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U.S. Regrets Blockage of Heating Oil for Serbian Cities

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(Shipments intended by EU for Serbian cities of Nis and Pirot) (280)

State Department Spokesman James Rubin issued a statement December 3 regretting that the government of Yugoslavia had blocked humanitarian shipments of heating oil intended by the European Union for the Serbian cities of Nis and Pirot.

"If the regime of President Milosevic really cared about the welfare of its citizens," Rubin said, "it would allow these and future
humanitarian fuel shipments under the EU's program to reach their destinations quickly and unencumbered."

Following is the text of Rubin's statement:

(begin text)

U.S. Department of State
Washington, D.C.
Office of the Spokesman
December 3, 1999

STATEMENT BY JAMES P. RUBIN, SPOKESMAN

U.S. REGRETS BLOCKAGE OF HEATING OIL FOR NIS AND PIROT

The European Union announced today that after a delay of nine days at the Yugoslav-Macedonian border, trucks containing 350 tons of heating oil destined for Nis and Pirot in Serbia are returning to Skopjie. These humanitarian EU shipments and others to follow were intended to aid the residents of these two cities and support their democratic aspirations.

The United States regrets that Serbian authorities have not allowed these humanitarian shipments to go through, devising one false obstacle after another in a cynical maneuver to manipulate public opinion. If the regime of President Milosevic really cared about the welfare of its citizens, it would allow these and future humanitarian fuel shipments under the EU's program to reach their destinations quickly and unencumbered.

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(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State)