Berlin threatens Serbia and Montenegro

SMEDEREVO | | jugoslawien

SMEDEREVO The German Foreign Office is putting the Serb Government under massive pressure to try to stop the sale of a steel company to a US firm. The German Ambassador in Belgrade has threatened Serbia in an official note with severe economic and legal consequences if the decision is not revoked.

The cause of the threats from Berlin is the sale of the well established Serb Sartid iron and steel company to US Steel Kosice (Slovakia), a subsidiary of the US Steel of America which with the purchase of Sartid is building its market in East and South East Europe. German firms were also interested in this most significant Serb steel producer.

The German Ambassador in Belgrade has now demanded that the Serb Government reverse its decision on the sale of Sartid because the potential German investors had been ,,illegally"disadvantaged. If the decision were not reversed then German companies would cease investing in Serbia and Montenegro. Germany as the largest foreign investor in Serbia and Montenegro (ie the former Yugoslavia) has great influence in the country. The German company WAZ has a leading position in the Yugoslav media and uses the position to intervene in public debate.

The German Ambassador announced that German companies would seek to enforce their claims on Sartid at the International Court in Vienna.

Deutscher Botschafter in Belgrad übt nach Verkauf von Eisenwerk an US-Firma scharfe Kritik an serbischer Regierung - Serbischer Wirtschaftsminister betont Rechtmäßigkeit des Verkaufs; Deutsche Welle Monitor Ost-/Südosteuropa 04.06.2003