June 29, 2000Albright renews anti-Milosevic plan
BERLIN (AP)-- Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Thursday renewed a so-far unsuccessful campaign to depose Yugoslavia President Slobodan Milosevic.
"As far as U.S. policy is concerned, we want to see Milosevic out of power, out of Serbia and in The Hague," Albright said, referring to the international court that indicted him on charges of war crimes in the Kosovo conflict.
Speaking at a conference on democracy in the Balkans, Albright said, "If Milosevic cared at all about the rule of law, he would turn himself over to The Hague and stand trial."
She credited Serbs in opposition to his rule, some of whom attended the conference, as supporters of democracy and said Serbia's desperate economic plight is the result not of U.S., U.N. and European sanctions, but "the mismanagement and thievery of a regime that has enriched Milosevic's cronies, while leaving everyone else with scraps."
Albright urged the private groups at the conference to assist "courageous political and municipal leaders, journalists, students and other activists trying to assemble the nuts and bolts of freedom" in Serbia, the larger of the two republics remaining in truncated Yugoslavia.
She called Milosevic's government the biggest impediment to democratic progress in the region. Milosevic "is now waging war against the democratic aspirations of his own people -- a people that deserve far, far better," she said.
In the speech and over breakfast with Serbian opponents of Milosevic, Albright condemned an anti-terrorism law approved by the Serbian parliament.
"Its transparent purpose is to provide a respectable cover for repressive policies," she said.
In the former Yugoslav republic of Bosnia and the Serbian province of Kosovo, the Clinton administration helped upset Belgrade's rule.
Reviewing progress toward democracy, Albright said Bosnia's leaders have been slow to adopt economic policies needed to attract investment to create jobs and sustain growth,
And in Kosovo, she said, rivalry among factions is testing the democratic tradition of coexistence. Ethnic Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo will not learn to live together overnight, she said.
While the level of violence has decreased dramatically in the province since the start of the year, tensions among ethnic groups remain high, Albright said.