Greece and Italy call for end ff Serbian sanctions

ATHENS, Jan 12, 2000 -- (Reuters) Greece and Italy on Tuesday called for early democratic elections in Serbia and an eventual lifting of the embargo that has been imposed on their Balkan neighbor.

Prime Minister Costas Simitis and his Italian counterpart Massimo D'Alema, who is on a two-day official visit to Greece, urged the European Union and the United States to support efforts for Serbian democracy.

The two leaders also backed Serb opposition calls for early elections with international guarantees for their transparency and an eventual lifting of the embargo.

"Greece has always supported the view that the embargo cannot solve the problems. If there is not economic development in the region, there will not be calm in the Balkans," Simitis told reporters after a one-hour meeting with D'Alema.

"The point is not to help one side or the other. We must pursue democracy," Simitis added.

D'Alema also called for the lifting of sanctions against ordinary Serbs, especially in the fields of air transportation and the supply of natural gas.

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