Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennady Tarasov told reporters yesterday that Russia has no intention of trying to mediate the current crisis in Kosovo. Tarasov suggested that Moscow’s position is based upon its determination that the troubles in Kosovo are an internal problem. He repeated Moscow’s call for a solution that secures Yugoslavia’s territorial integrity. He also said that authorities in Belgrade and representatives of Kosovo’s Albanian community "should promptly start a dialogue" to resolve current problems and "ensure the rights of Kosovo residents." Tarasov announced, finally, that Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov has no plans to meet with Albanian representatives from Kosovo during an upcoming March 17-21 trip to the Balkans. That trip includes talks in Belgrade. (Itar-Tass, March 12)
Tarasov’s remarks yesterday would seem aimed, at least in part, at quieting possible speculation over comments made by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Nikolai Afanasyevsky on March 9. Afanasyevsky told a Russian radio interviewer that friendly relations between Moscow and Belgrade might allow Russia to play a special role in mediating the current conflict in Kosovo. (Ekho Moskvy, March 9) Russia’s parliament has also urged the Foreign Ministry to take an active role in settling the Kosovo crisis. Yesterday the Russian Duma decided to send a delegation of deputies to Kosovo. (Itar-Tass, March 11)
Another Yeltsin Health Scare.