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Wednesday, April 14, 1999 Published at 22:05 GMT 23:05 UK

World: Europe

Milosevic breaks silence

Serbs shout anti-Nato slogans in a Belgrade protest

Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has made a rare live television appearance on Wednesday in which he ruled out foreign involvement in a solution to the situation in Kosovo.

Kosovo: Special Report
In a speech on the Serbian channel RTS-SAT, President Milosevic said only negotiations between the ethnic communities in Kosovo could end the crisis.

"The problems have to be resolved by the people who live in the province, not by outsiders imposing any kind of solution," Mr Milosevic said.

Negotiations for a political solution "are already being conducted directly" with Kosovo's community leaders, said the Yugoslav president.

He said that the approach being taken was "multi-ethnic, multicultural, and multi-confessional".

Milosevic warms to Belarus

Mr Milosevic's televised speech came soon after his meeting with the Belarusian President, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, in Belgrade.

[ image: President Milosevic welcomes Belarusian President Lukashenka]
President Milosevic welcomes Belarusian President Lukashenka
He thanked the Belarusian people and its leadership for their "great solidarity" with Yugoslavia, saying that the two countries shared a "joint future".

According to Mr Milosevic, the Yugoslavian Federal Assembly has unanimously passed a decision to have the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia join the Russia-Belarus Union.

"I expect Presidents Lukashenka and Yeltsin to initiate the process that will lead to the realisation of the union in accordance with the interests of the peoples of the countries involved," said President Milosevic.

"We believe that this alliance will demonstrate its vitality in the years to come and at the beginning of the century that is before us," he added.

The Yugoslavian president also used the occasion to denounce Nato's bombing campaign as "murderous".

"It violates all human rights and all norms of the international legal order," he said.

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