Milosevic Transfer Sets Off Political Mayhem

Yugoslavia was plunged into a fresh political crisis today when the prime minister resigned over the surrender of former president Slobodan Milosevic to the U.N. war crimes tribunal.

Prime Minister Zoran Zizic called the handover Thursday "hasty" and an affront to the country's dignity.

Milosevic is the first former head of state to be handed over to the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague.

About 6,000 Milosevic supporters condemned the handover which was initiated by Serbia's pro-democracy Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic. They shouted, "Treason!" and "Uprising!"

Djindjic, a radical reformer, rushed through Milosevic's transfer to The Hague on Thursday, despite opposition from Yugoslavia's moderate nationalist President Vojislav Kostunica.

He was handed over despite a Constitutional Court ruling that banned his extradition.

Milosevic was indicted on charges he orchestrated atrocities committed in Kosovo during the crackdown he ordered on the province's ethnic-Albanian population. The crackdown ended after NATO's 78-day bombing campaign.

He is expected to make his first court appearance on Tuesday.

Serbian President Milan Milutinovic, who was indicted along with Milosevic, is also reportedly considering giving himself up.

The United Nations' chief war crimes prosecutor, Carla Del Ponte, called for the arrests of two more key war crimes suspects.

"Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic were first indicted six years ago. The fact they have not been arrested while we are preparing for the trial of other members of the Serb Bosnian leadership is scandalous," she said.

Development Amid Chaos

While Milosevic's transfer shook the Yugoslav political world, some stabilization came in the form of $1.28 billion in developmental aid.

The money is intended for repairing infrastructure — some of it still damaged after NATO's 1999 airstrikes — and to pay teachers and doctors.

Much of the money was pledged by international donors at a conference in Brussels today, one day after Milosevic's move to The Hague.

Donors admitted the transfer had also been a key factor, but Washington, a key donor, said it had agreed to take part before the changes in Milosevic's status.

On Thursday, Djindjic rationalized Milosevic's transfer to The Hague by saying Yugoslavia had no choice but to do so, or face renewed international isolation and the loss of much-needed foreign aid.

Today, Yugoslavia's Deputy Prime Minister Miroljub Labus reassured international donors the resignation of the Yugoslav prime minister would not affect the country's economic reforms.

"There will be some restructuring of both the federal and republican governments, but all those restructurings will not affect the course of reforms and will not affect the implementation or conclusions of this donors' conference," said Miroljub Labus.

He also said Milosevic's transfer to The Hague just a day before the start of the donors meeting was a coincidence.

The money pledged exceeds a target of $1.25 billion which authorities said Yugoslavia would need in 2001 for rebuilding an economy shattered by four wars, international sanctions and mismanagement.

Reforming Government

Today's resignation foreshadows the collapse of Yugoslavia's Cabinet, made up of Serbia's pro-democracy officials and ministers from Montenegro.

Some called Milosevic's transfer to The Hague "illegal and unconstitutional" and said it "jeopardizes the functioning of Yugoslavia and its existence."

Kostunica is now faced with the task of proposing a new prime minister, but if that is rejected in the parliament, he will have to call new federal elections.

Recognizing the predominant air of tension, Kostunica met with the military today. After his meeting, he issued a terse statement asserting the crisis "must be resolved by political means."

ABCNEWS' Jim Wooten at The Hague contributed to this report.

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