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Yugoslavia: Milosevic Addresses The Country

Belgrade, 2 October (RFE/RL) -- Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic made a televised public address today, saying he wants to appeal to the nation "ahead of the run-off" election for the presidency on Sunday. In the speech broadcast on state television RTS, Milosevic called the opposition "NATO puppets" and warned Serbs not to let them take power. "On the eve of the second run-off, due to the suspicion of the opposition that they could not reach the necessary result, the opposition leadership, with money sent from abroad, is trying to buy, blackmail and frighten citizens, and organizing strikes, turmoil and violence, in order to stop production, labor, and all activity."

Also today, Yugoslavia's opposition movement launched a series of strikes and protests to press Milosevic to resign after last week's presidential election.

The opposition has called for a general strike to force Milosevic to concede victory to challenger Vojislav Kostunica. Federal election authorities say Kostunica did not win an absolute majority and have ordered a run-off. Russian President Vladimir Putin today offered to try to mediate a solution between Milosevic and Kostunica.