Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 78

In yet another move aimed at protesting NATO air strikes on Yugoslavia, Russia’s Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov announced yesterday that Moscow will indeed boycott this week’s fiftieth anniversary NATO summit in Washington. A Russian Foreign Ministry statement explaining the Russian decision to forego the NATO summit carried the now standard denunciations of NATO actions in the Balkans. The statement describes the NATO airstrikes as an “egregious violation” of the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act and the Russia-NATO Founding Act. The statement also said that Moscow had no choice but to boycott the summit: “We do not want to return to the Cold War and we have no intention of getting drawn into a confrontation with the West. However, Russia will not silently encourage the arbitrariness of force.” The statement added that Russia remains “ready for further active interaction with NATO member states in the search for a peaceful settlement of the Yugoslav crisis” (Itar-Tass, April 21). Despite the strong words, yesterday’s developments in Moscow appeared mostly to highlight Russia’s isolation, its impotence and the failures of its diplomacy with regard to Kosovo. Even prior to the latest Balkans crisis, Russia was, for obvious reasons, reluctant to attend the NATO summit. Yet, in all likelihood it would have chosen to be somehow represented there. Now, however, Russia will find itself at home, even as most of its Eastern European and CIS neighbors depart for the ceremonies in Washington.