During meetings yesterday in Moscow, meanwhile, Russian leaders apparently emphasized to visiting UN Secretary General Kofi Annan their desire that the UN take the lead role in Kosovo. Annan appeared to avoid any direct comment on Russian ideas for ending the crisis, though Russian sources claimed that he had joined with Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov in calling for an immediate end to NATO airstrikes on Yugoslavia. In addition to his talks with Primakov, Annan met in Moscow with Chernomyrdin–prior to the latter’s departure for Germany–and with President Boris Yeltsin and Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov (Russian agencies, April 29).
This week’s frenzy of diplomatic activity aimed at ending the Kosovo conflict follows last weekend’s NATO summit in Washington. During the summit alliance leaders decided to step up efforts to bring Russia closer to NATO positions with regard to the Kosovo conflict. That effort was intended to mend fences with Moscow while isolating Milosevic–who to date has adroitly exploited Belgrade’s close ties with Russia. As a corollary to its increased diplomatic efforts, the alliance also decided this week to intensify its military campaign against Yugoslavia. NATO leaders will get some indication of whether their new strategy is having the desired effect during Chernomyrdin’s scheduled visit to Belgrade today.
RUSSIAN OBSERVERS “UNDERWHELMED” BY IMF DEAL.