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Breaking News

Yugoslav Revolt: White House Lauds Russian Recognition of Kostunica as Rightful President

Aired October 6, 2000 - 7:39 a.m. ET

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

ANDRIA HALL, CNN ANCHOR: We have breaking news this morning coming out of Yugoslavia that the opposition leader, Vojislav Kostunica, is being formally recognized by Russia as the clear leader and president of that country.

Want to take you live now to Kelly Wallace who is standing by with reaction from the White House. Kelly's in Washington -- Kelly.

KELLY WALLACE, CNN WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Andria, we have reaction from the United States' leading diplomat, U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Our viewers heard from her on CNN's air just a short time ago. She said it was great news to hear that Russian President Vladimir Putin is congratulating opposition leader Vojislav Kostunica on his election victory. The secretary saying this is the last piece of the puzzle and perhaps a very, very important piece of the puzzle to come into place.

The Russians have long been supporters of Slobodan Milosevic, and the Russian people have strong historical and cultural ties to the Serbian people. So White House officials have believed, ever since the elections on September 24, that the Russians could be very helpful in resolving the standoff. The Russians, though, so far, up until today, have been reluctant to publicly endorse the opposition as the new leader of Yugoslavia. U.S. officials, though, saying this is great news. They heartily agree with the Russian decision, and now they hope the Russians will be able to convince Slobodan Milosevic to step down.

We also heard from Secretary Albright on the subject of easing sanctions on the federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The Secretary saying that as soon as Mr. Kostunica is in power and Mr. Milosevic is out, the U.S. will lift those sanctions -- Andria.

HALL: Kelly Wallace, live from the White House. Thank you, Kelly.

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