villa. He is in Belgrade's Central Prison, pending a local investigation into allegations of corruption and abuse of power during his 13-year rule.

A parliament session was planned for Thursday to discuss a law outlining co-operation with The Hague, including a clause that would allow Milosevic's extradition.

But it was postponed for a day to give time for a compromise between Serbia's pro-democracy forces and the former president's Montenegrin allies who are opposed to the bill.

Lawmakers from Montenegro, the small republic that with Serbia forms Yugoslavia, have pledged to block the overall bill in the federal parliament. Without them, the Serb faction has no majority in the federal parliament.

The Montenegrins, fearing they could also end up being extradited to The Hague because of their leading positions during Croatian and Bosnian wars, oppose handing Yugoslav war crime suspects over to "foreign courts."

The Vecernje Novosti newspaper, which is close to the pro-democracy coalition, said on Thursday Yugoslav officials have agreed to hand Milosevic over to The Hague "urgently" after the law is passed.

• Federal Republic of Yugoslavia

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