YU asks EU to lift sanctions

BELGRADE, May 22, 2000 -- (Reuters) Yugoslavia has asked the European Union to lift sanctions against it, saying they are worsening the country's economic and humanitarian situation and destabilizing the region, Belgrade media said on Sunday.

"Yugoslavia demands that the EU immediately abolish all sanctions imposed on it so far," pro-government daily Politika quoted a Memorandum of the Yugoslav Foreign Ministry as saying.

"The sanctions are unfounded, are worsening the economic and humanitarian situation in Yugoslavia, contributing to the instability of the region which cannot be in the interest of the EU or Europe as a whole," the memorandum said.

It was handed over to EU representatives in Belgrade who were summoned to the Foreign Ministry.

"EU sanctions against Yugoslavia and the policy of constant pressures on economic, political, media and other levels is part of continued efforts to destabilize Yugoslavia," the memorandum said.

The European Union last April tightened financial sanctions against Yugoslavia to increase pressure on President Slobodan Milosevic, who is viewed as the main obstacle to democracy.

The EU has pledged to keep selective sanctions hitting the Milosevic's regime as long as he stays in power but has promised to maintain support to the democratic opposition.

Independent economists and opposition leaders have also criticized the sanctions saying they hit ordinary people much harder than the government.

The memorandum said the exemption of Montenegro, Serbia's junior partner in the Yugoslav federation, from EU sanctions was a "direct attack on Yugoslavia's constitutional order and the unity of the people and leadership of the country."

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