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Serbia: U.S. Skeptical Of Milosevic's Sincerity

Washington, 5 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - The U.S. State Department expressed skepticism yesterday that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic will carry out his pledge to recognize the November 17 municipal elections.

State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said the Serbian government has displayed what he called "contradictory impulses" and the United States wants to see concrete actions implementing the commitment.

"We are going to reserve some judgement. We will remain skeptical, and we will look for those deeds by the Serbian government," Burns said.

He said the statements from Belgrade authorities yesterday about recognizing the elections results were hopeful. If they prove to be accurate, Burns said the United States would welcome the move as the first step forward in the right direction in Serbia.

But he warned against any kind of nominal recognition of the election results. Burns said the Serbian government cannot let the opposition take office and then deprive it of power. He said that would not be acceptable to the international community.

Burns said that is why the United States will look very closely at the actions of the Serbian government, not just at its words.