CEOL
Serb president doing well after surgery

BELGRADE, Apr 21, 2000 -- (Reuters) Serbian President Milan Milutinovic is recovering well after his heart operation 10 days ago, a government official said on Thursday.

In the first official word on the president's health since state news agency Tanjug announced he had undergone "planned" heart surgery on April 10, Yugoslav Deputy Prime Minister Nikola Sainovic said he had spoken to Milutinovic by telephone.

"The health of President Milutinovic is very good. He had surgery that was successful in nature," Sainovic told a news conference, in answer to a question.

"He is fulfilling those functions that he is able to," he added.

Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic holds the reins of power in Serbia, but if Milutinovic were forced to step down due to ill health, elections would follow that could rock the boat.

The government has so far rejected demands by opposition politicians for elections on all levels following NATO's devastating bombing campaign against Yugoslavia last year over Milosevic's repression of Albanians in Kosovo.

Milutinovic, Milosevic and three other top officials were indicted by a United Nations tribunal last May for alleged war crimes committed by Serb forces in the province.



Original article