Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 95

Moscow continued its call for a halt to the NATO bombing during deliberations at the UN Security Council as well. On May 15 Russia joined China in abstaining from voting on a resolution commending humanitarian efforts on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of Kosovo refugees created by the Balkans crisis. The resolution, which was sponsored by the nonaligned countries, was approved by a vote 13-0. Russia claimed to have abstained from the vote because of the failure of Council members to consider a package of Russian proposals, particularly its demand for an immediate stop to the air campaign against Yugoslavia (Reuters, Itar-Tass, May 15).

Russia did join other council members in approving a resolution which expressed regret and sorrow over NATO’s accidental bombing of the Chinese embassy on May 7. The resolution was a considerably weaker one than had been sought by Beijing. The Security Council had labored for a week to produce the May 15 resolutions. The long delay had in general seen Russia and China–which have most vehemently opposed NATO’s air campaign in the Balkans–pitted against other Council members.

Meanwhile, on May 15 in New Delhi, Russia and India called jointly for an immediate halt to the NATO air campaign. The declaration came during a visit to the Indian capital by Sergei Prikhodko, a long-time foreign policy aide to President Boris Yeltsin. The Indian-Russian statement reportedly called the NATO air strikes “unjustified” and urged that the Kosovo conflict be resolved through negotiations. The two sides also reaffirmed the importance of their “strategic partnership,” and warned anew that NATO military actions in the Balkans could have an adverse impact on the existing system of international relations (UPI, Itar-Tass, May 15).

Russia has developed “strategic partnerships” with both India and China, and has at times pushed for the formation of a three-way Russia-China-India axis as a counterweight on the world stage to the United States and NATO. That effort has generally been rebuffed, particularly by China. The three countries are, however, finding some common ground on the issue of Kosovo.