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News archive January-March 2000

German support for Serbian opposition

BERLIN, Thursday - The German government has demanded a thorough re-examination of sanctions against Serbia, calling for more severe measures directly aimed at Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and his associates. German Foreign Minister Joscha Fischer, submitting the report on the Pact for Stability in the Bundestag today, gave credit to the Serbian opposition for its efforts in uniting and seeking replacement of the regime. Fischer also said that Germany supported the opposition in its demands for parliamentary elections by the end of April.

The political director of the British Foreign Office, Charles Crawford, told Radio B2 92 this afternoon that it was important to understand that Europe had taken a unanimous decision not to lift sanctions. Crawford denied that Britain and Holland had blocked an initiative to reduce the sanctions. Asked whether the US had pressured Britain and Holland over the issue Crawford denied knowledge of such a move, adding however that the Americans were very good at applying pressure to anyone when it suited them.

Meanwhile, the director of Washington's Balkans Action Council, James Hooper, said today that he believed Milosevic would do anything in order to divide the opposition and the West, believing that the US and the EU would finally turn back to him. Hooper described the EU as being so exhausted that it was again considering backing Milosevic, adding that it was obvious that Serbian Renewal Movement leader Vuk Draskovic was being used to undermine opposition efforts. The worst thing, said Hooper, was that Democratic Party President Zoran Djindjic had fallen into a well-laid trap.

Replying to Hooper's statement, Djindjic told the BBC World Service that Hooper had demonstrated his basic lack of understanding of the internal political situation in Serbia.

Source: B92

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