Russia sends Primakov, others to Yugoslavia
March 29, 1999
MOSCOW (CNN) -- In an effort to end the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia, Russian President Boris Yeltsin ordered Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov and two other high-level officials on a diplomatic mission to Belgrade on Monday.
"The purpose of this is to coordinate such tasks which would make it possible to break the situation, which makes special threat to the security and stability to Europe, and to direct the events ... towards a peaceful settlement," Ivanov told CNN.
Russia strongly opposes NATO airstrikes, which are aimed at forcing Milosevic to sign a peace agreement ending the offensive against ethnic Albanians in Serbia's Kosovo province.
"The use of force and, the more so, the violation of the international law standards, is dangerous and inadmissible," Yeltsin says in prepared remarks he is to deliver Tuesday in his state-of-the-nation address.
The Russian Information Agency Novosti provided excerpts of the speech.
Despite tough talk on the airstrikes, Russia has made few policy changes to express displeasure. The country has suspended contact with NATO, but says it hopes the disagreement does not do permanent damage to its relationship with the United States.
French leaders say Russia, a traditional Serb ally, holds the key to solving the Kosovo crisis. Italy also welcomed the Russian initiative.
U.S. officials reacted skeptically, but said they are not interested in any new negotiating forum. The only solution, the Americans say, is for Milosevic to sign the peace deal brokered earlier this month by the six-nation Contact Group on the Balkans.
But Milosevic objects -- as does Yeltsin -- to provisions in the agreement calling for NATO ground troops to enforce the compact.
In addition to Russia, the United States, Great Britain, Italy, France and Germany make up the Contact Group.
Anti-bombing protests have sprung up all over the world, as well as inside Yugoslavia. Even in Moscow, demonstrators have been gathering for days outside the embassy of the United States, which they believe is ultimately responsible for the conflict.
On Sunday, a failed grenade attack on the embassy disrupted the protest. A man was caught on tape jumping from a white car and aiming a grenade launcher at the embassy building.
When the weapon didn't fire, he shot at the building with an automatic rifle. Police are still looking for the suspects.
Primakov to try to halt NATO bombings
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