Putin Renews Yugoslavia Mediation Offer
Russian President Vladimir Putin renewed his offer Thursday to mediate in Yugoslavia's election crisis, but said Moscow was waiting the outcome of an appeal against a court ruling annulling "part" of the first-round poll.
"I want to stress once again that my proposal is still on the table, but as you know the Yugoslav opposition has appealed to the constitutional court," Putin told reporters at a nuclear research center near the Indian city of Bombay.
"We are expecting a final decision of the constitutional court within the next few hours. Let us see what it is," Putin said.
"Depending upon that, the Russian leadership may correct its position."
Moderate Serbian nationalist Vojislav Kostunica claims he won an outright victory over the incumbent Slobodan Milosevic in the first round of Yugoslavia's presidential elections held on September 24.
But government election officials claim Kostunica fell short of the 50 percent of the vote needed for outright victory and have called for a run-off ballot Sunday.
The Yugoslav court's unexpected decision to annul part of the first-round poll was announced in a confusing statement reported Wednesday by the state news agency Tanjug. Full details were due to be published Thursday.
Kostunica, who denounced the court ruling as a "trap" by the Milosevic regime, has vowed to boycott the run-off amid nationwide protests by opposition supporters.
Putin offered on Monday to meet the two second-round candidates at the Kremlin in a bid to resolve the Yugoslav crisis -- BOMBAY (AFP)
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