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Serbia: Bosnian Serbs Call On Milosevic To Recognize Poll Results

Belgrade, 6 January 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Bosnian Serb leaders today called on Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic to recognize opposition victories in November elections. In a message carried today on the Bosnian Serb SRNA news agency, Aleksa Buha, the head of the ruling Bosnian Serb Democratic Party, called Milosevic's refusal to concede defeat "insane." He said the current crisis "threatens to turn into bloodshed." Buha said "the voice of the people is the voice of God."

Buha's message was addressed to Orthodox Christians on the eve of Orthodox Christmas. The criticism follows a condemnation of Milosevic by the Serbian Orthodox Church last week.

Bosnian Serb leader Biljana Plavsic today also reiterated her support for the opposition protests. In an interview carried by Belgrade independent media, Plavsic said pro-democracy protests are "a movement of people who rose because democracy had been jeopardized."

Tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets almost daily for the past seven weeks in protest against the Serbian authorities' annulment of opposition wins in November 17 local elections.

Meanwhile, Yugoslav army chief General Momcilo Perisic reportedly told a delegation of students in Belgrade today that the army will not intervene against the protests in which students have taken a prominent role.

Student spokesman Cedomir Jovanovic said Perisic bolstered the opposition's campaign by calling for the rule of law to be observed in Serbia. Dusan Vasiljevic, another student leader, said the general promised there will be "no repeat of 1991," when Milosevic ordered tanks into Belgrade to crush an outbreak of demonstrations for democratic change.