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Monday, 1 April, 2002, 04:38 GMT 05:38 UK
Yugoslavia faces aid freeze
A British soldier at the site of a mass grave in Kacanik, Kosovo
The suspects are wanted for atrocities in the Balkans
Yugoslavia is facing a freeze in US aid, as the deadline for handing over war crimes suspects expires without any decisive action.

Under US law, about $40m in aid is suspended from midnight on Sunday (0500GMT Monday).

Serbian President Milan Milutinovic
Wanted: Serbian President Milan Milutinovic
On Sunday, the Serbian Government issued arrest warrants for four close associates of former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, all of whom are charged with war crimes.

Serbian Justice Minister Vladan Batic blamed the federal Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica for failing to cooperate with the war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

The Yugoslav Government is due to meet on Monday to discuss the issue, a year to the day that Mr Milosevic was arrested.

Missing names

The two most wanted suspects still at large - General Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic - are not on the arrest warrants issued on Sunday.

Those named are:

  • Milan Milutinovic, current Serbian president;

  • Nikola Sainovic, Mr Milosevic's top security adviser and former deputy prime minister;

  • Dragoljub Ojdanic, a former Yugoslav army commander; and

  • Vlajko Stojiljkovic, former Serbian interior minister in charge of the police.

They were all close associates of Mr Milosevic and held high office during the war in Kosovo in 1998 and 1999.

Faced with a similar deadline last year, the Serbian Government arrested Mr Milosevic.

He was handed over to The Hague tribunal three months later and is now on trial for atrocities committed in Kosovo, Bosnia and Croatia in the 1990s.

Power struggle

Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic, a pro-Western leader who engineered Mr Milosevic's arrest and extradition, is locked in a power struggle with his nationalist archrival Mr Kostunica, who considers the tribunal an illegal and unjust court.

Zoran Djindjic
Mr Djindjic wants to avoid international isolation
Mr Kostunica insists that extraditions to The Hague should not take place until a special law is passed.

But Mr Djindjic acknowledged that the former Yugoslavia could face international isolation if it did not co-operate with the war crimes tribunal.

He said earlier that some of the suspects could be delivered to The Hague within days though he hoped the US might be flexible over the deadline voted for by the US Congress.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell is expected to decide in the next few days whether to allow continued financial support for Yugoslavia.

General Mladic is widely believed to be in Serbia under the protection of the Yugoslav army, but Serbian authorities have said he is beyond their reach for the time being.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Gillian Ni Cheallaigh reports
"The United States is again putting pressure on the authorities in Belgrade"
See also:

27 Mar 02 | Europe
Serbia signals move on war crimes
19 Feb 02 | Europe
Kostunica attacks Milosevic trial
11 Feb 02 | Europe
Milosevic allies still at large
30 Aug 01 | Europe
Milosevic to face genocide charge
03 Aug 01 | Europe
War crimes: The ethnic balance
30 Jun 01 | Europe
The Hague's wanted men
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