- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 3, 2001

The State Department said yesterday that the arrest of Slobodan Milosevic on corruption charges had satisfied U.S. conditions for continued financial support, but that pressure would remain for him to be sent to The Hague for trial.

Yugoslav police meanwhile prepared new charges against the former Yugoslav president after showing reporters an arsenal found in his abandoned compound, including a rocket-propelled grenade launcher and 27 Kalashnikov AK-47 rifles.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Secretary of State Colin Powell decided over the weekend that Yugoslavia's new government could receive $50 million in U.S. aid after meeting congressionally mandated conditions including improved cooperation with a Balkan war crimes tribunal at The Hague.

But he said U.S. support for an international donors' conference early this summer depended on Yugoslavia's "full cooperation" with the Dutch-based international court. The conference could generate up to $1 billion to help rebuild the country after a 1999 NATO air campaign.

"Full cooperation can involve any number of steps," Mr. Boucher said. "Clearly having Milosevic face international justice for international crimes remains a top priority of the international community."

Sen. Mitch McConnell, one of the most outspoken critics of continued aid to Yugoslavia, said yesterday that the arrest of Mr. Milosevic was "a step in the right direction," but that he was still not convinced that the country had "established a consistent track record of cooperation."

"My goal remains the transfer of Milosevic and other indicted war criminals to The Hague," said the Kentucky Republican.

In Italy, the daily newspaper La Repubblica published an interview in which Carla del Ponte, chief prosecutor for the tribunal, said she would soon issue a second warrant seeking Mr. Milosevic's arrest for war crimes.

"A second arrest warrant is ready. I still have to sign it, and I think that could happen before the end of this month," Mrs. del Ponte was quoted as saying. She did not offer details except to confirm that it applied to crimes committed in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The former Swiss attorney general also said she was "absolutely optimistic" Yugoslavia would hand over Mr. Milosevic to face trial at The Hague tribunal.

Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic told the Boston Globe in an interview that Mr. Milosevic will be charged within two months of ordering the murders of personal and political enemies. He also said that he expected that Mr. Milosevic's wife, Mirjana, a key political figure during his tenure in office, will also be accused of murder.

In Belgrade, police said the weapons found in Mr. Milosevic's compound included a rocket-propelled grenade launcher, 27 Kalashnikov AK-47 rifles, a sniper rifle, a Heckler & Koch machine gun, 40 hand grenades, 23 rifle-launched grenades, several handguns and 1,700 rounds of ammunition.

The Belgrade daily Blic said Mr. Milosevic was in a cell with no windows, four bare walls, a bed, a table and two chairs. If he were convicted of all the domestic charges, he would face a prison term of five to 15 years.

The London Daily Telegraph yesterday quoted a statement to The Hague court by Mr. Milosevic's lawyer as saying large sums of money that are missing from government accounts had been used to secretly finance the arming of Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia during the breakup of the former Yugoslavia.

The document is the first official confirmation that the actions of the Serbian rebels in the Krajina area of Croatia and Bosnia, which precipitated the wars of the 1990s, were stoked by Mr. Milosevic.

Congress appropriated $100 million in aid for Yugoslavia this year, of which $50 million has been disbursed. But the body set a March 31 deadline for the State Department to certify that Yugoslavia was moving toward democratization and cooperating with international authorities before the second $50 million could be released.

The money will go to support ongoing community development, democratization, establishment of rule of law and economic development and reform projects.

• This story is based in part on wire service reports.

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