IS MOSCOW PREPARING TO LIFT SANCTIONS ON BELGRADE?
Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 80
Althoughthe Russian foreign ministry continues to say that Russia willnot take any unilateral steps, a meeting in Moscow this week ofthe Russian-Yugoslav ministerial commission on trade and economiccooperation suggests that Russia is laying the groundwork to doprecisely that. Russian media have prominently reported that thiscommission is drafting agreements for the post-sanctions periodon long-term Russian oil supplies to Yugoslavia, constructionof gas pipelines on Yugoslav territory, and creation of jointindustrial ventures. And both sides say that they would work jointlytoward lifting the sanctions in the coming months. If Moscow takesthis step, it will enjoy some support at home: the Russian parliamenton August 12 called on the Russian government to unilaterallylift the sanctions. One Russian commentator in the August 22 Moskovskayapravda suggested that Russia and the United States were engagedin a diplomatic "race" to find a solution to the problemsof the former Yugoslavia. Meanwhile, Iraq’s ambassador in Moscowsaid August 22 that Russian calls to end sanctions against Baghdadreflected Russia’s "strategic farsightedness" and confirmedthat "Russia remains a great power."
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