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Thursday, 7 March, 2002, 17:45 GMT
Primakov wants to testify for Milosevic
Yevgeny Primakov (left) and Slobodan Milosevic during the talks in Belgrade in 1999.
Primakov (l) supported Milosevic during the Kosovo crisis
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By the BBC's Ray Furlong in Moscow

Former Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov has confirmed his willingness to give evidence at The Hague war crimes tribunal about what he called the "positive role" played by Slobodan Milosevic.

The former US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright
Madeleine Albright also said she would testify
Mr Primakov was prime minister at the time of Nato's air campaign against Yugoslavia and he strongly supported Mr Milosevic.

He said he was speaking out against the international tribunal becoming a kangaroo court, and that the prosecution in The Hague was trying to ascribe Mr Milosevic a negative role.

Mr Primakov, who is now head of the Russian Chamber of Commerce, was speaking after talks with a Finnish trade delegation in Moscow.

Slobodan Milosevic
Milosevic charges
  • Genocide
  • Crimes against humanity
  • Grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions
  • Violations of the laws or customs of war

    Click here for a full list of charges

  • Last week he said he was prepared to testify as Mr Milosevic's defence witness.

    When Nato began its bombing campaign Mr Primakov was on his way to the United States, but he turned his plane around and cancelled his trip in protest.

    It is not clear whether he will actually appear at the Hague, as last month he said he had not been officially invited.

    But he is the latest high-profile figure to voice readiness to testify.

    The former US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, has said she will give evidence, as has Richard Holbrooke, the architect of the Dayton agreement that ended the war in Bosnia.

    Slobodan Milosevic is charged with genocide and crimes against humanity for his role during the conflicts in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

    See also:

    19 Feb 02 | Europe
    Kostunica attacks Milosevic trial
    06 Mar 02 | Europe
    Milosevic denied release request
    25 Feb 02 | Media reports
    Serbian press split on Milosevic trial
    18 Feb 02 | Europe
    Milosevic defence transcript
    19 Feb 02 | Europe
    The Milosevic case: Timeline
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