Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 105

Russia’s First Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov will to leave for Belgrade Wednesday for talks with Serb President Slobodan Milosevic, and possibly with the Bosnian Serb leaders. A high ranking Russian diplomat said that in the current context, there is nothing unusual about Russian contacts with the Bosnian Serbs, who are members of the joint Yugoslav delegation led by Milosevic. He said the mission should be viewed as part of the process initiated in the conflict zone by EU representative Carl Bildt and US Under-Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke. (4)

In Belgrade Ivanov reportedly will discuss the situation in Bosnia and Eastern Slavonia (Croatia). Diplomats from Contact Group member states are formally enjoined from meeting directly with leaders of the would-be Bosnian Serb Republic. But U.S. negotiator Holbrooke produced his diplomatic breakthrough in a meeting with Serb leader Milosevic, at which Bosnian Serb leaders Prime Minister Karadzic and General Mladic were present (though not publicly acknowledged). The senior diplomat’s comments, at least in part, are designed to show that Russian diplomacy can play that game, too.

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