Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov yesterday restated Moscow’s categorical opposition to any foreign military intervention in Yugoslavia. Ivanov’s remarks came despite new reports of atrocities by Serbian security forces against Kosovo’s Albanian minority and a stern warning from NATO that strikes are imminent if Belgrade fails to halt the bloodshed in Kosovo. Ivanov told reporters that Moscow’s “main task” now was to stop any use of force by NATO to resolve that conflict. NATO’s proposed actions would only “exacerbate the situation in the Balkans,” Ivanov said. And if NATO goes forward with strikes against Belgrade without a resolution from the UN Security Council, then “the strike would be delivered also on the UN, and on the Security Council” (Russian agencies, September 30).
Ivanov made his remarks as NATO officials, meeting in Brussels to discuss the worsening crisis in the Balkans, warned Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic that he had until next week to stop the bloody crackdown in Kosovo. UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is scheduled on October 7 or 8 to deliver a report on Belgrade’s compliance with Security Council Resolution 1199. The resolution was adopted on September 23 and demands both an immediate ceasefire and the start of peace talks in Yugoslavia. NATO officials suggested that a damning report by Annan could lead to NATO strikes at Yugoslavia. NATO officials reportedly met with Russian representatives to the alliance yesterday in order to discuss the situation in Kosovo (Reuters, September 30).
In a related development, Britain said yesterday that it would convene an emergency session of the UN Security Council today in order to condemn the latest atrocities (Reuters, September 30). Although Russia voted in favor of the September 23 Security Council resolution, Moscow has in general opposed measures by the international community aimed at censuring or sanctioning Belgrade.
WARNS NATO AGAINST EXPANDING INTO FORMER USSR.