CEOL - EU Hopes To Start Fuel Aid To Serbia Next Week

BRUSSELS, Nov 9, 1999 -- (Reuters) The European Union hopes to start fuel deliveries to Serbian cities next week under a program intended to help opponents of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, an EU source said on Monday.

"We hope to start deliveries on November 15 to 20," the source said, referring to the Energy for Democracy program designed to help towns controlled by opponents of Milosevic.

The EU still has an oil embargo against Yugoslavia. But it adopted the energy for democracy program last month to help Milosevic's opponents deal with energy problems worsened by NATO bombing raids against Yugoslavia earlier this year.

But the EU has not so far explained how it will deliver the fuel, how it will ensure the oil does not fall into the hands of the Yugoslav government or what it will do if Belgrade refuses to allow the deliveries.

The ministers had set the goal of providing the first fuel by the end of November, to help cope with the approaching winter.

The towns of Nis and Pirot will be the first to receive the fuel, which is expected to come through Bulgaria.

The source did not say how much fuel would be provided in the first deliveries or how long the program would continue.

U.S. officials initially expressed reservations about the program but Washington voiced public support for it last week.

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