Call for Milosevic resignation

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BELGRADE - The battle lines inside Serbia sharpened dramatically yesterday, following a call by the President of Yugoslavia for Serbia's hardline nationalist leader, Slobodan Milosevic, to resign, writes Marcus Tanner.

President Dobrica Cosic's decision to turn against Mr Milosevic adds weight to the campaign to oust Serbia's President, headed by the Yugoslav Prime Minister, Milan Panic. Mr Cosic, 72, is an eminent writer whose nationalist credentials are unquestioned, and his words carry great weight with Serbs.

In an interview with the main Serbian newspaper, Politika, Mr Cosic said: 'Slobodan Milosevic and I differ essentially in our understanding of democracy . . . and in the way to get our country out of the degradation in which it finds itself.' The statement will shock many Serbs, who considered Mr Cosic a close nationalist ally of Mr Milosevic, and even his ideological mentor.