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Yugoslavia: Germany Pledges Support For Yugoslav Opposition

Bonn, 19 July 1999 (RFE/RL) - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder today pledged support for opponents of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. Speaking in Bonn after a meeting with Zoran Djindjic, head of Yugoslavia's Democratic Party and a leader of the Alliance for Change opposition movement, Schroeder said Western aid for Yugoslavia depends on Milosevic's removal from power. Djindjic said that current anti-Milosevic demonstrations throughout Serbia signal "the beginning" of a mass movement to oust the Yugoslav president. Djindjic is to be questioned by Belgrade military investigators on Thursday over allegations of avoiding military service during 11 weeks of NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia. The strikes were designed to force a Serbian withdrawal from the majority ethnic-Albanian province of Kosovo.

Meanwhile, a German government spokeswoman said Schroeder will visit the now-UN administered province on Friday. The one-day trip is to include a meeting in the southwestern city of Prizren with German soldiers serving in the international force for Kosovo.

While in Prizren, Schroeder plans to meet with Hashim Thaci, political head of the Kosovo Liberation Army, rival moderate leader Ibrahim Rugova, and Rexhep Qosja of the United Democratic Movement. While in Kosovo, Schroeder is also to hold talks with the province's UN administrator, Bernard Kouchner, and with Serbian religious and political leaders.