Moscow has continued by and large to stand by Belgrade over the past two days, despite the unwillingness of Serbian authorities to sign onto the Kosovo peace settlement agreement and their apparent preparations for a major military thrust into Kosovo. As the peace talks in France appeared to collapse yesterday, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov did call on the Serbian delegation to sign the political portion of the peace agreement, which would grant broad autonomy to Serbia’s Kosovo province. But Russian diplomat Boris Mayorsky, one of the three international mediators overseeing the peace talks, pointedly refused to join his U.S. and European counterparts yesterday when they endorsed the signing of the peace agreement by Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian leadership. A day earlier Mayorsky had just as pointedly distanced himself from criticism of the Serbs’ intransigence voiced publicly by Western officials (Reuters, Russian agencies, March 17-18).
MASLYUKOV BACK EMPTY-HANDED AFTER TOKYO TALKS.