Milosevic offers no hope to protesters
Wednesday 01 January 1997
Hours after his speech, thousands in Belgrade launched a New Year celebration that added another protest to the weeks of street demonstrations demanding that he fully embrace democracy.
"The coming year will be a year of reforms - major ownership and structural changes which should make possible an affirmation of all motivating elements in a market economy," he said in a statement broadcast on state television.
President Milosevic only obliquely referred to the political crisis that began after his ruling socialists reversed local election results which awarded control of 15 of the biggest towns in Serbia, including Belgrade, to the opposition.
"I think we can justly say that we have used this year well, even very well, having in mind the ... internal obstructions we have experienced, especially in the past few months," he said.
The fraud has sparked 44 days of mass demonstrations in Belgrade and dozens of other towns by students and opposition supporters demanding respect for democracy.
A report by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) recommends that Mr Milosevic fully accept the opposition victories. The President's deliberate snub poured cold water over expectations that the issue could be resolved in the near future.
European Union diplomats who had met the Yugoslav deputy Foreign Minister earlier in the day said that the Serbian government may be ready to act on the OSCE recommendations, but were cautious over its commitment.
"While [the deputy Foreign Minister] could not confirm the government would accept all the recommendations, he declared that it was their intention to ensure that the will of the people ... be fully respected," an EU press statement said.
A Western diplomatic source said cautiously: "We're not sure if this represents a major breakthrough, but it moves things in the right direction."
The delegation was representing the EU in a move aimed at stepping up international pressure on President Milosevic, spearheaded by the United States, to accept the findings of the OSCE report.
The opposition Zajedno (Together) coalition planned a huge street party with alarm clocks and a cacophony of bells it said would be tolling for Milosevic on the stroke of midnight telling the communist-turned-socialist that his time was running out.
- 1 Finland schools: Subjects scrapped and replaced with 'topics' as country reforms its education system
- 2 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 3 #FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
- 4 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
- 5 Zayn Malik quits One Direction: Hundreds of workers request compassionate leave following band member's exit
Germanwings captain Patrick Sondenheimer tried to break into locked cockpit door 'with an axe' as plane was descending
Amanda Knox murder conviction: Italian court overturns verdict for US student and Raffaele Sollecito in the killing of Meredith Kercher
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
The battle for the Middle East's future begins in Yemen as Saudi Arabia jumps into the abyss
#FreeTheNipple: Women in Iceland bare breasts in solidarity with trolled student
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Germanwings plane crash live: Co-pilot Andreas Lubitz wanted to 'do something people would remember him for'
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Does earning a 6 figu...
£18000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A challenging opportunity for a...