CEOL - EU Gives Up First Attempt To Take Oil To YU

BRUSSELS, Dec 3, 1999 -- (Reuters) The European Union said on Friday it had abandoned an attempt to deliver heating fuel to two opposition-held towns in Yugoslavia and trucks blocked at the border for more than a week would return to Macedonia.

An EU spokesman blamed the Yugoslav authorities for the long delay at the border. He said the EU was determined eventually to get the heating fuel to its destination by other means, but did not say how this would be done.

"This situation has become intolerable, and the drivers will therefore return today with their trucks to (the Macedonian capital) Skopje," the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, said in a statement.

"But the program will continue. Further deliveries are under preparation," the statement said.

Fourteen EU lorries carrying 350 tons of fuel for the Serbian towns of Nis and Pirot have been held up at the Yugoslav border since November 24. Yugoslav officials attribute the delay to normal administrative procedures but the EU has accused Belgrade of blocking the supplies for bogus reasons.

The EU hopes gradually to deliver 25,000 tons of heating oil under a program called Energy for Democracy which is intended to help ordinary people through winter and to boost Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's opponents.

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