Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 140

President Boris Yeltsin and the Foreign Ministry are praising the Dayton peace agreement on Bosnia, but with two significant reservations. First, they insist on acceptance of Russia’s terms regarding its participation in the peacekeeping operation and in political control over that operation. Second, Moscow favors the outright lifting of international economic sanctions against rump Yugoslavia, rather than its suspension pending the signing of a peace treaty. Also, it criticizes the decision to lift the arms embargo on all parties to the conflict. Russian officials said yesterday that Russia abstained on the UN Security Council resolution to suspend the sanctions and lift the general arms embargo, because the Western powers submitted the resolution as a package, and Moscow could not afford a veto. Col. General Leonty Shevtsov, who will command Russian peacekeeping troops in Bosnia, said on German TV that his soldiers were ready to operate in the Posavina corridor, a narrow strip of land in northern Bosnia which links Serb-held territory to the east and west and also abuts on Croatia. (4)

The Russian government had, in recent months, taken joint steps with rump Yugoslavia’s government to prepare the resumption and expansion of economic ties immediately upon the suspension of sanctions. At the same time, Moscow urged the continuation of the general arms embargo because it worked to Serbia’s advantage. The Posavina corridor had been a major sticking point in the peace talks among the warring factions which reached agreement in Dayton, Ohio. Serbs had sought to widen the corridor, which would force their Moslem and Croat foes to hand over some territory. What the agreement specifically provides for in this respect has not yet been announced.

Russian Clout Shrinking Also in Croatia.