Global Policy Forum

EU Tightens Sanctions on Serbia over Kosovo

CNN, Associated Press and Reuters
June 8, 1998

Luxembourg - The 15-member European Union on Monday imposed further sanctions on Serbia because of what it called the "new level of aggression on the part of the Serb security forces" in the Serbian province of Kosovo, where about 250 people have been killed and tens of thousands displaced by the region's separatist conflict. Expressing its fears of a "new wave of ethnic cleansing" in Kosovo, the EU banned new investments in Serbia and froze the country's assets abroad. The move came in addition to previously announced measures, which included a ban on arms exports and restricted travel visas for Yugoslav officials. At Washington's urging last month, the EU held off on the investment ban and asset freeze to give Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic a chance to reach a peaceful solution in Kosovo.

Kosovo has an ethnic Albanian majority of about 90 percent, and many of them favor secession. But Milosevic has firmly rejected that demand, saying the region will remain part of Yugoslavia, which now consists of Serbia and Montenegro. "President Milosevic bears a special responsibility as head of the Yugoslav government for promoting a peaceful settlement to the problems of Kosovo," an EU statement said. Citing reports of "widespread house-burning and indiscriminate artillery attacks on whole villages," the European body accused Milosevic of engaging in a "campaign of violence going far beyond ... a targeted anti-terrorist operation."

While the EU pledged to play its part in stopping the flow of money and weapons to the Kosovo Liberation Army - the main guerrilla group in the province - the organization also called on NATO to study military solutions to stop the violence. On Thursday, NATO defense ministers will meet to consider a military response - a prospect that so far has met with little enthusiasm.

US President Bill Clinton's National Security Adviser Sandy Berger said Monday that the issue of military intervention was not under discussion at this stage. However, Clinton and his national security team were to discuss possible US economic sanctions later in the day.

Red Cross still blocked

The Red Cross organization set up by ethnic Albanians in Kosovo appealed Monday to the Swiss-based International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to arrange humanitarian aid to the zone of conflict. It contended the Serbs were proceeding with "ethnic cleansing" and called for "humanitarian" corridors to be set up so relief could be transported to those in need.

The group appealed to ICRC President Cornelio Sommaruga to reinforce the Red Cross mission in Pristina. In Geneva, the ICRC said there was little it could do because all relief organizations were being denied access to the area where the fighting is taking place and the roads were blocked. A spokeswoman said the ICRC had a week ago renewed its appeal to Belgrade to keep its promise and let relief organizations into the area. The ICRC has a Pristina office with nine staff.

More Information on Kosovo Sanctions


FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Global Policy Forum distributes this material without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. We believe this constitutes a fair use of any such copyrighted material as provided for in 17 U.S.C § 107. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.