'West behind terrorism'

BELGRADE, Jun 30, 2000 -- (Reuters) Serbia's interior minister was quoted on Thursday as saying "terrorism" in the country was financed by the West and carried out via student groups and some non-governmental organizations.

"The intention is to implement terrorism in our country through the so-called terrorist-fascist (student) organization Otpor and some non-government organizations which are in fact intelligence agencies of the West," Vlajko Stojiljkovic was quoted as saying.

Stojiljkovic said terrorism was directly financed and organized in the West, but would not succeed in Yugoslavia.

"The state is capable and determined to root out crime and terrorism in the country," he said.

The authorities have blamed Otpor and the opposition Serbian Renewal Movement for the murder of a high official of the ruling Socialist party in May. Both groups have denied any involvement.

Stojiljkovic was speaking a day before a controversial anti-terrorism bill, described by lawyers as dealing a blow to human rights, is to be discussed in the federal parliament.

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