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Serbia: Talks On Milutinovic Surrender Nearing End

Belgrade, 9 January 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Former Serbian President Milan Milutinovic -- wanted by the UN war crimes tribunal -- is reported to be negotiating his surrender to the court. Yugoslav Deputy Justice Minister Nebojsa Sarkic told the AP news agency that "negotiations are in the final stage" and that the "matter" could be resolved in "a day or two." He gave no other details.

Milutinovic has been indicted for war crimes in Kosovo in the 1990s.

The UN tribunal in The Hague has repeatedly called for his extradition. But Yugoslav officials had refused, saying that as Serbian president, Milutinovic was protected by immunity.Yugoslav authorities, however, began the extradition process one day after Milutinovic's term as president ended on 29 December.

Meanwhile, the war crimes trial of former Yugoslav President SlobodanMilosevic is set to resume today.

The former Yugoslav leader -- accused of spearheading ethnic cleansing in the Balkans in the 1990s and charged with genocide and war crimes -- is scheduled to return to the dock in The Hague.

The trial's first phase focused on alleged Serb atrocities in Kosovo in 1999 and ended in September. The court is now hearing evidence about the 1991-1995 conflicts in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.