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Switzerland lifts more sanctions against Yugoslavia

Switzerland has removed a freeze on bank accounts belonging to the government of Yugoslavia and Serbia, as part of a wider lifting of sanctions imposed during the rule of the recently deposed president, Slobodan Milosevic.

The Swiss government announced on Monday that the move had been taken in consultation with the European Union, which has also lifted some of its sanctions against Belgrade.

Bern also lifted a freeze on 180 individual bank accounts. However, 620 remain frozen, including those belonging to associates of Milosevic.

The authorities say they have found no money directly held by Milosevic himself.

The freeze affected assets worth some SFr100 million ($55 million), but the economics ministry said most of this money could now be accessed by its owners.

The move came as the Swiss foreign minister, Joseph Deiss, joined several of his counterparts in welcoming Yugoslavia as a member of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The new Yugoslav president, Vojislav Kostunica, accepted Belgrade's membership at a meeting of the 55 OSCE countries in Vienna.

Last October, Switzerland lifted a ban on new investments and export credits to Yugoslavia, along with an embargo to prevent oil being routed through Switzerland to Belgrade.

An arms embargo is still in place.

swissinfo with agencies

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