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Yugoslavia: Opposition Alliance Calls For Milosevic's Ouster

Belgrade, 16 July 1999 (RFE/RL) - Two Serbian opposition alliances joined forces today to fight for the ouster of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. The Alliance for Change and the Alliance of Democratic Parties issued a joint declaration of principles calling for genuine democratic reforms in Yugoslavia and an end to Milosevic's autocratic rule. The alliance was announced only hours after the Serbian parliament formally repealed a number of decrees introduced during the NATO bombing, including a ban on public gatherings. The parliamentary session came as an anti-government campaign continued to gather momentum across the country.

About 10,000 protesters took part in an opposition rally organized yesterday by the Alliance for Change in the central Serbian town of Kragujevac. High-ranking opposition leaders addressed the crowd in the town, which was bombed several times by NATO during the Kosovo conflict.

Meanwhile, Kosovar Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova is due to return to Kosovo within the next few days after unexpectedly leaving the province last night.

An official for Rugova's party -- the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) -- said Rugova left Kosovo last night but will return next week to "restart work as president of Kosovo." Western news agencies quote an unnamed Rugova aide as saying he left to organize a Kosovo leadership group outside the province. Rugova's current whereabouts are unknown. He returned to Kosovo yesterday after almost two months in exile in Italy and immediately issued a call of reconciliation.

But Rugova ruled out any cooperation with his main rival, Hashim Thaci, the political leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK). Thaci has proclaimed himself head of a UCK-led provisional government. Thaci yesterday said he felt "very good" about Rugova's return and added that there is room in the province for the LDK leader.