Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 88

News reports yesterday and today suggested that Russia and the West have already worked out their positions on many of the key issues to be discussed at today’s Group of Seven meeting. Evidence of this was the announcement that the meeting would produce a statement today which would call for an international security force to protect the return of all refugees to Kosovo, a withdrawal of Serbian forces from Kosovo and an international interim administration for the province. In a concession to Moscow, there will reportedly be no explicit mention of a role for NATO in the security force. But Western leaders will reportedly continue to insist that the alliance be made the core of the security contingent. Diplomats also expressed the hope that the statement might contribute ultimately to the approval of a UN resolution on the terms of a Kosovo peace settlement. They warned, however, that considerable work remains before that comes to pass (AP, Reuters, May 5).

As it was described yesterday, today’s statement by Russia and the G-7 ministers may gloss over several of the major disagreements which have thus far divided the West from Russia–and from Belgrade. This is most obvious with regard to NATO’s not being mentioned in connection with the international security force to be deployed in Kosovo. But the statement will apparently also leave the question of the size of the Serbian force to remain in Kosovo to future negotiations. Further, it appears to sidestep the issue of Kosovo’s status in any future peace settlement.