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Yugoslavia: Premier To Resign Over Milosevic Extradition

Belgrade, 29 June 2001 (RFE/RL) -- The Serbian government's decision to send former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to the Hague is causing a political crisis in Yugoslavia. Yugoslav Prime Minister Zoran Zizic said he will offer his resignation at a cabinet meeting today in Belgrade. Zizic told the state Tanjug news agency that he will announce the "further functioning" of the government after he meets with President Vojislav Kostunica.

Kostunica's Democratic Party of Serbia said it will demand a reshuffle of the governments of Serbia and Yugoslavia and it will loosen ties with the Democratic Opposition of Serbia coalition, which united to oust Milosevic last October.

The leader of the Montenegrin faction in the Yugoslav parliament, Predrag Bulatovic, said the Milosevic transfer -- which ignored opposition from Kostunica and the Yugoslav Constitutional Court -- will cause "the fall of the government."

Milosevic supporters in Montenegro met in the republic's capital Podgorica today and issued a statement calling Milosevic's transfer to the war crimes tribunal "illegal and unconstitutional." They said it "jeopardizes the functioning of Yugoslavia and its existence."

Milosevic will make his first appearance before the International War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague on 3 July. Tribunal spokesman Jim Landale said today that the current charges will be read to Milosevic and he will be asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty.

The Hague tribunal has indicted Milosevic for alleged war crimes against non-Serbs in Kosovo. But The Hague court's deputy prosecutor, Graham Blewitt, said today during a visit to Zagreb that the tribunal plans by the end of summer to expand the indictment to atrocities committed in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.