Standoff Follows Milosevic Arrest Attempt

After a tense, 26-hour standoff with police, former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic was arrested and taken away from his tony Belgrade villa via police convoy just before dawn Sunday.

ABCNEWS and wire sources report that Milosevic was extremely upset over the entire ordeal. He brandished a pistol, and threatened to kill himself, along with his wife and daughter.

Branislan Ivkovic told Reuters Milosevic surrendered voluntarily "to include himself in the legal procedure." Government officials had been negotiating for hours with Milosevic, trying to persuade him to surrender and avoid blooshed.

Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica warned that he did not want bloodshed but that no one was above the law if the state was to survive. Several hundred riot police lay seige to the house of Milosevic in the second night of the standoff. Milosevic had vowed that he would defy the authorities to his death.

The raid was bloodless, but there had been gunfire. Before he was taken away, ABCNEWS reports that Milosevic's 32-year-old daughter, Marija, fired four or five shots— reportedly aiming toward a government representative trying to negotiate her father's surrender— moments before he was taken away.

Serbian Interior Minister Dusan Mihajlovic said police were authorized to arrest Milosevic for abuse of office and financial crimes— but not so he could be extradited to the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague. Court Date to Be Determined

There is still no indication yet as to when he will be taken in front of a judge.

War crimes remain a difficult topic for the Yugoslav nation. Milosevic's supporters fought a war and they now have to come to terms with the fact that many of their own people, many of the young men from their own families, were involved in horrendous and brutal crimes.

Serbs are only just waking up to the news that the man who ruled them with an iron fist for 13 years is finally behind bars. Many Serbs wanted to see Milosevic punished for allegedly lined his own pockets at the expense of the Serb citizens, rather than for the war crimes he allegedly committed in Kosovo.

Many speculate that the level of mismanagement, misgovernment, downright corruption and gangster-like practices that Milosovic has been accused of practicing will be exposed during the trial, and that at some point, he may be called to The Hague based on information that may come out of this trial.

U.S. Aid Hangs in Balance

The attempted arrest came just hours ahead of a U.S. deadline for Belgrade to cooperate with the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal, or face suspension of millions of dollars in economic aid.

According to national security officials in Washington, Yugoslav authorities charged Milosevic with corruption, tax evasion and abuse of power.

The charges remain civil, which means Milosevic likely will not face the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague anytime soon.

Some fear that if Milosevic is extradited to face the international charges, President Vojislav Kostunica's reformist government, only in power for roughly half a year, would face severe opposition. Kostunica, who toppled Milosevic in a "peoples' revolution" last year, has opposed sending Milosevic abroad to face charges, arguing it is unconstitutional.

The main question now is if the civil charges will be enough to convince President Bush to continue sending economic aid to Yugoslavia. Congress appropriated $100 million for Yugoslavia, half of which has yet to be released.

Washington imposed a deadline of midnight Saturday for Kostunica's government to begin cooperating with the War Crimes Tribunal.

Before accounts of Milosevic's possible arrest today, Bush told reporters that Milosovic "ought to be brought to justice."

Secretary of State Colin Powell said he had made no decision on whether to certify that the Yugoslav government was doing what was necessary to receive American assistance. A decision could come Monday.

ABCNEWS' Barbara Starr in Washington, ABC Radio's Linda Albin, and Dada Jovanovic in Belgrade contributed to this report.

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