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World > Europe > Serbia > Foreign Relations (Notes)

Serbia - Foreign Relations (Notes)


FOREIGN RELATIONS
From the breakup of the Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia in 1989, the foreign policy of the F.R.Y. was characterized primarily by a desire to secure its political and geopolitical position and the solidarity of ethnic Serbs in the Balkan region through a strong nationalist campaign. The F.R.Y. supported and exploited the expansion of violent conflicts--in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and its own province, Kosovo--in order to advance its policies. Since October 2000, Serbia has all but eliminated its nationalist rhetoric and has worked to stabilize and strengthen its bilateral relationships with neighboring countries. In 2002, F.R.Y. resolved its longstanding border dispute with Macedonia and established full diplomatic relations with its neighbor and former adversary Croatia.

Also in 2002, the F.R.Y. Government established a commission to coordinate cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and began serving warrants for the arrest of persons indicted for war crimes who sought refuge in the country. The crackdown on organized crime following the assassination of Serbian Prime Minister Djindjic also resulted in the apprehension and transfer to The Hague of several persons indicted for war crimes. In 2004 and 2005, a significant number of ICTY indictees surrendered to the Tribunal, but six persons indicted for war crimes--most notably Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic--remain at large and most are believed to be in Serbia and/or the Republika Srpska. Until they are all in The Hague, Serbia will not have met all of its ICTY obligations.

Immediately preceding the NATO bombing campaign of the F.R.Y. in spring 1999, the U.S. and most European countries severed relations with the F.R.Y., and the U.S. Embassy was closed. Since October 5, 2000, foreign embassies, including that of the U.S., have reopened, and Serbia, as the successor state to the F.R.Y., regained its seat in such international organizations as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the UN and is actively participating in International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank projects. In 2003, Serbia was admitted to the Council of Europe. Serbia has also indicated its desire to join the EU and NATO's Partnership for Peace. Both NATO and the EU have made full ICTY cooperation a prerequisite for Serbia's increased cooperation with these organizations. Negotiations with the EU on a Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA)--the first step toward eventual accession--began after a positive feasibility study in April 2005. Despite two rounds of successful technical talks, the EU suspended talks in May 2006, citing a lack of movement by Serbia on apprehending Mladic and other indictees. In November 2006, NATO invited Serbia into Partnership for Peace, but made further progress toward NATO membership conditional on better ICTY cooperation. In June 2007, the EU resumed talks on an SAA with Serbia in the wake of improved cooperation on war crimes issues.

Foreign Aid
Prior to 1999, Belgrade received no foreign aid from the United States or western European countries. Since the fall of Milosevic in October 2000, however, European Union aid has steadily increased, and the U.S. also gives aid to Serbia, though there are congressional restrictions based on Serbia's need to meet its international obligations to the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). In May 2006, Secretary Rice did not certify that Serbia was cooperating with the ICTY, suspending approximately $7 million of aid for fiscal year 2006.


Facts at a Glance: Geography - People - Government - Economy - Communications - Transportation - Military - Climate - Ranking Positions
Notes and Commentary: People - Economy - Government and Political Conditions - Foreign Relations - Relations with U.S.



Facts at a Glance
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Climate
Ranking Positions


Notes and Commentary
People
Economy
Government and Political Conditions
Foreign Relations
Relations with U.S.





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