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Friday, October 8, 1999 Published at 19:59 GMT 20:59 UK

World: Europe

Aid linked to Milosevic removal

The EU says it will provide $42m in humanitarian aid

The European Union is stepping up pressure on Yugoslavia's President Slobodan Milosevic to resign, promising international assistance for the country once he is ousted.

Kosovo: Special Report
The EU has drawn up a declaration pledging to lift sanctions and support Belgrade's readmission to international institutions - but only when President Milosevic and all others indicted for war crimes have been removed from office.

Serbia would be expected to introduce legislation in line with international standards on democracy and human rights, and hold free and fair elections under international supervision.

The BBC's Barnaby Mason: British officials describe the document as a vision of a post-Milosevic future
The BBC's Diplomatic Correspondent Barnaby Mason says one idea is for a working group of European experts and Serbian opposition representatives to prepare a set of democratic laws.

The declaration is expected to be adopted by EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg on Monday in the presence of nearly 30 Serbian opposition politicians and trade union and human rights activists.

[ image: Serbian oil refineries were damaged in Nato bombing]
Serbian oil refineries were damaged in Nato bombing
Yugoslavia's state-run news agency, Tanjug, has denounced those planning to attend the EU meeting as Western "collaborators" working to topple the government under instructions from their "foreign sponsors".

British officials say the EU will also announce a scheme to give energy aid to specific towns under opposition control to help them cope with the oil embargo on Serbia, whose oil refineries were damaged by Nato bombs earlier in the year.

The initial EU funding for the "Energy for Democracy" package will come to about $3m, plus contributions by individual governments.

[ image: Opposition rallies have so far failed to topple Milosevic]
Opposition rallies have so far failed to topple Milosevic
The EU has also announced that it intends to provide $42m in humanitarian aid to the people of Serbia this winter.

The EU's special representative for southeast Europe, Bodo Hombach, told a conference of Serbian opposition figures in Hungary: "We must provide this to avoid the suffering of the people and we must see how this can be done as soon as possible."

The conference was the latest in a series organised by the Hungarian authorities to help the Serbian opposition.

The BBC's Nick Thorpe: Mr Hombach is under pressure from Serbian opposition to show EU support goes beyond rhetoric
Speaking in the southern city of Szeged, 20km (12 miles) from the Serbian border, Mr Hombach said humanitarian assistance would come in the form of elementary supplies such as heating fuel.

Serbian opposition sources say plans already exist to supply the fuel from Bulgaria directly to towns in Serbia which they control, perhaps by the end of this month.

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