Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 197

Despite the weakened language, Moscow and Beijing refused to vote in favor of the resolution. Instead, they abstained. The measure passed by a 13-0 vote. Afterward, Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Sergei Lavrov, said that Moscow had declined to vote on the basis of another passage in the resolution–one that criticized Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic for his recent crackdown on freedom of the press. Moscow, which claims historical and cultural ties to the Serbs, and which sees Belgrade as a vehicle to maintain influence in the Balkans, has decried what it says are efforts by the West to undermine Yugoslav sovereignty.

The Security Council was under pressure over the weekend to adopt a resolution which would formalize the October 13 agreement and ensure protection of the international monitors called for in that agreement. Security Council members were also operating under the pressure of a NATO deadline–set for tomorrow (October 27)–by which time Belgrade was to have withdrawn all its forces from Kosovo. Russia has demanded that the NATO threat to launch air strikes against Yugoslavia be withdrawn prior to the start of the monitors’ missions (Reuters, AP, Russian agencies, October 24-25; Washington Post, October 25).