Moscow, 16 June 1998 (RFE/RL) -- Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic and Russian officials extended their Kremlin talks on the Serbian province of Kosova today, seen as a last chance to avert NATO military intervention over the crisis.
The Kremlin press service said today's follow-on talks continued beyond their scheduled time, when Primakov was due to brief reporters. Russian officials gave no details. But President Boris Yeltsin, who earlier held one hour of direct talks with Milosevic before leaving the venue, said he was optimistic that progress was possible, despite characterizing the talks as "difficult." Milosevic made no comment.
Meanwhile, Sergei Prikhodko, a foreign policy advisor to Yeltsin, says the talks are to conclude shortly with the adoption of a joint declaration of the Russian and Yugoslav presidents. He said Milosevic had agreed to take on a series of obligations concerning Kosova, but no specifics were given. He also reportedly pledged to sit down at the negotiating table with Kosova's ethnic Albanians.
Also today, U. S. Defense Secretary William Cohen said that diplomacy is likely to lead to a peaceful solution of the crisis in Kosova. But he said NATO troops will remain in the region ready for action.
Cohen made the comments following talks with Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski. He said he hoped there will be no "need for any further air demonstration or any further consideration of military options."
Cohen said that a decision on the use of force rests with NATO leaders.