Foreign Agencies on January 12th, 1997

Serb Gov't Allays Protesters
Associated Press Writer
Sunday, January 12, 1997 12:44 am EST

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP)
Still, 5,000 students rallied in the early evening, braving cold and rain to confront riot police who confined them and blocked their march.

The students had demanded to see Premier Mirko Marjanovic, but were told he was ``absent,'' said Dusan Vasiljevic, a students' spokesman. They met instead with the education minister and two deputy premiers to demand removal of police blocking anti-Milosevic protests, now in their eighth week.

(c) Copyright 1997 The Associated Press

Los Angeles Times
Sunday, January 12, 1997
Serb Regime Tries to Appease Opposition
By LAURA SILBER, Special to The Times

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia
Two deputy prime ministers promised student leaders that the "will of the citizens" expressed in recent voting will be respected, but they avoided explicit support for opposition victories. Milosevic's decision to annul municipal elections won by the opposition Nov. 17 sparked a wave of street demonstrations that has shaken the leader's 10-year-old authoritarian rule.

The government promise, which came after a meeting between a student delegation and Deputy Prime Ministers Ratko Markovic and Nedeljko Sipovac, came as independent newspapers reported a shake-up within Milosevic's ruling coalition.

Student leaders characterized the government response as receptive, but diplomats cautioned that Milosevic seemed to be offering time-buying placebos that make him appear conciliatory while avoiding concrete recognition of the election results.

"He's painted himself into a corner," a Western diplomat said. "He probably realizes his position is untenable, but he's still not ready to give in."
Times staff writer Tracy Wilkinson in Vienna contributed to this report.

Copyright Los Angeles Times

Serbs Signal Concessions Are Possible
Government Officials Meet With Protesters
By Michael Dobbs and Jonathan C. Randal
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, January 12 1997; Page A23
The Washington Post

Political observers said it probably would be easier for the government to make concessions to the students than to the opposition Together coalition. While their demands are very similar to those of Together, the students have preserved a more neutral image and have not been the target of such harsh attacks by the government.

Student leaders described their 2 1/2-hour meeting with deputy prime ministers Ratko Markovic and Nedeljko Sipovac as "very easy" and said they came away with the impression that the two ministers agreed to their three main demands. These are the recognition of opposition victories in the elections, the dismissal of the rector of Belgrade University and the punishment of those responsible for election fraud.

The students had demanded to see Prime Minister Mirko Marjanovic, but were told he was "absent," a spokesman for the students told the Associated Press.

(c) Copyright 1997 The Washington Post Company

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