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Yugoslavia-Bosnia relations restored

kostunica
Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica kisses the coffin of a Bosnian Serb poet during a visit to Bosnia in October  

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia -- Balkan neighbours Yugoslavia and Bosnia have re-established diplomatic relations, almost nine years after Bosnia broke away from the old socialist federation amid the horrors of ethnic cleansing.

The agreement was signed by Yugoslav Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic and Bosnian Foreign Minister Jadranko Prlic in Belgrade on Friday.

It was another key step by the new Belgrade government in ending the international isolation of Yugoslavia under ousted president Slobodan Milosevic, whose decade in power was marked by a series of Balkan wars and crippling economic sanctions.

Last Saturday, Svilanovic signed a similar agreement in Slovenia, whose 1991 declaration of independence from former Yugoslavia triggered a brief war that killed 64 people.

Yugoslavia -- now made up of Serbia and Montenegro -- already has diplomatic relations with the former Yugoslav republics of Croatia and Macedonia.

Bosnia's inter-ethnic presidency agreed last week to establish ties with Yugoslavia after it changed a disputed formulation in the text of the protocol.

The two countries failed to establish relations after the Dayton agreement that ended the 1992-1995 Bosnian war because Milosevic, forced from power by a popular uprising in October, insisted on Bosnia ending legal action against his country.

Bosnia has said it is not going to give up charges filed with the International Court of Justice in The Hague against Yugoslavia for its involvement in the conflict between Bosnian Serb, Muslim and Croat forces.

Reuters contributed to this report.



RELATED STORIES:
U.S. Army schedules troop rotations in Bosnia for next 5 years
December 4, 2000
Bosnia: Six U.N. police ordered home
November 29, 2000
Bosnia election turnout 'very healthy' -- observers
November 11, 2000
Kostunica in Bosnia: 'New page' in relations but no apology
October 22, 2000

RELATED SITES:
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
Republic of Bosnia-Hercegovina
International Court of Justice

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