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Crisis in Yugoslavia

Yeltsin to Get Peace Plan for Yugoslavia From Envoy

April 18, 1999| From Reuters

MOSCOW — Former Prime Minister Viktor S. Chernomyrdin, Russia's special envoy on the Yugoslav crisis, will present President Boris N. Yeltsin on Monday with proposals to resolve the conflict, Russian news agencies said Saturday.

Chernomyrdin said that resolving the conflict would be a difficult process but that he was ready this week to start foreign trips to try to achieve a diplomatic breakthrough.

Chernomyrdin, who says Russia should keep a cool head with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization despite anger over fellow Slavs and Orthodox Christians in Yugoslavia being bombed by the alliance, was appointed Wednesday. He has held meetings with Western diplomats and local experts on the crisis.

Interfax news agency quoted Chernomyrdin as saying that Yeltsin had called a meeting on the Balkan crisis for Monday and that the former prime minister would present concrete proposals then.

The meeting would also be attended by Prime Minister Yevgeny M. Primakov and Foreign Minister Igor S. Ivanov.

Chernomyrdin was also quoted as saying that his first foreign trips to discuss the crisis would begin this week. He has also said he is ready to travel to Belgrade.

"It is a difficult process. Everyone is saying that the question has to be resolved in a peaceful way and admit that mistakes have been made," Chernomyrdin was quoted as saying of his meetings with ambassadors from NATO countries.

"It is easy to begin, but stopping a barbaric process which destroys people is not so simple," Itar-Tass news agency quoted him as saying.

He added that Russia was seen as the force that could help bring about peace in the region.

He also said he met with Ivanov on Saturday. Chernomyrdin's press service earlier said the former premier had held consultations with local experts as he geared up for possible visits to European capitals this week.

German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, whose country has unveiled a plan to end the Yugoslav conflict, has said he is ready to meet with Chernomyrdin soon to seek ways to end the crisis.

Russia has strongly opposed NATO's strikes against Yugoslavia but has vowed not to get dragged into a full-scale war in the Balkans.

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