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Police Surround Belgrade Home of Slobodan MilosevicAired March 30, 2001 - 3:26 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: CNN has been following a developing story from the Balkans today. We want to bring you up to date now. Police have surrounded the home where the former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic has been living. This is in Belgrade. And earlier in the day, a supporter of Milosevic's in the parliament had said that Milosevic was due to be arrested. This apparently brought out a number of supporters to the home where Milosevic has been staying. It all comes as a deadline set by the United States is about to expire.
To explain this to us, CNN's State Department correspondent Andrea Koppel joins us now.
Andrea, can you explain first what the deadline is, what the U.S. is demanding?
ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN STATE DEPARTMENT CORRESPONDENT: Sure. Well, it's actually Congress, Joie, that set the deadline March 31st tomorrow for the Bush administration to certify that the Yugoslav government had complied with certain requirements. It's very broad what they say. There's lots of wiggle room in there. But essentially, there are two main requirements that the Bush administration looking to be fulfilled. The first is the extradition of various war crimes, war criminals, rather, to the Hague for trial. And the second is that they release hundreds of ethnic Albanians who the U.S. says were unjustly imprisoned by Slobodan Milosevic when he was in power. So those are the two things that the administration are looking for. But as to whether or not and who and when these people are extradited, the certification process doesn't say.
CHEN: So it doesn't specify that Milosevic specifically be arrested or taken out of the country?
KOPPEL: Exactly. Of course, that's what the Bush administration would like, but there is no specific mention of Milosevic's name or anyone else for that matter.
CHEN: Now does it explain what the United States will do if these things are not complied with?
KOPPEL: Well, if it's not complied, they don't get money. It's really all about giving the Yugoslav government the aid that it so desperately needs. They've already got about $40 million to $45 million, and there's an additional $50 million, Joie, that they could get if they comply with those general requirements that the U.S. Congress has put forward. So all it would say is you don't get the money now. The administration, however, could decide in a month, two months, six months from now that they have complied, and then the money could be released. So it's really -- the date is somewhat of an artificial date meant to put pressure on the Kostunica government to comply with sending those war criminals and releasing the ethnic Albanians from prison.
That would be Vojislav Kostunica who succeeded Mr. Milosevic. Now tell us what President Bush has said about all this today.
KOPPEL: Well, I'm not sure President Bush has said something. What I can tell you is that the secretary of state Colin Powell was asked about whether or not the State Department would say that they had complied. And what he said is really it could get either way. They haven't made up their mind. And what I've been told by people in this building, Joie, is that they really haven't made up their mind, that there are -- there are really two camps that say keep the pressure on, let the dead lie and pass. Make sure -- let's see if we can get as much as possible from the Kostunica government.
And then there's another camp that says, "Come on, this is a new government. It's only two months old. They've done quite a bit already. Let's help them out. Let's give them the money now rather than waiting later.
CHEN: CNN's State Department correspondent Andrea Koppel joining us. Again, CNN is continuing to follow this developing story. We have people in the region as well as Andrea Koppel at the U.S. State Department all following this story. We'll continue to bring you details as they come in to us. And you'll get more on this at the top of the hour on the news side. Now let's go back to Bobbie Battista and TALKBACK LIVE.
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