Russia Today
YU FM stops by in Moscow on way to Cuba

MOSCOW, Aug 28, 2000 -- (BBC) It is necessary to create the appropriate conditions for the elections in Yugoslavia to be held in a democratic and just atmosphere, including inviting international observers, and in order to promote the development of the country's federal fundamentals, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told Yugoslav colleague Zivadin Jovanovic on Saturday [26th August].

Jovanovic made a brief stop in Moscow on his way to Cuba for an official visit, says a Russian foreign ministry report obtained by Interfax today.

"The issue of the Yugoslav elections scheduled for 24th September concerns the people of Yugoslavia," the report cites the minister as saying. "Now that basic safety is lacking, hundreds of thousands of Kosovo citizens cannot return home and those remaining on the territory cannot travel freely throughout it, the decision to hold local elections taken by chief of the UN mission Bernard Kouchner without consulting with the UN Security Council is counterproductive," Ivanov said.

Moscow thinks that the elections "will only reinforce the positions of former members of the KLA, which actually has control over the local situation."

Ivanov said it is necessary to begin negotiations on the future status of Kosovo in Yugoslavia and the return of Yugoslav army servicemen and policemen to Kosovo under Resolution 1244 of the UN Security Council.

"The soonest possible end to the international isolation of Yugoslavia and the annulment of EU and US sanctions would aid the general improvement of the situation in the Balkans," the ministers remarked.

Source: Interfax news agency, Moscow, in English 0815 GMT 28 Aug 00.

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