The Nov. 8 editorial "Rogue Merchants" said Yugoslavia has been supplying weapons and military training to Iraq in violation of a U.N. embargo.
True, a Yugoslav company, Jugoimport, had a role in reconditioning old engines for Iraq's fighter jets. However, the Yugoslav government's reaction on learning about this was to fire the company's CEO and sack the federal assistant defense minister. A commission set up by the government is investigating all arms deals, and legislation is under discussion to put an end to shady business practices in the arms trade. The Yugoslav government has promised to share information in this matter fully and has not ignored its international commitments or responsibilities.
The editorial also said that President Vojislav Kostunica has refused to purge hard-core nationalists and war criminals from the military. Today our army includes no indicted war criminals or hard-core nationalists. Top officers from the Milosevic era have been discharged; some of them are now in The Hague, answering charges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia and NATO have cooperated in fighting terrorism in southern Serbia. Yugoslavia and the United States have jointly removed dangerous radioactive materials from Yugoslav research facilities, ensuring that these materials stay out of reach of terrorists. President Bush thanked President Kostunica for his country's contribution to fighting terrorism.
As to the political appeal of Mr. Kostunica, the Yugoslav president is a staunch democrat. He led Yugoslavia into a transition to democracy and a market economy. For this, the EastWest Institute named him statesman of the year.
Yugoslavia's young democracy faces many challenges. Disregarding its achievements only harms the forces of democracy the United States purports to support.
Embassy of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
The Nov. 8 editorial "Rogue Merchants" incorrectly named Ukraine as one of the countries that have been "supplying weapons and military training to Iraq."
Neither Kolchuga (a passive detection system) nor any arms were ever sold by Ukraine to Iraq. American and British experts were given unprecedented opportunity to examine every Kolchuga system in Ukraine and had full access to documents related to its production and deliveries. Their report concluded: "It is assessed that Kolchuga has not been directly transferred to Iraq." This could hardly be called stonewalling by Ukraine.
Ukraine has nothing to hide and is willing to work transparently with the international community to clear its name.
Embassy of Ukraine