Israeli satellite used for Yugoslav state programming; U.S. furious Israeli satellite used for Yugoslav state programming; US furious

By JACK KATZENELL

The Nando Times, Nov. 04, 1999

JERUSALEM (November 4, 1999 10:59 a.m. EST - The United States is angry with Israel for allowing the government of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic to use the Israeli Amos-1 satellite for its television broadcasts, a U.S. official said Thursday. The Israeli satellite company says it has halted the broadcasts.

The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Secretary of State Madeleine Albright raised the issue with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak when she met him at the U.S.-Israel-Palestinian summit in Oslo this week.

The United States holds Milosevic responsible for the deaths of thousands of ethnic Albanian Muslims in Kosovo province and the expulsion of many more. Washington has said it will not help to repair the damage caused by the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia so long as Milosevic is still in power.

An official with Spacecom, which operates Amos-1, said the company has stopped the Yugoslav television broadcasts by order of the Israeli government. "All that is on the screen now is the bar signal of Yugoslav television," said Coby Keret, Spacecom's marketing manager.

Keret said the programs were screened in violation of an agreement between Yugoslav television and Spacecom. He said Spacecom had authorized it only to test the satellite link.

The U.S. official confirmed the word "test" was on the screen at the time of the broadcasts.

U.S. embassy spokesman Larry Schwartz confirmed that Washington has been discussing the broadcasts with Israel. "We are concerned about any assistance extended to the Milosevic government in broadcasting its propaganda and I can confirm that we have had discussions with the Israelis about the matter," he said.

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