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Albania/Former Yugoslavia: EU Sets Conditions For Aid

By Joel Blocker and Clifford Smith

Prague, 29 April 1997 (RFE/RL) -- The European Union today set forth a list of 10 general conditions for its continued aid to Albania and the countries of the former Yugoslavia. The conditions had mostly to do with respecting democratic and human-rights standards.

A statement issued in Luxembourg by the EU's 15 foreign ministers said that the conditions applied to all southeast European nations that are not already closely associated with the Union. The statement mentioned specifically Bosnia, Croatia, the rump-Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), Macedonia and Albania.

Other southeast European nations such as Romania and Bulgaria, which have signed association accords with the EU, are already committed to upholding democratic and human rights criteria.

The 10 conditions include permitting displaced persons to return to their homes, credible undertaking of democratic reforms and respect for human rights, holding of regular free elections, and efforts to establish good neighborly relations.

Earlier today the foreign ministers discussed their relations with Iran. EU countries, with the exception of Greece, recalled their ambassadors from Tehran after a German court ruled Iran's leadership was responsible for the assassination of Kurdish dissidents in Berlin five years ago.

In its statement, the EU also laid down special additional aid conditions for Croatia, Bosnia and the rump- Yugoslavia.

Croatia was told it could continue to receive EU assistance only if met three conditions. One is respect for international agreements on Eastern Slavonia. A second is the opening of a customs border between Croatia and the semi-autonomous Republica Srpska in Bosnia. The third is proof that Zagreb is pressuring Croats in Bosnia to respect the Bosnian Federation as well using its influence to deliver Croat war criminals in Bosnia to the international tribunal in the Hague, Netherlands.

Special conditions for Bosnia continuing to receive EU aid include beginning a process of free circulation of people, property and capital in the county.

Rump-Yugoslavia was told that it could only receive EU assistance if it began what the EU called a "real dialogue" with the ethnic Albanian majority in the Kosovo region of southern Serbia. The EU said the dialogue should lead to the granting of what it described as a "large degree of autonomy" to Kosovo.