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U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesman
Press Statement

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Press Statement by Nicholas Burns/Spokesman
March 19, 1997
Serbia Stalls in Implementing Gonzalez Recommendations
The United States Government is concerned by Serbia's lack of progress in implementing the recommendations made by former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez to the OSCE Chairman after his mission to Belgrade in December. These recommendations have been repeatedly endorsed by the international community and their full implementation is essential to the process of democratic reform in Serbia.
While we welcome the reinstatement of the results of the November 17th municipal elections, other important recommendations of the Gonzalez mission have not been implemented. In the area of media freedom, for instance, the Serbian Government has taken a series of steps in precisely the wrong direction.
We note with concern recent moves by the Serbian Government to restrict independent television transmission and the continued closure of BOOM-93 radio in Pozarevac. Both actions appear to be politically motivated efforts to restrict independent news sources. The proposed media law also appears to be aimed at restricting rather than expanding the free flow of information. Instead of passing a new, restrictive media law, the Serbian Government should encourage independent private media and ensure independent, non-partisan management of the state-owned media.
We call on the Serbian Government to initiate a constructive dialogue with the opposition on democratization in Serbia, including the issues of independent media and electoral reform. The willingness of the Serbian Government to genuinely address these concerns and to lay the basis for free and fair Republic elections later this year will determine the reaction of the United States and other members of the international community.

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