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Daalder: 'A Confrontation Between the Regime and the People' in BelgradeAired October 5, 2000 - 11:51 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BILL HEMMER, CNN ANCHOR: The story dominating our news right now, the unrest in the streets of Belgrade. The Associated Press now reporting out of Belgrade that the demonstrators, those opposed to Slobodan Milosevic, are now firmly in control of the parliament building in Belgrade. Also getting reports through the AP that they are tossing pictures of Slobodan Milosevic into the streets.
Let's go to Washington now and Ivo Daalder, an expert on the Balkans from the Brookings Institute.
Sir, good morning to you.
IVO DAALDER, BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Good morning.
HEMMER: Appreciate your time. Tell us what you make of what we are seeing the videotape out of Belgrade?
DAALDER: Well, basically, what you are seeing is a confrontation between the regime and the people. The people have decided to take matters in their own hand. They don't like the fact that the constitutional court has, in fact, said that when they voted on September 24th, their vote won't count and the result won't stand. And they have now decided that they are going to take the matters in their own hands.
What we see is the confrontation between the regime on the one hand and the people, and one of them is going to crack.
HEMMER: You said earlier, suggested anyway, this was not necessary a protest against Slobodan Milosevic, as oppose it is to people of Serbia trying to say: Listen, we went to the polls, we voted, understand and interpret our democratic way, and the way it was meant to be?
DAALDER: Exactly. I mean, basically, the people voted, they elected Mr. Kostunica to be their next president, and now the question is: When is Mr. Kostunica becoming -- will he be the next president?
HEMMER: What do we know about Kostunica? How is he perceived in Western democracies as a leader? and what do we know of him, as it relates to his background?
DAALDER: Well, we know that he is a moderate nationalist. He is a nationalist in the sense that he supports the Serbian aspirations, and the Serbian people. He stood with Serbia during all of the conflicts in Croatia and Bosnia and Kosovo. That -- because we were on the opposite side, that is something we don't like. But he doesn't necessarily, or has ever really advocated the use of violence and the use of getting to power and maintaining power through violence.
In fact, he is a committed democrat, in the good sense of that word. He was fired in 1974 from his -- from the faculty when was he was a constitutional law professor because he opposed communism and the regime that was then in power. And he refused to come into power when Mr. Milosevic hired back all of the professors in the latest 1980s to the faculty.
He, in fact, transferred the Federalist Papers into the Serbia and in Croatia. What we know about the man is that he wants to be part of the European mainstream. He wants to be part, just as Croatia has done, just as Slovenia has done, just as other countries in the former Eastern Europe have done, they want to become part of Western Europe, and he thinks that the policies Mr. Milosevic has pursued has gotten Serbia off the wrong track, and he wants to get back on the right track.
HEMMER: You have clearly seen the video we have been bringing in from Belgrade. Does it now look a whole lot like 1989 in different pockets of Eastern Europe after the fall of the Soviet Union et cetera?
DAALDER: Absolutely. I think we are seeing an 11-year delay in Yugoslavia.
HEMMER: Ivo, I apologize for the interruption. We are waiting for President Clinton to take questions.
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