U.S. Slaps New Sanctions on Yugoslavia as War Rages : Diplomacy: The trade bans apply to all regions. The port of Dubrovnik is shelled again.
Though the European Community recently scaled back its punitive measures, the Bush Administration imposed new economic sanctions against Yugoslavia on Friday in response to continued violations of a U.N.-mediated cease-fire in the Balkan country’s bloody civil war.
State Department spokeswoman Margaret Tutwiler accused Serbia and the Serb-dominated Yugoslav army of “reprehensible” attacks against civilian targets in Croatia. But she said the sanctions would apply to all parts of Yugoslavia, including Croatia.
In Yugoslavia on Friday, the heaviest fighting in weeks erupted in breakaway Croatia. Shelling from the land and sea set buildings ablaze in the Adriatic port of Dubrovnik, and battles raged in the eastern city of Osijek and other towns across the republic.
U.N. envoy Cyrus R. Vance, saying he was outraged and appalled, protested to Yugoslav Defense Minister Veljko Kadijevic and said the fighting would make it harder to send a peacekeeping force to Yugoslavia.
Ed Koestal, a spokesman for EC monitors in Croatia, said shells hit Dubrovnik from the land and sea at a rate of 40 to 50 rounds a minute at the peak of fighting Friday. He said some of them fell on its historic medieval section. “I can confirm that the old city has been shelled. . . . There are fires in the old city. It is very bad,” he said.
Zagreb radio said 11 people were killed and 30 wounded during the fighting in Dubrovnik, which has been under siege for 67 days.
The Serbian-led federal army denied it had attacked Dubrovnik, saying the fighting was between rival Croatian forces.
In Osijek, the main city of the eastern Slavonia region of Croatia, attacks continued into the evening, defense officials said. Six people were killed and 15 wounded, hospital officials reported.
In Washington, Tutwiler said the new U.S. sanctions were in support of those imposed by the EC. But this week, the EC lifted its sanctions against four of Yugoslavia’s six republics, leaving the measures only against Serbia and its ally, Montenegro.
Asked why the Administration did not follow the EC lead, Tutwiler said: “I would just tell you that at this point . . . our sanctions apply to the whole country. I’m not going to characterize it as a break with the EC.”
Tutwiler acknowledged that U.S. sanctions will have only symbolic impact, because the United States and Yugoslavia have never been major economic partners.
Probably the most significant U.S. action was ruling Yugoslavia and its six republics ineligible to sell goods to the United States under a trade preference program for Third World countries. Tutwiler said Yugoslavia shipped $280 million in goods to the United States last year under that program, about a third of total Yugoslav exports to this country.
In keeping with the decision to impose sanctions on all parts of the war-torn nation, Tutwiler appealed to all sides “to fully comply with the (U.N.-mediated) cease-fire agreed to on Nov. 23 and to commit themselves to genuine negotiations.”
But she singled out Serbia and its allies for the most blame, saying: “The continuing use of aggressive force and intimidation against Croatia and Bosnia by the Serbian leadership and its allies in Montenegro and by the Yugoslav military represents the greatest obstacle to a peaceful settlement. These continuing attacks against non-military targets and civilian urban centers are reprehensible.”