UN Lifts Arms Embargo on Yugoslavia

Acting to normalize relations between Yugoslavia and the international community further, the UN Security Council unanimously voted September 10 to lift an arms embargo on Yugoslavia.

The embargo, passed by the Security Council in March 1998 to protest a Serbian crackdown on ethnic Albanians in the province of Kosovo, banned the sale of arms and related materials—such as weapons, ammunition, military vehicles, and spare parts. For the sanctions to be lifted, the Security Council required that Yugoslavia begin talks with Kosovo Albanians, cease hostile actions against civilians in Kosovo, withdraw its special police forces from the province, and allow humanitarian organizations and UN representatives access there.

In a September 6 letter to Security Council President Jean-David Levitte of France, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that Yugoslavia had complied with the demands and noted that the political and security situation in Yugoslavia had “changed considerably” since the adoption of the embargo.

Following democratic elections in the fall of 2000, Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was ousted from power, and in June 2001 he was extradited to the UN War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague.

The termination of the embargo removes the last remaining international sanctions on Yugoslavia. Groups such as the European Union and countries such as the United States had also enacted sanctions against Yugoslavia but removed them after Milosevic’s fall from power.