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Juxtapose this recent development in U.S. sanction-related policy toward Serbia, and the U.S.' steadfast refusal to budge from its long static Iraq policy and sanctions regime. -Nathaniel Hurd New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/international/international-yugosla.html November 3, 1999 U.S. Changes Strategy On Serbia And Sanctions Filed at 3:00 p.m. EDT WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States changed the thrust of its strategy for Serbia Wednesday, dropping the link between an end to sanctions and the departure from power of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, speaking after a meeting with eight Serbian opposition leaders, said free and fair elections in Serbia would be enough to end most of the sanctions, including a ban on flights and an oil embargo. The strategy could run into trouble if Milosevic won the elections but Albright and her aides said this was so hypothetical that it should not impede policy. ``I find it really really really hard to believe that Milosevic might win a free and fair election,'' Albright said. Pressed on the possibility of a Milosevic victory, she said: ''If my grandmother had wheels she would be a bicycle.'' ``We consider the prospect of free and fair elections being won by Milosevic to be so remote as not to be a basis for policy making,'' added a senior State Department official. The shift gives the Serbian opposition a potentially popular rallying cry, without alienating those Serbs who resent the appearance of foreign interference in Serbian politics. ``Free and fair elections is something all the people of Serbia can galvanize around, and that makes a big difference to the Serbian opposition,'' added the senior official. The opposition leaders welcomed the U.S. shift in policy. ``We are very satisfied. We got very clear support that was more than expected,'' Zoran Djindjic, president of the Democratic party, told reporters after meeting with Albright. ''It was more than expected because we got a clear message about lifting sanctions after elections.'' He and the other opposition leaders said they would continue their protests and work to oust Milosevic. The United States had hoped that the Serbian troop withdrawal from Kosovo in June, after months of bombing by NATO planes and missiles, would bring Milosevic down. The Serbian opposition tried to build on the Kosovo debacle. It organized protests, mass marches and demonstrations but Milosevic survives, albeit as an indicted war criminal wanted for trial in The Hague. The two main opposition wings -- the Alliance and the Serbian Renewal Movement -- united at least temporarily in October in demanding fair and early elections at all levels, hoping to oust Milosevic at the ballot box. But the ruling coalition dismissed the demands, saying there was no need to hold early parliamentary polls, not due until 2001 in Serbia, Yugoslavia's dominant republic. In conjunction with the shift in strategy, Albright announced a more favorable attitude toward a European Union (EU) project to supply fuel oil for winter heating to Serbian cities run by the opposition, such as Nis and Pirot. Albright said the United States would watch the project closely to see if the oil reached the right people. ``We want to make sure that our support for this project comes at the specific request of Serbia's democratic leaders. It is they, not the regime in Belgrade, who will deserve credit for each and every energy delivery,'' she said. The United States had previously said it was worried that any energy supplies would strengthen the Belgrade authorities, who would have more fuel to distribute elsewhere. After free and fair elections, monitored and endorsed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) the U.S. administration would consider reconstruction aid, in consultation with Congress and European allies, Albright said. ``We believe it is vital that the people of Serbia understand that if they have the courage to bring down the walls of repression that separate them from a democratic future, they will not face that future alone,'' she added. Milosevic has taken advantage of divisions within the Serbian opposition but Albright said she was pleased at the level of cooperation she found. The Serbian opposition leaders visiting Washington are from the Alliance for Change, including the alliance's candidate for the post of prime minister, Dragoslav Avramovic. It includes Djindjic and the opposition mayors of the cities of Nis and Cacak, Zoran Zivkovic and Velimir Ilic. But one of the most prominent Serbian opposition politicians, Vuk Draskovic of the Serbian Renewal Movement, is not in the Washington delegation. The State Department official said the sponsors had not invited Draskovic. Nathaniel D. Hurd The Center for Global Analysis (CGA) 2161 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02140 CGA Telephone#: 617-492-4570 Personal Address: c/o Aun Rahman 7 Scottfield Rd., Apt. 3 Allston, MA 02134 Telephone#: 617-738-9037 E-mail: email@example.com ----------------------------------------------- FREE! The World's Best Email Address @email.com Reserve your name now at http://www.email.com -- ------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To be removed/added, email firstname.lastname@example.org, NOT the whole list. 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