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Switzerland lifts most sanctions against Yugoslavia

The easing of sanctions is contributing to the mood of optimism in Belgrade


Switzerland on Wednesday lifted some of its sanctions against Yugoslavia, following a similar decision by the European Union on Monday.

The Swiss government said it had defined a new policy towards Yugoslavia, following the overthrow of President Slobodan Milosevic last week.

Humanitarian aid is to be boosted, while the ban on new investments and export credits for Yugoslavia is beng lifted.

Some sanctions will, however, remain in place.

The economics minister, Pascal Couchepin, made it clear that the freeze on assets belonging to Milosevic and his associates - believed to amount to SFr100 million in Switzerland - would not be lifted. The list of people whose assets have been frozen is being increased from 300 to 600 people on Wednesday.

The sale of arms to Yugoslavia will also remain blocked.

Among other measures, an oil embargo is also being lifted. Switzerland did not export to Yugoslavia, but introduced measures to ensure that the international embargo could not be broken through Switzerland.

Couchepin said Switzerland wanted to help Yugoslavia and described the partial lifting of sanctions as the end of an era, and a step towards Yugoslavia re-joining the international community.

Switzerland is to send an ambassador back in Belgrade and will reactivate a frozen repatriation agreement with Yugoslavia for its refugees.

swissinfo with agencies

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