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Yugoslav Revolution: Milosevic Meets with Russian Foreign Minister in Belgrade

Aired October 6, 2000 - 10:47 a.m. ET

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

DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Just a few minutes ago, live right here on CNN, we were able to answer the questions, since the revolution began in Yugoslavia: Where is Slobodan Milosevic? Apparently still very much in that country and potentially a player in that government.

BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: Alessio Vinci, such good work yesterday as an eye-witnesses to what we saw in the streets, back with us now.

Alessio, what are we finding up today, coming up to about 5:00 local time there?

ALESSIO VINCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That is correct, Bill. Just before 5:00 here and we now have one answer to one of the many questions here that was posed by many people: Where is President Milosevic? Well, he is here in Serbia, here in Belgrade. There was a lot of speculation whether President Milosevic had fled the country or perhaps was hiding in a bunker in eastern Serbia. No, Mr. Milosevic is now here in Serbia. He was meeting earlier today with Igor Ivanov, the Russian envoy.

You saying that Milosevic will be a player in this country. I think, at this point, with the recognition of Russia for Mr. Kostunica, who will be sworn in as the next Yugoslav president, I think that Mr. Milosevic at this point is on his way out. We will have to see.

I believe, in my opinion, is once Mr. Kostunica will be sworn in as the next president of Yugoslavia, he will become the commander-in- chief of the Yugoslav armed forces. At that point, I think we are going to hear a clear statement by the army supporting Mr. Kostunica.

They have said all along, they will respect the will of the people. If Mr. Kostunica is sworn in as the president, the army will follow behind him.

HEMMER: So then clarify this matter: What is the message that Ivanov wants to deliver Milosevic in Belgrade today. Is this the final sales pitch to cut and run? or what is the message he is delivering from Moscow?

VINCI: I think Mr. Ivanov came here with two goals. The first one was to recognize Mr. Kostunica as the next president of Yugoslavia. The second one was trying to -- try to tell President Milosevic and perhaps his top henchmen here that Russia was going to ensure that a peaceful transition of power was going to take place between the old government and the new government.

There has been a lot of questions here, why President Milosevic has not tried to address the people? why the army has not come out clearly stating that they were supporting Vojislav Kostunica? I think that Mr. Ivanov here today managed to create that situation whereby that mediation between the two sides, we heard yesterday, from Vojislav Kostunica, they are aware today, and we don't even know if it's happening now, there were no contacts between Kostunica and Mr. Milosevic.

Therefore, the Russian foreign minister came here, trying to bridge this gap, trying to bring the two sides, if not together, at least to act as an intermediary.

KAGAN: And Alessio, so if looks like Mr. Kostunica wants to build a government without Slobodan Milosevic, he cannot do that however without Milosevic's supporters?

VINCI: Well, the opposition here is trying to convene a new federal parliament. They need, of course, the deputies from Montenegro. That is those 20 deputies from the upper house and some other half a dozen, a dozen of deputies for the lower house.

At this point, we understand from the Socialist People's Party in Montenegro, which has so far supported always Mr. Milosevic, they are still supporting him, and therefore, they're not willing to at least vote in favor of Mr. Kostunica.

However, there is a possibility that within that very same party, there might be a split. And some deputies may decide, if not to switch sides, but at least vote in favor of Mr. Kostunica as president. And that would really unfold this situation here in Serbia and in Montenegro.

Back to you.

HEMMER: That seems like a bit of an understatement. But it is an amazing 24 hours in that part of the world.

KAGAN: Certainly has, and the story is far from over.

HEMMER: Alessio Vinci, live in Belgrade. Thank you, Alessio.

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