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The BBC's Bill Hayton
"Yugoslavia's newly installed government wants international support"
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The BBC's Jacky Rowland in Belgrade
"OSCE monitors will observe parliamentary elections in Serbia in December"
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Monday, 6 November, 2000, 10:48 GMT
Belgrade pledges war crimes purge
Yugoslav cabinet
Yugoslavia appears willing to investigate war crimes
The new Yugoslav authorities will make a priority of co-operating with war crimes investigators, the country's foreign minister has said.


We need to do everything to reveal to our public everything that was done

Goran Svilanovic, Yugoslav Foreign Minister

Goran Svilanovic said the International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague would set up an office in Belgrade, and Yugoslav experts would work alongside them to gather evidence against suspects.

He also suggested setting up "truth commissions" to investigate war crimes.

Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has already been indicted for war crimes relating to the Kosovo conflict, by the international tribunal.

So far the new authorities have indicated he is unlikely to be handed over.

Yugoslavia is also believed to be sheltering a number of suspects accused of war crimes during the Bosnian conflict.

The comments from Mr Svilanovic follows earlier remarks by the prime minister that war crimes would not be a priority for the fledgling government.


Co-operation with the Hague tribunal is not a priority of the federal government

Prime Minister Zoran Zizic
"Responsibility for crimes is a topic that cannot be skipped," said Mr Svilanovic.

"We cannot and should not avoid facing the consequences of war and responsibility for crimes.

"We need to do everything to reveal to our public everything that was done, whether in the name of alleged Serb national interest or against Serbs."

Mr Svilanovic, speaking to the Serbian Beta news agency, said he also wanted to patch up relations with major powers.

Goran Svilanovic, Yugoslav Foreign Minister
Mr Svilanovic proposes 'truth commissions'
"It's only normal that we have close co-operation with the United States and with Russia," he said.

The issue of war crimes was an important factor in improving relations with the former Yugoslav republics of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia, he said.

His remarks seemed to contradict those of the new Prime Minister, Zoran Zizic, who said in a speech which preceded his government's approval by the federal parliament on Saturday that co-operation with the United Nations tribunal over war criminals was not a priority.

New line-up
Prime Minister: Zoran Zizic (SNP)
Deputy Prime Minister: Miroslav Labus (DOS)
Foreign Minister: Goran Svilanovic (DOS)
Finance Minister: Dragisa Pesic (SNP)

President Vojislav Kostunica has also expressed scepticism about the impartiality of the tribunal, and ruled out the immediate extradition of suspects.

Observers say Mr Milosevic could ultimately face trial before a Serb court.

Mr Zizic is a supporter of former-President Milosevic. His new government combines Serbs who back the new Yugoslav president as well as a strong pro-Milosevic Montenegrin contingent.

Mr Kostunica's alliance, the Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS), emerged as the strongest group in September's presidential elections, but failed to get an outright majority.

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See also:

03 Nov 00 | Europe
Poll threatens Yugoslav unity
01 Nov 00 | Europe
UN embraces Yugoslavia
24 Oct 00 | Europe
Serbian rivals close to deal
02 Nov 00 | Europe
Yugoslavia comes in from the cold
01 Nov 00 | Europe
New bid to prevent Yugoslav break
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