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Monday, 22 January, 2001, 14:42 GMT
New Milosevic mystery over son's 'exile'
Map showing reported travels of Milosevic family
By BBC News Online's Sheila Barter

The mystery over the whereabouts of the son of ex-President Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia continues to deepen.

Marko Milosevic fled to Moscow with his wife and young son soon after his father was toppled from power by a popular uprising in early October.

Reports say Mrs Milosevic and the child have now returned to Belgrade, but Marko is not with them.

former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic
Slobodan Milosevic: In Belgrade but could still flee
Serbian media claim that he has fled to the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan, although the authorities in Baku have denied it, and journalists there have failed to find any trace of him.

Reports that Milica Milosevic and the couple's two-year-old son - also named Marko - had ended their self-imposed exile came from independent Yugoslav news agency Beta.

They landed in Belgrade shortly after noon on Sunday on an Aeroflot flight from Moscow, said the agency, quoting unnamed government sources.

So where is Marko - still in Moscow, in Azerbaijan, or somewhere else?

Vojislav Kostunica
President Kostunica: Pledging to put Slobodan on trial
"He seems most likely to still be in Moscow," says BBC south-east Europe analyst Gabriel Partos.

"Azerbaijan would in some ways be an unlikely place, as it is a Muslim country, and Serbia's involvement in the Bosnian and Kosovan conflicts would make it less likely he would be welcome there.

"But business is business, so perhaps it is still possible."

The whereabouts of the whole Milosevic dynasty has proved a rich source of speculation ever since the "people-power" revolution drove the deeply unpopular Slobodan Milosevic from power.

They may be testing the water with various plans, but logically, with his background, he would rather go to a European Slavic country than onto more distant shores

BBC analyst Gabriel Partos
Early reports predicted that he would find a foreign bolt-hole, where he would be immune from prosecution over alleged war crimes during the Bosnian conflict.

His brother Borislav was then Moscow ambassador - sparking speculation that the whole family might seek refuge there.

Indeed, Marko and his family apparently left for Moscow within days of the drama unfolding.

In January they were joined by the Slobodan's wife, Mirjana Markovic.

Chinese rebuttal

But she stayed only a few days - attending Borislav's farewell party after he was recalled by the new Yugoslav Government.

Borislav's own whereabouts are now less than 100% clear, but he is thought to remain in Moscow.

Speculation on a new home for the Milosevic family has also focused on China.

But when Marko flew there in October - some reports said with the purpose of collecting a squirrelled-away family fortune - airport officials simply turned him away.

Libyan theory

He had spent less than two hours on China soil before being unceremoniously put on a plane back to Moscow.

Belarus, Iraq - an old friend of the Milosevic regime - or even Libya are still seen as possible contenders for the role of Milosevic retirement hosts.

Slobodan Milosevic is still in Belgrade, possibly continuing to plan a new life elsewhere with close members of his family.

"They may be testing the water with various plans, but logically, with his background, he would rather go to a European Slavic country than on to more distant shores," says Gabriel Partos.

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See also:

09 Oct 00 | Europe
Profile: Marko Milosevic
19 Sep 00 | Europe
Milosevic: Serbia's strongman
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