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Switzerland pledges greater support for Belgrade

Joseph Deiss (right) and his Yugoslav counterpart Goran Svilanovic during their meeting near Bern Keystone

The Swiss foreign minister, Joseph Deiss, and his Yugoslav counterpart, Goran Svilanovic, have agreed on deepening economic relations between the two countries.

This content was published on January 21, 2002 - 21:57

During a meeting outside the Swiss capital, Bern, the two ministers discussed further financial aid for the modernisation of the Yugoslav administration and for cadre training.

Since the collapse of Slobodan Milosevic's government, Switzerland has been involved in several aid projects in Yugoslavia and has given the country financial and organisational support.

Svilanovic praised Switzerland for the role it has played in the re-integration of his country into the international community.

"Switzerland's help is very much appreciated by my government and if it had not been for Switzerland, we would not be a member of the International Monetary Fond," he said.

In December 2000, Switzerland agreed to lend Yugoslavia SFr243 million ($145 million) to allow it to rejoin the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Deiss said Switzerland would support Svilanovic in his quest to join the European Council, however, it was important that Yugoslavia would support Switzerland in repatriating Yugoslav refugees.

Furthermore the Yugoslav foreign minister said he hoped his country would liberalise immigration policy and expressed his interest in joining the Schengen agreement.

swissinfo with agencies

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