PORTUGALIAN PRESSA ABOUT RUSSIA: “PUBLICO” EXCLUSIVE: INTERVIEW WITH VOJISLAV KOSTUNICA

“WE WANT MEDIATION WITH RUSSIA, FRANCE AND GREECE” “Where there is democracy, there is no place for Slobodan Milosevic” As the revolution in Yugoslavia continues without bloodshed, we print the latest interview with presidential candidate Vojislav Kostunica, given exclusively to the Portuguese newspaper “Pъblico” and to radio Station “Antena 1”. Kostunica claims that he received more than 50% of votes in the first round of elections and for this reason, he will not accept a second round. “There will not be a second round because this would violate the will of the people. This would mean fraud, manipulation and lies….We propose a recount of the votes with the mediation of international agencies”. Interviewer : “ Considering your position, does the suggestion of Russian mediation at the invitation of President Vladimir Putin exclude a visit to Moscow?” Kostunica : “Certainly not. The Russian mini-initiative is interesting and encouraging. Russia plays an important role in its attempt to find a solution to our internal crisis because Russia is an integral part of the democratic world yet Russia is not part of the European Union…Russia and Greece are two countries which are friends (of Yugoslavia) and have contacts with the government and opposition. In the Russian proposal, there are certain questions which are not yet clear. The Russians are not very explicit about the results of the first round of elections on 24th September and so we state now, that the Russian position has to be clarified before any trip to Moscow can take place.” Interviewer : “You criticised the position of the USA, which has been constantly accusing President Milosevic in the War Crimes Court”. Kostunica : “I must say that the USA is always mentioning the Hague Tribunal against Milosevic, which helps Milosevic because he can act more firmly, in a xenophobic discourse, and this is the last thing we need now at this moment of crisis”. Interviewer : “What will happen if President Milosevic presents himself as the only candidate at next Sunday’s elections?” Kostunica : “ For us these elections would be illegal. Sooner or later, the will of the people, expressed on 24th September, will be respected…. Milosevic knows he was defeated in these elections, the people know this and insist that their vote is respected.” As this interview is being written, the people of Yugoslavia storm the Parliament building. In the middle of chaotic scenes on Belgrade’s beautiful, tree-lined streets, police and soldiers refuse to kill fellow citizens and the question remains open : How could Yugoslavia manage to isolate itself diplomatically from the rest of the world? The winds of change finally sweep through Serbia and Yugoslavia. One thing is clear : Russia is still a key player in this area and the USA and EU are still strongly mistrusted. Russia is expected to perform her natural role as leader of the Slavic nations and to lead them into the new era of the third millennium.

Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY Correspondent of PRAVDA.Ru Lissabon

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Author`s name: Editorial Team