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World - Europe

U.S., Russia can't bridge Kosovo gap

albright
Albright says her meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov was "an honest discussion"  

April 13, 1999
Web posted at: 10:47 a.m. EDT (1447 GMT)


In this story:

Russia: Airstrikes must stop

Belgrade must approve peacekeepers

RELATED STORIES, SITES icon



OSLO, Norway (CNN) -- The United States and Russia, trying to resolve their differences in the Yugoslav crisis, announced general agreement on basic principles Tuesday, but remained at odds on key issues, including an international peacekeeping force for Kosovo and an end to NATO's bombing campaign, now three weeks old.

U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said her three-hour meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov was "an honest discussion."

Tuesday's talks came one day after a NATO meeting in Brussels in which the 19-nation alliance considered having Russian and other European troops join in enforcing a settlement in the province if Yugoslavia accepts peace terms.

Russia: Airstrikes must stop

Ivanov said Yugoslavia must approve any international peacekeeping force sent to Kosovo and he insisted airstrikes must stop before there could be a political settlement.

"The sooner NATO ceases airstrikes, the easier it will be to find a settlement," Ivanov said at a joint news conference with Albright after their talks at an airport hotel in Oslo, Norway.

Albright said the two sides agreed, at least in principle, that there must be an end to repression, a pullout of Serb troops and police from Kosovo, a return of displaced refugees to their homes and access for humanitarian organizations.

NATO says it won't stop the bombings until those demands are met.

Moscow argues that NATO is acting illegally in Kosovo because the U.N. Security Council hasn't explicitly authorized action.

ivanov
Ivanov says NATO airstrikes must cease before a political settlement can be reached  

Belgrade must approve peacekeepers

Ivanov and Albright also did not agree on the demand of the United States and its allies that a NATO-led peacekeeping force be deployed in Kosovo after a settlement to protect the ethnic Albanian civilians who have been the target of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's forces.

Ivanov insisted the United Nations have a role in peacekeeping and said "any form of international presence requires the agreement of the government of Yugoslavia."

Milosevic has insisted all along that NATO troops could not be stationed on Serbian soil, and NATO's overture to Russia to be included in the force evidently was not enough to swing Moscow behind the idea.

However, Ivanov did not close the door completely. "What the force is, we should discuss in the future," he said.

Before the Albright-Ivanov meeting, her spokesman, James Rubin, said, "We believe Russia has a constructive role to play in helping to bring about and implement a settlement."

"Russia has found itself out of the mainstream," Rubin said against a backdrop of U.S. assertions that virtually all of Europe supports the NATO bombardment of Yugoslavia.

Russia, which has long backed the Serbs who are fellow Slavs and Orthodox Christians, is angered by NATO's bombing and has sent a reconnaissance ship to the Adriatic Sea.

But Moscow has been unwilling to sever ties with the West and risk jeopardizing vital financial support.

Correspondent Richard Roth contributed to this report.


RELATED STORIES:
NATO triples airstrikes against Yugoslavia
April 13, 1999
NATO hits new targets as U.S. increases fire power
April 13, 1999
Yugoslav train hit during NATO strike; 10 dead
April 12, 1999
Refugees seek peace, security outside Balkans
April 12, 1999
On Orthodox Easter, religious leaders pray for peace, goodwill
April 11, 1999
Yeltsin warns of posslible world war over Kosovo
April 10, 1999
Refugee situation improves; U.S. says some used as shields
April 10, 1999

RELATED SITES:
Extensive list of Kosovo-related sites
  • Kosovo

Yugoslavia:
  • Federal Republic of Yugoslavia official site
      • Kesovo and Metohija facts
  • Serbia Ministry of Information
  • Serbia Now! News


Kosovo:
  • Kosova Crisis Center
  • Kosovo - from Albanian.com

Military:
  • NATO official site
  • BosniaLINK - U.S. Dept. of Defense
  • U.S. Navy images from Operation Allied Force
  • U.K. Ministry of Defence - Kosovo news
  • U.K. Royal Air Force - Kosovo news
  • Jane's Defence - Kosovo Crisis

Relief:
  • Mercy International USA
  • Donations for Kosovo Refugees
  • International Rescue Committee
  • Mercy International USA
  • Unicef USA
  • Doctors Without Borders
  • World Vision
  • CARE: The Kosovo Crisis
  • InterAction
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Disaster Relief from DisasterRelief.org
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Kosovo Relief
  • ReliefWeb: Home page


Media:
  • Independent Yugoslav radio stations B92
  • Institute for War and Peace Reporting
  • United States Information Agency - Kosovo Crisis

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