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Sunday, 1 April, 2001, 18:33 GMT 19:33 UK
Regional leaders welcome Milosevic arrest
Belgrade building after Nato attack
Milosevic's rule brought Nato bombs to Belgrade
Leaders of countries in the former Yugoslavia and neighbouring states have welcomed the arrest of Slobodan Milosevic, with several expressing the hope that he will end up before The Hague war crimes tribunal.

The Croatian President, Stjepan Mesic, said Mr Milosevic would not be the last to be put behind bars.


Milosevic is definitely not the only one for whom a prison cell is in the offing

Croatian President Stjepan Mesic
"Today's apprehension of Slobodan Milosevic is en event which had to happen and which will be hailed by everybody that respects justice and democracy," Mr Mesic was quoted as saying by the Croatian news agency HINA.

Four wars

The arrest was necessary both for the stabilisation of the region and "the establishment of the responsibility for crimes perpetrated in four wars in the former Yugoslavia", he said.

"Milosevic, one of the most liable, is definitely not the only one for whom a prison cell is in the offing," Mr Mesic said.


It is more important for Bosnia and for the future prospect of peace in the region to see him answer before The Hague Tribunal for war crimes

Bosnian Foreign Minister Zlatko Lagumdzija
The Bosnian foreign minister also said it was important for regional stability that Mr Milosevic be sent for trial at The Hague.

"Regardless that Slobodan Milosevic should answer for plundering his own people, it is more important for Bosnia and for the future prospect of peace in the region to see him answer before The Hague Tribunal for war crimes," Zlatko Lagumdzija said.

Mr Lagumdzija said the judicial process against Mr Milosevic "must be used as an occasion for the trial against a project about the establishment of ethnically cleansed states which led to the horrendous wars".

Montenegrin Prime Minister Filip Vujanovic told the Bosnian Serb news agency SRNA that: "All citizens must be equal before the law, including former president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Slobodan Milosevic."
Belgrade ablaze
Belgrade burns after Nato attack

He said he trusted the judicial bodies to conduct a fair trial and particularly welcomed the fact that the investigation "will establish whether and to what extent Milosevic is guilty".

Act of justice

Czech President Vaclav Havel described the arrest as "an act of justice", his spokesman told Czech Radio.

"The President regards the arrest of Milosevic as putting the act of justice into effect because he firmly believes that everyone who bears some share of blame for unleashing a series of wars in the Balkans has to bear his own share of just punishment," the spokesman said.

The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry said the arrest indicated that both the Yugoslav and Serbian authorities "are respecting the choice of the people for the democratic path".


Milosevic is now a symbol of ruin, violence, crime and genocide in our region

Albanian government
"The arrest of Milosevic also is important testimony to the fact that Belgrade is joining the efforts of the international community in seeking criminal responsibility from those responsible for the victims and suffering in the last decade, not only in Yugoslavia, but throughout the whole region," a Bulgarian spokesman said.

Symbol of ruin

Albania also called for Mr Milosevic to be handed over to The Hague tribunal "where he should be tried and punished".

"Milosevic is now a symbol of ruin, violence, crime and genocide in our region," an Albanian government press release said.


The arrest had a price tag of around $50m. Kostunica and Djindjic do not, and never will, understand that Serbian national pride, honour and dignity are worth much more than American dollars or orders given by enemies

Serbian Radical Party

"He is the killer not only of Albanian, Bosnian, Croatian and other peoples but also the greatest killer and destroyer of the Serb people themselves. He has caused wars, innumerable deaths and massacres in the last decade."

A Hungarian foreign affairs spokesman said that "Belgrade has taken another important step on the way to meeting the requirement of the Hague tribunal".

Not surprisingly, the extreme right-wing Serbian Radical Party led by one-time Milosevic ally Vojislav Seselj differed, saying the arrest was the result of US orders.

"The arrest had a price tag of around $50m", a party statement said. "Kostunica and Djindjic do not, and never will, understand that Serbian national pride, honour and dignity are worth much more than American dollars or orders given by enemies."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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01 Apr 01 | Europe
Bush hails Milosevic arrest
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