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Milosevic Talks - 2001-08-24


Former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has given his first media interview since his arrest in June. The accused war criminal has told an American television network he is not responsible for thousands of deaths in Kosovo.

Mr. Milosevic has broken his silence in a telephone interview with the U.S.-based Fox News Channel.

He spoke to the network from his prison at The Hague in the Netherlands, where he has been jailed since June.

He is charged with crimes against humanity for his role in the killing of thousands of ethnic Albanians in 1999 in the Yugoslav province of Kosovo.

In his interview, Mr. Milosevic staunchly defended his rule and denied any responsibility for the deaths in Kosovo.

He said he was sorry about the bloodshed, but he called it a "consequence of the criminal aggression that was committed by NATO."

The United States and its NATO allies conducted a four-month air war on Yugoslavia in 1999 to stop a Serb-led campaign against the ethnic-Albanian community in Kosovo.

Mr. Milosevic told his American television interviewer that the Western media has "Satanized" him by calling him "the Butcher of Belgrade."

The interview ended abruptly, when Mr. Milosevic said his prison guards had ordered him to hang up. Segments of the interview have been broadcast in Britain by Sky News, a sister network to the Fox News Channel.