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The U.S. Will Reconsider Sanctions

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
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 

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 

``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

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