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Yugoslavia: Belgrade Rejects Russian Offer

Belgrade, 30 September 2000 (RFE/RL) - The Yugoslav election commission today rejected opposition appeals against the results of last weekend's presidential elections. The commission ruled that the complaints of fraud in the vote count were "baseless." Meanwhile, President Slobodan Milosevic today rejected an offer for Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov to mediate in the dispute, saying that Yugoslavia does not need outside interference. Both the Democratic Opposition of Serbia and western governments say opposition candidate Vojislav Kostunica defeated Milosevic with more than 50 percent of the first round vote. But the government-controlled election commission says Kostunica failed to win 50 percent. It has scheduled a second round ballot for Oct. 8.

The opposition has threatened a general strike starting on Monday. Workers at Serbia's largest coal mine stayed off their jobs today to back the call.