RUSSIAN MINISTER CALLS FOR IMPROVED TIES WITH WASHINGTON.
Publication: Monitor Volume: 5 Issue: 112
Despite the many tensions between Russia and the United States over developments in the Balkans, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov suggested in Cologne yesterday that Moscow hopes to rebuild friendly relations with Washington. Ivanov’s remarks followed a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Ivanov told reporters that NATO’s bombing campaign against Yugoslavia had hurt bilateral relations between the two countries, and warned that the “negative atmosphere” will linger. But, with the conflict now seemingly winding down, he called on the two countries to start the “process of restoring a normal partnership-like relationship.” Russian-U.S. relations, he said, had not suffered any permanent damage from the events in Yugoslavia (AP, UPI, Russian agencies, June 9).
Ivanov’s remarks would seem to continue Moscow’s recent Jekyll-Hyde behavior toward Washington. Russian leaders remain embittered over developments in the Balkans, and belligerent, anti-American rhetoric will undoubtedly persist in the Russian capital. The Russian government can also probably be counted on to energetically exploit ambiguities in the Kosovo agreement in order to mitigate the effects of its diplomatic setback over Kosovo.
At the same time, Moscow seems concerned over the wide rift which the Kosovo conflict has opened between Russia and the West. The diplomatic concessions which Russia made during the negotiations over Kosovo in recent days probably reflect a desire to improve Russia’s ties with the West. The Kremlin in particular probably also seeks to ease tensions with the West in the run-up to next week’s summit of the G-7 countries and Russia in Cologne. Some observers have speculated that President Boris Yeltsin wants not only to improve the chances for Russia to win promises of financial assistance during the summit, but also to arrive in Germany wearing the mantle of Kosovo peacemaker.
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