LUXEMBOURG -- The European Union on Monday lifted economic sanctions against Yugoslavia, two days after Vojislav Kostunica became its democratically elected president, and offered $2 billion in aid to help rebuild the country.
Speaking outside an EU foreign ministers meeting, German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer said they agreed to end an oil embargo, imposed during the Kosovo war in 1999, as well as a ban on commercial flights to and from Serbia.
The EU left in effect sanctions that target former President Slobodan Milosevic and his allies by freezing their assets abroad and banning them from traveling to the 15 EU nations. A ban on arms sales, imposed by the U.N. Security Council, also will remain in effect.
The EU foreign ministers remained silent on the fate of Milosevic, who wants to stay in Yugoslavia and is wanted for trial before the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands.
Fischer said bringing Milosevic to court was "not a top priority."
The end of some sanctions marked a turning point in Serbia's relations with the rest of Europe and was a first step toward integrating the country into the European mainstream, according to the text of an EU statement to be issued later.
"The Yugoslav people have voted for democracy," the draft statement said. "As a result ... the EU has agreed on a radical revision of its policy towards Yugoslavia."
For starters, the EU will grant $2 billion in reconstruction aid for Serbia between now and 2007.
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