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18 May, 1999
Foreign Minister George Papandreou said yesterday that efforts to achieve a diplomatic solution to the Kosovo crisis through the adoption of a UN Security Council resolution were at the most difficult and sensitive point.
"We are at the most difficult and sensitive moment of the procedure that could lead to a diplomatic solution through the adoption of a Security Council resolution," he stated after two-and-a-half-hour talks with French counterpart Hubert Vedrine.
"Conditions are that the deployment of a multinational force is accepted, that all refugees return to their homes and that the provisional administration in Kosovo prepares the integration of the area in the European family," he added.
The two men discussed the crisis in the region and the Stability Pact promoted by Germany, which was adopted by the 15 EU foreign ministers in Brussels yesterday.
Mr. Vedrine stated the need for the preparation and adoption as soon as possible of a UN draft resolution that will open the way for an end to the crisis.
"France and Greece will be cooperating closely, undertaking specific bilateral initiatives in the Balkans," he added.
Asked if he agreed with the Greek proposal for a temporary cease-fire, Mr. Vedrine replied that the adoption of a UN resolution had priority over any other action.
"The cease-fire, too, is linked with the adoption of a resolution that will be possible to implement in Kosovo as soon as possible," he added.
Papandreou says Greek-Italian view on Kosovo 'gaining ground': BRUSSELS (ANA- M. Spinthourakis/ Y. Zitouniati)
Foreign Minister George Papandreou said yesterday that the view in favor of as speedy as possible a settlement of the Kosovo crisis through diplomatic means and the active participation of the UN Security Council, supported mainly by Greece and Italy, were gaining ground.
Italy and Greece are promoting a peace initiative complementary to that of the proposals of the G-8.
Mr. Papandreou, who represented Greece at the EU foreign ministers' council along with Alternate Foreign Minister Yiannos Kranidiotis, discussed with German counterpart Joschka Fischer the Greek proposal for a 48-hour cease-fire and consent in a Security Council draft resolution. He described as particularly positive the Italian proposal for an end to the NATO bombings if the Security Council adopted a binding resolution for Yugoslav President Milosevic, and stressed that Greece was promoting similar ideas at the diplomatic level, had already drawn up a draft resolution for the Security Council, and had submitted one jointly with the Czech Republic to NATO.
During yesterday's session, the 15 had the opportunity to meet with moderate Kosovar Albanian leader Ibrahim Rugova and Montenegrin president Milo Dzuganovic and to exchange views.
According to sources, both leaders expressed the view that the Rambouillet accord could be the basis for a settlement of the problem, while Mr. Rugova said the preferable solution for the Kosovars would be independence.
Mr. Papandreou said he invited Mr. Rugova to visit Greece and the invitation was favorably accepted. The foreign minister also met with Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov, in Brussels to attend the Russia-EU cooperation council.
Shortly before this meeting, Mr. Papandreou stressed the special role which Russia will play in the efforts to find a peaceful solution and expressed the hope that from the meetings both men will have in Helsinki today with Finnish President Marti Ahtisaari, US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbot, positive results will emerge to provide the basis for a UN resolution. Russian envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin will also be attending.
Mr. Papandreou is going to Moscow on Friday, May 21, Beijing on Monday, May 24, and finally Washington, May 26-28.
Meanwhile, Press Minister Dimitris Reppas said in Athens the government believed its proposal for a 48-hour temporary cease-fire in Yugoslavia was feasible.
Mr. Papandreou announced over the weekend that he would propose a temporary 48-hour truce to give diplomacy time to work towards a final settlement of the Yugoslav conflict.
Saying he would make the same recommendations to Washington and Moscow, Papandreou said Belgrade would have to give a clear response during the truce, which would also give the UN Security Council time to issue a resolution on the problem and for work to begin on the agreement drafted by the G-8 two weeks ago.
Source: Athens News Agency