BELGRADE SITREP

April 10, 1999

BELGRADE SITREP  BY GUY DINMORE (BELGRADE)

Voice of America

INTRO: YUGOSLAV PRESIDENT SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC HAS URGED HIS COUNTRYMEN TO WORK HARDER AS THE BEST WAY TO DEFEAT NATO. AS SERBS PREPARE TO CELEBRATE ORTHODOX EASTER, THE YUGOSLAV ARMY HAS CALLED ON THE NATION’S CHURCHES TO HELP IN THE FIGHT AGAINST THE WESTERN ALLIANCE. GUY DINMORE REPORTS FROM BELGRADE.

TEXT: PRESIDENT MILOSEVIC APPLAUDED WHAT HE CALLED THE HEROIC STAND OF THE COUNTRY AND TOLD HIS GOVERNMENT SATURDAY TO DRAW UP AN AID PROGRAM FOR WORKERS MADE JOBLESS BY NATO AIR STRIKES. PRESIDENT MILOSEVIC SAID THE BEST WAY TO RESIST NATO’S AGGRESSION WAS FOR EVERYONE TO WORK HARDER AND BETTER.

THE NATION, MR. MILOSEVIC SAID, COULD NOT BE SATISFIED WITH WHAT HE CALLED AVERAGE PEACETIME RESULTS OF WORK. EIGHTEEN DAYS OF NATO AIR STRIKES HAVE INFLICTED CONSIDERABLE DAMAGE ON YUGOSLAVIA’S INFRASTRUCTURE, DESTROYING BRIDGES, ROADS, RAILWAYS AND FACTORIES.

COMMENTATORS IN BELGRADE SAID PRESIDENT MILOSEVIC’S STATEMENT COULD REFLECT A GRADUAL CHANGE IN THE PUBLIC MOOD, WHICH BEGAN TWO WEEKS AGO WITH AN OUTPOURING OF DEFIANCE AND OUTRAGE BUT HAS SLOWLY GROWN MORE SOMBER AS NATO’S AIR STRIKES HAVE INTENSIFIED.

PRESIDENT MILOSEVIC SAID THE GOVERNMENT WOULD HELP CAR WORKERS IN KRAGUJEVAC WHOSE FACTORY WAS MOSTLY DESTROYED EARLY FRIDAY, AS WELL AS EMPLOYEES OF THE SLOBODA HOUSEHOLD APPLIANCES FACTORY THAT WAS DEVASTATED IN CACAK. BUT ECONOMISTS NOTE THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAS LIMITED RESOURCES AND IS AFRAID OF TRIGGERING HYPERINFLATION IF IT REPEATS THE EXPERIENCE OF THE MID-1990S BY PRINTING MONEY.

IN AN INDICATION OF HOW DESPERATE THE ECONOMIC SITUATION IS BECOMING, ONE SOUTHERN TOWN, PIROT, IS PREPARING TO ISSUE RATION COUPONS FOR FLOUR, SUGAR AND OIL. MEANWHILE, GENERAL DRAGOLJUB OJDANIC, CHIEF OF STAFF OF THE YUGOSLAV ARMY, URGED THE ORTHODOX CHURCH TO CONTRIBUTE TO THE NATION’S UNITY IN THE FACE OF THE NATO ATTACK. IN A STATEMENT MARKING ORTHODOX EASTER, WHICH FALLS SUNDAY, THE GENERAL SAID THE ARMY EXPECTED THE CHURCH TO PLAY A STRONG ROLE.

IN BELGRADE’S MAIN SQUARE ICONS, CANDLES AND PRAYERS REPLACED THE DAILY DIET OF ANTI-NATO ROCK CONCERTS. BUT ON SATURDAY NIGHT AIR RAID SIRENS SOUNDED ONCE MORE, SENDING RESIDENTS DOWN INTO BASEMENTS AND SHELTERS. (SIGNED)
NEB/GD/GE
10-Apr-99 3:43 PM EDT (1943 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America

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