Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 104

Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev said on "MacNeil/Lehrer News Hour" September 27 that Russia opposes any move by the Bosnian Serbs to secede from Bosnia and unite with neighboring Serbia. Kozyrev reaffirmed Russia’s full agreement with the Western members of the Contact Group in opposing Bosnian Serb secession, noting that there has all along been firm agreement among Contact Group members to preserve Bosnia’s territorial integrity. He pointed out that maintaining Bosnia’s borders and preventing its breakup was important for Russia, which has its own ethnic conflicts and disputed borders to worry about. Kozyrev was interviewed in New York while attending a meeting of the Contact Group made up of Russia, the United States, France, Britain and Germany. (2)

Permitting Bosnian Serbs to secede would set a precedent for ethnic minorities in the Russian state. In the aftermath of Chechnya, Russian leaders have sought to reverse their blatantly aggressive support for some of the secessionist movements they once supported–such as Abkhazia’s desire to secede from Georgia–and have become hostile or indifferent to some erstwhile clients.

Rybkin Denies That He Will Replace Kozyrev.