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Serbia: Opposition Will End Protests If Election Victories Recognized

Paris/Belgrade, 6 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - Serbian opposition leader Vuk Draskovic said today that the opposition will agree to end daily anti-government demonstrations if the Serbian parliament passes a measure restoring opposition wins in November municipal elections. The measure was sent to parliament yesterday, one day after Milosevic unexpectedly agreed to recognize opposition wins in 14 cities and towns, including the capital Belgrade.

Efforts by authorities to overturn the results have sparked nearly three months of daily anti-government protests.

Draskovic made the comment in Paris after he and the other two top leaders of the Zajedno (Together) opposition coalition, Zoran Djindjic and Vesna Pesic, met with French Foreign Minister Herve de Charette. Draskovic, who said he was also speaking for Djindjic and Pesic, said the opposition will "open a door to dialogue" if parliament passes the measure next Tuesday as proposed by Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic.

Foreign governments, including France, the United States and Russia, have pressed Milosevic to recognize the opposition wins. The step was also called for by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe after it sent a delegation to Serbia to investigate the voting.

Other issues in dispute between Zajedno and the government include creation of a free and independent press and of an independent judiciary.