Milosevic took part in party meeting from cell: report


Former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic took part by telephone in a meeting of his political party from his prison cell in The Hague, the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) said today in a statement.

The party's central committee denied press reports that Mr Milosevic, who remains party president despite his incarceration on war crimes charges, had communicated by slipping a cassette to his wife Mira Markovic, when she visited him at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.

Ms Markovic visited her husband at Scheveningen prison three days in a row last week after receiving a special visa from the Netherlands.

Mr Milosevic, who was ousted from power in elections last October and a popular uprising, has designated former foreign affairs minister Zivadin Jovanovic to replace him.

The party's central committee said he had telephoned the party board to criticise one of his closest collaborators who has now become more popular than him, according to an opinion poll.

"The president of the Socialist Party of Serbia, Slobodan Milosevic, criticised Branislav Ivkovic directly by telephone from The Hague, therefore it was a direct statement and not one recorded on a cassettee," the statement said.

Milosevic was dramatically handed over to The Hague court on June 28 to be tried for war crimes during the 1998-99 conflict in the Serbian province of Kosovo.

According to the day poll, Mr Ivkovic got 2.1 out of five, while Mr Milosevic got 1.9 out of five in popularity ratings measured by the polling agency Strategic Marketing.