Primakov in Belgrade, meets with Milosevic
March 30, 1999
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (CNN) -- Russian Prime Minister is in Yugoslavia on Tuesday on a diplomatic mission to help bring peace to the Balkans and end the worsening Kosovo crisis.
Ordered to Yugoslavia by Russian President Boris Yeltsin to pursue the end of the NATO air campaign, Primakov and two other high-level officials met with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in an attempt to restart negotiations over the fate of the embattled Serbian province.
"I gave all the necessary directions to Yevgeny Primakov," Yeltsin said, in his State of the Nation address to the Russian parliament. "I believe that his trip there will be able to solve much of this conflict. We are trying to prevent another split of the world. But our primary duty is to prevent discord inside the country."
Yeltsin, who said Russia is "not going to be involved in the armed conflict," stressed that "the crisis in the Balkans demands not emotional evaluations, but well-balanced and decsivie actions."
"I'm doing everything possible to put an end to military actions," Yeltsin said.
After his visit to Belgrade, Primakov is expected to travel to Germany to confer with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder.
The U.S. State Department on Monday welcomed the Russian diplomatic effort to resolve the crisis, but said the only way to stop NATO airstrikes against Yugoslavia would be for Milosevic to accept a U.S.-brokered peace plan.
U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright spoke with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov Monday and outlined NATO's demands that Milosevic pull his troops out of Kosovo before "a change in the diplomatic situation" can be reached, officials said.
The commitment from Milosevic would have to be "more than a momentary glimmer of hope," one official said.
During phone conversations, sources said, Albright told Ivanov -- who is one of the delegates in Primakov's Belgrade delegation -- once the Yugoslav offensive ends and troops are withdrawn from Kosovo, the political process could go forward.
One senior U.S. official said it "doesn't necessarily have to be Rambouillet."
According to the Rambouillet deal signed earlier this month by the Kosovar Albanians, Kosovo would be entitled to autonomy for a three-year interim period and NATO would send a 28,000-member peacekeeping force into Kosovo.
"Nobody's gonna say we'll pass on the opportunity to get them to stop until they say the word Rambouillet," one official said.
"If Yugoslav forces were to have a realistic pull-back," said another senior administration official, "that would build up momentum within NATO to take a little break."
"We've said the issue above all others is that there be an end to the offensive," a senior administration official said. He added the administration would be "more open for discussion (on the political peace agreement) than on the on-going offensive itself."
President Clinton, after being briefed by his international policy advisers, called two European leaders Monday afternoon to discuss the situation in Kosovo and planned to talk with others in the evening, an administration official said.
After Clinton's afternoon calls to British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Schroeder, the official said the three were in "complete unity" that Milosevic has only two paths: either "a path of peace or a path of more conflict."
Russia sends Primakov, others to Yugoslavia
Extensive list of Kosovo related sites
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.