- The European Union banned oil sales to
Yugoslavia on Monday, but in a development that will be regarded as scandalous
in European capitals the United States confirmed it had no plans to follow
- This means that while it is now illegal
for any EU country to export oil to Slobodan Milosevic, it remains perfectly
legal for American companies to continue to fuel the Serb war machine.
- In fact, they already have. On April
10, a full two weeks into the conflict, the American firm Texaco shipped
about 65,000 barrels of oil products into Bar, the Montenegrin port that
now serves as Yugoslavia's only supply route for fuel.
- Other routes, including a pipeline from
Hungary or the land routes from Croatia and Bulgaria, have effectively
been cut off.
- The disclosure that American firms have
been selling oil to the dictator while America pilots have been risking
their lives to bomb oil refineries and storage facilities is likely to
undercut American efforts to moralise to the rest of the world.
- Texaco has now stated it will no longer
sell oil to Yugoslavia. But hundreds of other companies have yet to do
- A US State Department official confirmed
there were no plans to introduce the same sort of legislation that EU foreign
ministers adopted on Monday in Luxembourg, which renders it a crime to
sell oil to Yugoslavia.
- The embargo will be implemented on Friday.
- NATO's communique on Kosovo, published
at the weekend, stops short of calling on all NATO members to adopt legal
instruments to halt the flow of oil.
- What NATO is committed to do, however,
is to interrupt the supply of oil, wherever it comes from, by means of
a "visit and search" regime that will board and inspect ships
heading for Bar.
- Since international law says ships can
only be halted in pursuit of a United Nations sanctions resolution, it
is extremely uncertain what will happen if a Russian, or indeed an American,
oil tanker declines to be searched.
- Russia has refused to commit to compliance
with an oil embargo so the potential for conflict is high. If Russian merchant
ships were challenged on the high seas, it might decide to give them military
- Further economic restrictions have been
placed on Yugoslavia and it emerged yesterday that the European Commission
would halt a promised package of economic assistance for Montenegro - lest
it fell into "the wrong hands." - The Telegraph, London
- Oiling a black market
- New York: NATO's planned oil embargo
of Yugoslavia has already created a black market in which Serb-backed buyers
are paying up to a 50 per cent premium for petrol and other refined products,
according to European oil traders. The traders said on Monday that Lukoil,
one of the biggest Russian suppliers, has extended new lines of credit
- How much fuel the Russians will be able
or willing to sell to Yugoslavia remains unclear. But the embargo, which
is expected to be enforced from this week, means that deliveries by sea
may stop. - The New York Times