Russian president Boris Yeltsin issued a decree yesterday formalizing the participation of Russian forces in the NATO-led Bosnian peace implementation force (IFOR). Yeltsin also ordered the government to ensure proper financing of the force in both rubles and foreign currency. Meanwhile, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman said that Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov had responded positively to a proposal from U.S. secretary of state Warren Christopher to invite the presidents of Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia to meet soon with representatives of the EU, Russia, and the United States in Rome. The proposal reportedly came during a phone call from Christopher on the evening of February 14. According to the spokesman, Primakov in turn spoke urgently of the need to conduct a meeting of the Contact Group before February 20 to consider lifting the sanctions against Bosnian Serbs.
Finally, the commander of Russian Airborne Forces announced yesterday that he had recalled Maj. Gen. Nikolai Staskov from Bosnia and had replaced him with an unidentified general. Sources in the Russian Foreign and Defense Ministries suggested that the change had been a response to western irritation over Staskov’s December 1995 meeting with Bosnian Serb commander General Ratko Mladic. Mladic has been declared a war criminal by the Hague-based international war crimes tribunal. (7)
Juppe Extends $800 Million in Credits, Suggests G-7 Will Become G-8.