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U.S. Blocks Aid to Serbia and Montenegro

U.S. State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said in Washington on 31 March that Secretary of State Colin Powell has decided to suspend temporarily at least $26 million in aid for Serbia and Montenegro because of that country's failure to cooperate adequately with the Hague-based war crimes tribunal.

Ereli stressed that Powell "cannot certify to Congress that Serbia and Montenegro is cooperating with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and, as a result, as of March 31st, new assistance for Serbia will stop."

The spokesman said it is vital that Belgrade authorities "cooperate fully with the tribunal by arresting and transferring their fugitive indictees, particularly [former Bosnian Serb General] Ratko Mladic, to face justice" in The Hague.

The aid ban can be lifted in the future if Powell decides that Belgrade has met the requirements for receiving U.S. assistance.

(RFE/RL 01.iv.04)

 
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