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Serbia: U.S. Telling Allies To Cool Business Contacts

Washington, 4 December 1996 (RFE/RL) - The United States has told European allies it favors limiting business contacts with Serbia while the government in Belgrade continues to deny democratic rights to the people of Serbia.

U.S. State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said yesterday the United States has made clear to its European partners that it is against doing business as usual with Serbia.

He was commenting on reports from Geneva that an invitation to the Serb government to participate in talks there on economic cooperation has been withdrawn.

Burns said he could not confirm the withdrawal, But he said "this is not the time to do business as usual with Belgrade."

He said the United States will continue unilateral, mostly diplomatic sanctions against Serbia as long as authorities in Belgrade continue their undemocratic behaviour.

Burns said that the United States reserves the right to ask the United Nations Security Council to reimpose the trade sanctions against Serbia that were lifted in January after the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords.

He said Washington has not yet made such a request but is putting the Serb government on notice that such a step is possible.