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New Yugoslav president pays brief visit to Switzerland

The new Yugoslav president Vojislav Kostunica (left) with the Swiss president Adolf Ogi Keystone

The new Yugoslav President, Vojislav Kostunica, has held talks with the Swiss president, Adolf Ogi, during a brief visit to Geneva.

Kostunica, who took power a week ago after the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic, stopped off in Geneva briefly on his way back to Belgrade from the European Union summit in Biarritz, France.

Ogi said they had “a very open dialogue”. He said discussions had centred on Kostunica’s plans to restore democracy in Yugoslavia, and expressed confidence that his presidency would lead to a period of stability in the Balkans.

Ogi said Switzerland was prepared to step up its humanitarian and financial aid to Yugoslavia. But he added that the first step would be to identify Yugoslavia’s needs.

Kostunica spoke of his desire to normalise relations between Yugoslavia and the international community.

Switzerland followed the EU’s lead earlier this week by lifting most of its sanctions against Yugoslavia, in the wake of Milosevic’s overthrow.

However, some sanctions remain in force, including a freeze on accounts held in Switzerland by Milosevic and his associates, which are believed to contain SFr100 million in funds.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR