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Crisis 1999
News Archive 1999

EU divided over future of Serbia sanctions

The European Union was divided on Saturday over whether to ease sanctions against Yugoslavia to strengthen the hand of pro-democracy Serbs seeking to topple President Slobodan Milosevic.

The ministers failed to agree on how best to make discreet overtures to Serb opposition groups while maintaining a policy of "no contact" with the Belgrade administration.

Some EU states want to ease sanctions on ordinary Serbs who face the prospect of a cold winter as power stations were knocked out by NATO during nearly three months of air strikes aiming to force Milosevic's troops to leave Kosovo. But others, notably Britain, want to see more clear signs that Serbs have embraced common European values, and say Milosevic must go before any serious aid goes to Serbia.

Ministers agreed to drop one of the more symbolic sanctions -- discouraging sporting links -- imposed on Serbia last year, but the tougher bans -- on oil supplies and international flights -- remain in place. They will, however, be lifted against Montenegro and Kosovo later this month, once the European Commission has finalised the paperwork.

Source: Free Serbia

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