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The BBC's David Shukman
"More and more of his allies are to be rounded up"
 real 56k

The BBC's Paul Anderson
"I think it marks the start of a new phase of foreign assistance"
 real 56k

Dushan Ignatovic, Yugoslav Lawyers Committee
explains the new charges against Mr Milosevic
 real 28k

Monday, 2 April, 2001, 23:42 GMT 00:42 UK
US approves Yugoslav aid
A poster in Belgrade shows Milosevic behind bars
A poster in Belgrade shows Milosevic behind bars
The US has pledged to release up to $50m in aid for Yugoslavia, following the arrest at the weekend of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.


It is important those responsible for the violations of international humanitarian law are brought to justice

Kofi Annan
But State Department officials also said that the US expected to see "continued progress" in Yugoslavia in the coming months.

The US aid package is not dependent on the transfer of Mr Milosevic to the international criminal court in The Hague, the officials said.

The Serbian Government welcomed the US announcement. "It's good news that will reinforce the ambitious path of economic reform on which we have embarked," Serbian Finance Minister Bozidar Djelic said.

Prosecutors in Belgrade have widened the charges against Mr Milosevic to include accusations that he incited his bodyguards to shoot at police trying to arrest him.

Money transfers

Meanwhile, Mr Milosevic has admitted that his government financed Serb separatist forces in Bosnia and Croatia in the early 1990s.

Appealing against his detention on charges of looting state funds, he said the transfers of money to Serb forces were state secrets - and as such, they were not entered in the budget.

Car containing Slobodan Milosevic leaves his residence early on Sunday morning
Mr Milosevic (left) is whisked away to prison
The United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, said on Monday he was confident that Belgrade would co-operate with prosecutors in The Hague.

"It is important those responsible for the violations of international humanitarian law are brought to justice," Mr Annan said.

Meanwhile, Serbia's interior minister said Mr Milosevic might choose to go to The Hague to face war crimes charges in order to avoid the death penalty at home.

"There is an essential difference between The Hague and Serbia. Serbian criminal law envisages the death penalty. Also the prisons in Serbia are far from being very comfortable," Dusan Mihajlovic said in an interview with Austria's ORF television.

Charges

His deputy, General Sreten Lukic, said a new charge of "organising a group and inciting persons to prevent actions by officials" was being added to the existing accusations against Mr Milosevic.

He was arrested early on Sunday, on suspicion of abuse of power and corruption, which carries a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Defence lawyer Toma Fila
Lawyer Toma Fila holds out little chance of a successful appeal
If charged and convicted for inciting his body guards, he could be jailed for an additional 15 years.

An adviser to Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica said Mr Milosevic could also be charged with ordering political assassinations.

Mr Milosevic's bodyguards wounded four policemen, one seriously, when the officers tried to storm his residence early on Saturday, General Lukic said.

More serious charges could be raised in the months ahead, possibly including involvement in political assassinations during his 13-year rule, he said, adding that the authorities were trying to determine whether Milosevic loyalists were planning "armed rebellion".

Three of his bodyguards were also arrested.

As the former Yugoslav leader started his second day in Belgrade's central jail, his lawyer was seeking to overturn a 30-day detention order against him.

Arms cache

Under the Yugoslav judicial system a suspect is not officially charged until the investigation against him has been completed.

Police officials say Mr Milosevic's alleged corruption cost the state close to $100m.

Drama unfolds
Fri 1800 GMT:
Serb media report Milosevic's arrest

2200:
Milosevic addresses supporters

Midnight:
Police storm villa

Sat 0430:
Riot police clear area around villa

Sun 0400:
Milosevic surrenders

Officers seized a huge cache of arms from his villa, in the exclusive Belgrade suburb of Dedinje. The haul included two armoured personnel carriers, 30 automatic weapons, three heavy machine guns, a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and two cases of hand grenades.

In the end, the former strongman gave himself up. Government sources are quoted as saying any attempt to storm the building would have ended in a bloodbath.

No action has been taken by the Belgrade authorities against Mr Milosevic's wife, Mira Markovic.

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See also:

03 Apr 01 | Media reports
Milosevic's appeal
01 Apr 01 | Europe
Sleepy Belgrade in two moods
01 Apr 01 | Media reports
Regional leaders welcome Milosevic arrest
01 Apr 01 | Europe
Belgrade's sigh of relief
02 Apr 01 | Europe
Belgrade press review
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