MOSCOW HAMMERS AWAY AT KLA; YELTSIN PREPARING EXIT FROM G-7?
Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 117
Russian officials, meanwhile, kept up their drumbeat of criticism yesterday over NATO’s alleged failure to deal effectively with the Kosovo Liberation Army. Russia’s UN ambassador, Sergei Lavrov, yesterday accused the alliance of violating the Kosovo peace agreement by allowing Kosovo rebels to establish their influence throughout the province. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov spoke similarly in Helsinki yesterday, as did Defense Minister Sergeev prior to his departure from Moscow. The Russian defense chief accused KLA rebels of “perpetrating alarming terrorist acts in Kosovo”–a development which he described as a “powder keg” and one capable of destroying the entire Kosovo peace settlement. Another unnamed Defense Ministry official charged that NATO has been “flouting its obligations” under the Kosovo peace agreement while “conniving” openly with the KLA (Russian agencies, June 16).
In a related matter, a Russian daily on June 15 suggested that Boris Yeltsin’s recent decision to attend only the final day of this weekend’s three-day G-7 summit in Cologne could be related to the Kosovo dispute and to other tensions between Russia and the West. According to a commentary in “Segodnya,” the Russian president’s current schedule leaves him the option of foregoing participation in the Cologne meeting altogether if either the Russian-U.S. talks on Kosovo fail to produce a result, or if it appears that the International Monetary Fund will decide not to grant financial assistance to Russia. The commentary suggests, more broadly, that the wide array of tensions currently dividing Russia from the West could be leading Yeltsin to rethink his long sought after goal of winning full membership for Russia in the G-7 (Segodnya, June 15).
CHERNOMYRDIN HINTS HE MAY RETURN TO TOP GAZPROM SPOT.