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World - Europe

G-8, Russia draft Kosovo proposal in Moscow talks

Igor Ivanov

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May 20, 1999
Web posted at: 3:58 p.m. EDT (1958 GMT)

In this story:

U.S., European diplomats gather in Moscow

NATO says cease-fire call premature


MOSCOW (CNN) -- Russia and the West have drafted a U.N. Security Council resolution aimed at settling the ongoing Yugoslav conflict, but the draft avoided several controversial issues, Russia's top diplomat said Thursday.

Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov made the statement after meeting with Eduard Kukan, one of U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan's special envoys on Yugoslavia. The resolution is being drawn up under the terms set by the Group of Eight nations, made up of Russia and the seven major industrial powers.

Former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt, another of Annan's emissaries, said details of an international force to back up a peace agreement remained the sticking points in the talks. But he said he expected a deal would shortly follow the resolution of that issue.

"If we can sort them out, I'm quite certain that the others will seem rather minor," Bildt said.

The G-8 plan calls for the withdrawal of Yugoslav "military, police and paramilitary forces" from Kosovo. NATO seeks a total withdrawal of the 40,000-strong Serb forces, including regular troops.

It also calls for the deployment of "international civil and security presences," while NATO demands a well- armed international force with NATO at its core -- something Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has rejected in the past.

Sticking points in the talks remain coordinating the timing of a bombing pause and Yugoslav troop withdrawals. Russia continues to demand the pause in bombing take place before working out details of a troop withdrawal. NATO wants troops out before the bombing stops.

U.S., European diplomats gather in Moscow

Bildt’s comments came as Russia's Balkan envoy, Viktor Chernomyrdin, was set to confer in Moscow with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott and Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, the European Union's representative on Yugoslavia. Bildt was scheduled to join the talks Friday.

Chernomyrdin was to brief the Western diplomats on his seven- hour session with Milosevic on Wednesday. Chernomyrdin is expected to return to Belgrade early next week with more talks.

A senior Russian Foreign Ministry official tells CNN he is "not that optimistic" about what was accomplished by Chernomyrdin in Belgrade, but said "small steps, small movements" were made.

Chernomyrdin and Milosevic reportedly agreed that any peace deal should be based on the principles of the G-8 plan, but that details must be negotiated directly with the United Nations. Milosevic's office said "the solution could be found only politically and within the United Nations, and with the active and direct participation of Yugoslavia, starting from the principles of G-8."

NATO says cease-fire call premature

NATO, meanwhile, said the time had not yet come for a bombing halt, which Italy's premier suggested Thursday.

"Clearly what we suggest is not a unilateral cease-fire," Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema said Thursday. "But the possibility that faced with a concrete political perspective, weapons may cease to be used, there might be a pause in the military action to verify whether the conditions are there for a solution."

If Yugoslavia rejects a proposed settlement, NATO would continue its attacks, D'Alema said.

NATO spokesman Jamie Shea said D'Alema's suggestion was along the same lines as NATO has proposed, but that the time for a cease-fire has not yet arrived.

"It would be very pleasant to be there, but we're not there yet," Shea said. Milosevic must still accept NATO's conditions for an end to the bombing first, he said.

And as NATO continued its attempt to isolate Yugoslavia diplomatically, the alliance announced it would help Macedonia and Albania to obtain eventual membership in the alliance -- including and offer of direct military aid to Albania.

"We will be drawing up specific assistance programs for both countries to help them to meet the criteria for NATO membership," Shea said.

Both countries have pending applications to join the alliance, and have asked that their applications be sped up during the current crisis. Albania particularly is concerned by the large concentration of Yugoslav forces on its eastern border, where incidents of cross-border shelling and incursions by Serb troops have occurred frequently since the NATO air war began in March.

At their summit in Washington in April, NATO countries offered to extend protection to the countries on the front line of the Kosovo conflict, including Albania and Macedonia.

Moscow Bureau Chief Jill Dougherty and Reuters contributed to this report.

Serb officials say Yugoslavia 'ready to cut a deal'
May 18, 1999
NATO says 'human shields' account for bombing deaths
May 17, 1999
U.N. delegation heading to Yugoslavia
May 15, 1999
'Free-lance' diplomacy by House group comes under fire
April 13, 1999
Milosevic opens door to new peace talks on Kosovo
April 22, 1999

Extensive list of Kosovo-related sites:
  • Kosovo

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

  • Kosova Crisis Center
  • Kosovo - from

  • F-117s arrive at Aviano to support possible NATO operations
  • 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

  • Doctors Without Borders
  • U.S. Agency for International Development (Kosovo aid)
  • Doctors of the World
  • The IOM Migration Web
  • InterAction
  • International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
  • International Committee of the Red Cross
  • Kosovo Humanitarian Disaster Forces Hundreds of Thousands from their Homes
  • Catholic Relief Services
  • Kosovo Relief
  • ReliefWeb: Home page
  • The Jewish Agency for Israel
  • Mercy International

  • Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
  • Independent Yugoslav radio stations B92
  • Institute for War and Peace Reporting
  • United States Information Agency - Kosovo Crisis

  • Expanded list of related sites on Kosovo
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation Tribune
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs of P.R.China
  • 1997 view of Kosovo from space - Eurimage
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