SKY News
UK/NL block lifting of sanctions on Milosevic

EU sanctions against Yugoslavia will not be lifted, after Britain and the Netherlands refused to give the go-ahead.

"Sanctions will continue," a British official said after the UK's EU partners tried to persuade it otherwise. "We believe there will be no peace in the region as long as (Yugoslav president Slobodan) Milosevic remains. Our position has not changed and we had strong support from The Netherlands."

"There was no consensus reached at this meeting," confirmed Foreign Minister Jaime Gama of Portugal.

Sanctions controversial

The use of sanctions has been under debate for some months. President Milosevic's political opponents in Belgrade some of whom the West is pledged to support are calling for an end to the oil embargo and international flight ban. And some in the West are concerned that sanctions are ineffective especially in the light of those against Iraq, which are widely believed to be doing more harm than good.

Italy, France, Germany and Greece were among EU member states arguing in favour of a shift of policy. "Sanctions are not a question of principle. The question is whether they are effective," Germany's Joschka Fischer told reporters. Germany favoured measures that would hit the Milosevic ruling clique, not ordinary Serbs, he said.

Nevertheless, the delegates did decide to impose mild sanctions against Russia over its conduct in Chechnya.

[URL may be different next day if article is archived]