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Slobodan Milosevic Addresses the Yugoslavian People

Aired October 6, 2000 - 4:38 p.m. ET

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

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: We interrupt to bring you live pictures from Yugoslav television, actually a videotape of President Slobodan Milosevic addressing the people of Yugoslavia. This is being shown now on Yugoslav television.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC, PRESIDENT OF YUGOSLAVIA (through translator): ... who gave their -- who voted for me in these elections, but at the same time to thank those who -- who didn't vote for me because they took a great burden and responsibility for my soul that I bury for 10 years.

Concerning my party, is going to be very strong opposition, and I was always saying that the party cannot be -- can never show all its strength, and all its qualities if -- if it is in a position for a time, because the time spent in opposition allows to expel those who get into the party to feed some personal interest.

I am sure that the next times will be a great help for SPS and you both, and I'm sure that it will enforce them to win next elections, because -- exactly because of that feeling of release -- relief, because of taking that burden out of my soul.

I plan to rest, to spend some more time with my family, especially with my grandson Marco and after that, to continue to reinforce my party, and to make it give a great contribution to social life of this country and further development of this country. The contributions, they -- the same contribution they gave during the defense of our country, renewal of the country, and those first steps of renewing the country.

I congratulate Mr. Kostunica for his electoral victory and I wish to all citizens of Yugoslavia all of the success in the next period of the new president. Thank you.

WOODRUFF: This is a remarkable picture. This is a videotape of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, as you could see, taped and addressed to the Yugoslav people. In essence saying he thanked the people who voted for him and he said, even those who didn't support me, for lifting a great burden off my shoulders.

The key words came there at the end, when he said, I congratulate Mr. Kostunica on his victory, signifying that Mr. Milosevic accepts the tumultuous events in his country yesterday when the opposition, by the thousands, took over the parliament building, took over Yugoslav television. When, in effect, there was a coup by the people to put the person they felt had rightfully won the election on September 24, Vojislav Kostunica -- to put him in office.

Up until just a few moments ago, the whereabouts of Mr. Milosevic were in doubt. So the fact now, that he has made this videotape, made this statement on videotape, and it has now been shown on Yugoslav television, state-run television -- but now television that has been run by the democratic opposition. The clearest indication yet that he accepts these results.

He did say that he will go on to work with his own political party, to make it stronger, but for the time being he says he's going to take a break. So, a further indication that the dramatic changes we saw yesterday are changes that are going to stay in place.

I'm Judy Woodruff. We're going to take a break. More of our programming in just a moment.

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