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Milosevic Blasts Foes as Lackeys

October 2, 2000

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) _ In his first address to the nation since the election, President Slobodan Milosevic on Monday blasted his political opponents as Western lackeys who would lead the country into wars and poverty.

In the 15-minute TV address, Milosevic said that if the opposition came to power, ``Yugoslavia would inevitably break up.″

``Our policy guarantees peace, while theirs clashes and hostility,″ Milosevic said, adding that all those opposition plans are initiated by NATO and Western countries.

``I though it was my task to warn the people of the consequences,″ Milosevic said. He said he was warning the people because of his ``conscience.″

Milosevic maintains that opposition leader Vojislav Kostunica failed to achieve an outright victory in Sept. 24 elections and a second round is needed. The opposition, backed by the West, insists Milosevic rigged the voting.

Speaking on the day the opposition launched nationwide strikes to force him to step down, the Yugoslav leader said his opponents ``doubt they can have the result they want″ and are resorting to ``bribing, blackmailing with the money″ from the West to organize ``strikes and bring the country to a standstill.″

Milosevic warned that as ``a sovereign country,″ Yugoslavia ``has its laws,″ which will be applied to protect it from a Western ``invasion.″

Milosevic did not announce any new measures or crackdown.

The president said simply that he was warning people before it’s too late.

``My conscience would not be clear if I didn’t tell the people what I think,″ he concluded.

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