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U.S. may lift sanctions

By Sridhar Krishnaswami

WASHINGTON, OCT. 7. The United States has, not surprisingly, welcomed the fast-paced developments in Yugoslavia and the President, Mr. Bill Clinton, has held out the prospect of an early lifting of sanctions now that Mr. Slobodan Milosevic has been shown the door.

``Now is not the time for the United States or its allies to retreat from the Balkans in complacency. Now is the time to stay the course and stick with the people who have won their freedom, the time to build the economic and civil institutions that will allow democracy to endure, reconciliation and cooperation to develop and the economy to grow'', Mr. Clinton said at the White House.

For an administration that has been demanding that Mr. Milosevic must meet his fate and future at the hands of the International War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague, Washington had also made it known that should the former Yugoslavian strongman managed to carve a role for himself in the emerging scheme of things, the lifting of sanctions could be difficult.

But now this is not the case as Mr. Milosevic has finally conceded the elections and perhaps only negotiating where he and his entourage may be heading. This too is problematical in the sense that the Clinton administration has been demanding that Mr. Milosevic should be handed over to The Hague as there is an indictment turned in.

The U.S. has been especially sharp in its statements on this subject as it was thought that Mr. Milosevic might land up in Russia to ``negotiate'' a way out of the political mess of his making. Rejecting any asylum for Mr. Milosevic, the White House spokesman said, ``We are not proposing a deal, we are not encouraging a deal and we would not endorse or support any such deal.''

There are two broad sets of sanctions against Serbia which will have to be acted upon.

The American and European sanctions include an oil embargo, a ban on commerce with Yugoslav firms that were believed to be controlled by the Milosevic Government, the denial of visas for high level officials and denial of full rights at the United Nations including at the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and other lending institutions.

The other set of sanctions, including an arms embargo, has been imposed by the United Nations which can be removed only by a Security Council resolution.

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