CEOL - Yugoslavia Protests Over Absence From OSCE Summit

BELGRADE, Nov 17, 1999 -- (Reuters) Yugoslavia on Tuesday protested at not being invited to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) summit in Istanbul this week.

"The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is thus prevented from expressing its stands on issues it is vitally interested in," the state news agency Tanjug quoted assistant Yugoslav Foreign Minister Miroslav Milosevic as saying.

"These issues are linked not only to its fate but to the relations and stability and security of the entire European area of which Yugoslavia is an integral part," Milosevic said, addressing foreign diplomats in Belgrade.

He said that Yugoslavia had prepared an aide-memoire listing elements the country considered important for promoting collective security in Europe and in the world.

Yugoslavia was suspended from the 54-nation OSCE in 1992 following tough international sanctions imposed on the country over its involvement in the Croatian and Bosnian wars.

In 1998, Yugoslavia accepted an OSCE Verification Mission in Kosovo to oversee the implementation of a U.S-brokered peace plan in the province.

The mission withdrew from Kosovo last March on the eve of punishing NATO air strikes conducted against Serbian security forces for their continued repression of the ethnic Albanian majority in the province.

Deputy Foreign Minister Milosevic said it was wrong to accuse Yugoslav security forces of causing the OSCE withdrawal because this "was used to open the way to NATO aggression."

"This document (aide-memoire) critically treats the (NATO) aggression against Yugoslavia and the desire to legalize and impose this inadmissible practice set by the precedent of Yugoslavia."

He said the new European security charter to be adopted at the summit should reaffirm the founding principles of the OSCE, the supremacy of the U.N. Charter and basic OSCE documents over unilateral acts and decisions of regional organizations.

"We consider unacceptable the way Yugoslavia and especially events in Kosovo are treated in the draft declaration of the Istanbul summit which is being examined at a preparatory meeting," Milosevic said.

He said the key factor in the current situation in Kosovo - "separatism and terrorism of ethnic Albanian extremists that continue even after the takeover of the province by international forces" - was ignored in the draft.

"The ultimate aim is to establish a precedent in international practice directly contrary to the goals and principles of OSCE," Milosevic said, adding it was unacceptable to discuss a country's internal affairs in its absence.

"An approach like that can only be calculated to provoke destabilization and impose solutions contrary to the democratically expressed will of the people."

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