Promise on Yugoslavia

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The Independent Online

Juan Antonio Samaranch, president of the International Olympic Committee, yesterday pledged the IOC's full backing to have a sports embargo against Yugoslavia lifted.

"The IOC will do everything in its power to have the sports sanctions against Yugoslavia definitely lifted in April," he said.

The United Nations imposed sanctions against Belgrade in May 1992 for its active support of Bosnian Serbs fighting in Bosnia. On 1 October, 1994, it eased sports, cultural and travel sanctions for a trial period of 100 days, extended last month for another 100 until mid-April, after Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic cut off the Bosnian Serbs.

Samaranch said he hoped to see Yugoslav athletes compete at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta "without any problems from any federation".

During the sanctions period, Yugoslav athletes were prohibited from competing abroad. Thanks to IOC insistence, they were allowed to take part in the 1992 Barcelona Games as individual competitors.