Continuing to voice strong opposition to a proposed NATO military intervention in Kosovo, Russian diplomats remained heavily involved yesterday in efforts to resolve that crisis. They spoke again of last week’s meeting between Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic–calling it a diplomatic “breakthrough.” Milosevic’s adherence to the pledges he made in Moscow, Russian diplomats claimed, meant that it was now necessary for Kosovar Albanian leaders both to enter into talks with authorities in Belgrade and to renounce any claims of independence for Kosovo. The West has also told Kosovar Albanians to give up their hopes of independence. Western leaders and diplomats, however, have been less impressed than Moscow by either the results of the Milosevic-Yeltsin talks or Milosevic’s pledges.
Three Russian diplomats remained at the center of Moscow’s efforts to mediate a settlement: Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov and Deputy Foreign Ministers Nikolai Afanasevsky and Aleksandr Avdeev. Afanasevsky traveled earlier this week to Belgrade, where he met with Milosevic, and to Kosovo, where he conferred with Kosovo Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova. Afanasevsky was scheduled to meet yesterday with the U.S. envoy to the region, Richard Holbrooke. Avdeev, meanwhile, has met this week with political leaders in Macedonia and Albania. (Russian agencies, June 23-25)
RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER ISSUES FRESH WARNING TO NATO.