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World - Europe

Security Council rejects Russian call to halt bombing

U.N. vote and Annan
Top, the U.N. Security Council rejects Russia's resolution to end the NATO airstrikes; bottom left, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan  

March 26, 1999
Web posted at: 1:16 p.m. EST (1816 GMT)

UNITED NATIONS (CNN) -- In a diplomatic blow to Russia, a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for an immediate end to NATO attacks on Yugoslavia failed by a wide margin Friday.

The vote was 12-3, with only China and Namibia joining Russia in support of the measure. Russia sought an end to NATO's three-day-old bombing campaign in Yugoslavia and an immediate resumption of negotiations.

"One's worst fears are being fulfilled now. The virus of lawlessness is encompassing more spheres of international relations," said Sergey Lavrov, Russia's ambassador to the United Nations.

But the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Peter Burleigh, said the resolution should have been defeated because it would "damage prospects for a negotiated settlement and make further bloodshed more likely."

Burleigh said the resolution "can only encourage (Yugoslav) President Slobodan Milosevic to continue or even to intensify military repression of the civilian population of Kosovo."

The NATO campaign seeks to force the Balkan nation to accept a negotiated settlement of the ethnic strife in Kosovo, and to limit the Serb government's ability to attack ethnic Albanians in the province where rebels have sought independence.

Burleigh said the United States had received "disturbing reports that Serb forces are using human shields, that noncombatants are being rounded up in large groups, and that some are being summarily executed."

He called NATO's actions "completely justified" and legal under the U.N. charter.

Russia has strong historic ties to Serbia, the dominant republic in the Yugoslav Federation, and Russians have objected strongly to the airstrikes. Russia ordered NATO representatives out of Moscow on Friday in protest.



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U.S.: Milosevic won't budge
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RELATED SITES:
TIME Daily: A Kosovo Primer
Kosovo - Information Agency
Kosova Crisis Center
NATO Official Homepage
Kosova Liberation Peace Movement
The Institute for War & Peace Reporting (IWPR)
www.kosovo.com
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