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Serbia: U.S. Rejects Milosevic Letter

Washington, 16 December 1996 (RFE/RL) - The U.S. State Department Friday rejected an open letter to Secretary of State Warren Christopher from Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, saying the communication does not deal seriously with major issues.

State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said Friday that the letter "fails to address in any serious and committed way" the substantive concerns that the United States has raised concerning the annulment of municipal elections and abuse by police of many of the demonstrators.

Burns said the United States "rejects President Milosevic's legalistic arguments in this letter that try to whitewash the simple truth that there has been a blatant disregard of the democratic will of the Serbian people."

The spokesman said, however, that it appears from the letter that Milosevic may have agreed to an earlier private U.S. proposal that the Serbians invite the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to send a delegation to assess what happened in the annulled November 17 elections.

Burns noted that Serbia had rejected that proposal, but that in the letter it "appears" that Milosevic may be willing to agree to such a mission. But Burns added that the United States will judge Milosevic by his actions and the degree of cooperation with the OSCE.