Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 70

. Following PresidentBoris Yeltsin’s August 7 invitation to Serbia’s and Croatia’spresidents, Slobodan Milosevic and Franjo Tudjman, for Russian-mediatedtalks in Moscow, Russia’s First Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Ivanovexpressed August 8 "extremely serious concern over the actionsof Croatia’s army," and demanded a halt to those actionsand insisted on respect for the rights of Serbs in Croatia, Interfaxreported. A Foreign Ministry appeal to the international communityalleged that Croatia was blocking aid to Serb civilians, and wasshelling refugee columns. The appeal urged the U.N. Security Councilto promptly examine purported Croatian violations of internationallaw. Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Demurin in turn condemnedCroatia for "creating an extremely grave and acute situation"and wrecking alleged progress toward a peaceful settlement inKrajina. But departing from this stance, Demurin conceded thatthe developments on the ground (i.e. Croatia’s recovery of territory)"must undoubtedly and fully be taken into account."

Moreover, an unnamed senior official of Russia’s foreign ministrytold Interfax August 8 that the talks would aim for a cease-fireand a political settlement not only between Serbia and Croatiabut "in the entire post-Yugoslav space, in light of the greatprestige the Serbian and Croatian presidents enjoy there"–afar cry from the language of Russia’s draft resolution at theUN Security Council only one day earlier. The inconsistenciesand shifts apparently reflect the scramble in Moscow to catchup with the rapid military developments in Krajina, but also maypresage a combination of pressures and blandishments meant toinduce Tudjman to cooperate with a Russian-arbitrated grand settlementin the Balkans. In addition, the suggestion that all conflictsin ex-Yugoslavia will be up for negotiation between Milosevicand Tudjman seems bound to feed the Bosnian government’s recurrentfears of a Serb-Croat partition of Bosnia.

Duma’s Mood Still Pro-Serb