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Yugoslavia: Dispute Threatens New Government

Belgrade, 1 November 2000 (RFE/RL) - Top officials from Serbia's three main political parties are set to meet today in Belgrade to try to defuse a dispute that is threatening the newly formed transitional government. Two of the parties are threatening to quit the government if the Socialist Party of ousted President Slobodan Milosevic does not fire Rade Markovic, Serbia's secret police chief. The parties are President Vojislav Kostunica's Democratic Opposition of Serbia and the Serbian Renewal movement. Officials from the parties walked out of a meeting of the government last night after the Socialists refused to dismiss Markovic.

The deputy premiers from the two parties said they will not resume their work until Markovic is out of office and the government can function normally.

Leaders from both parties have accused state security services of involvement in politically motivated kidnappings and killings under Milosevic. Markovic has denied the accusations.

Socialist Prime Minister Milomir Minic says Markovic's removal is out of the question because it is not part of the formal power-sharing deal which formed the government.