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OSCE Summit: No Mention Of Belarus, Yugoslavia In Final Statement

  • Roland Eggleston

Lisbon, 3 December 1996 (RFE/RL) -- The constitutional crisis in Belarus is not mentioned in the final declaration of the European summit because of a veto imposed by Belarus with the support of Russia and some other countries.

U.S. assistant secretary of state, John Kornblum, told correspondents: "There are 55 members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. A decision like this requires the consensus of all members. This was not achieved."

Kornblum said the United States and most Western countries were "deeply disappointed" at the lack of a statement on Belarus, but he pointed out that U.S. Vice President Al Gore did express American concerns in his address to the summit yesterday.

Diplomats said Russia was also responsible for the deletion from the final document of a reference to the requirements for democracy in Yugoslavia.

A version of the document circulated yesterday welcomed OSCE's continuing focus on Yugoslavia and then said: "democratization, independent media, free and fair elections are critical to fostering lasting stability in the area"

But the final version published today deletes this reference entirely and mentions only OSCE's continuing focus on Yugoslavia. Diplomats said the change was made at the insistence of Russia, which said it would refuse consensus if it remained. Diplomats said Russia acted at the request of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. Yugoslavia is not present at the summit because it was suspended from OSCE in 1992.

"Russia often speaks up for the Yugoslav position," a diplomat said today. "It did so again in this case."

Diplomats said that for the same reasons there is no mention in the document of the communal elections which were annulled in areas where the opposition was successful. Nor is there any mention of the demonstrations by thousands of people in the streets on Belgrade.