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Yugoslavia: Yeltsin To Meet Milosevic On Kosova

Bonn, 9 June 1998 (RFE/RL) -- Russian President Boris Yeltsin today warned NATO to keep out of Serbia's war-torn Kosova province, saying that foreign intervention could spread the conflict to other countries. Yeltsin said he will meet Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic in a bid to resolve the crisis. But he did not say when or where the meeting would take place.

Yeltsin made the remarks after two days of talks in Bonn with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl. Kohl said military intervention in Kosova was not discussed. But he said Germany is concerned about events there and a possible flood of refugees.

Meanwhile, German Defense Minister Volker Ruehe is quoted as criticizing calls for military intervention to solve the crisis in Kosova.

In an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine daily, Ruehe said military intervention should only be a last resort.

Ruehe said that before military intervention can be used the Western powers must exhaust all possibilities to exert both political and economic pressure.

Ruehe said he intended to address the issue of military action at a meeting of NATO defense ministers due to start tomorrow evening in Brussels.

In Istanbul, foreign ministry officials from nine Balkan nations failed to agree on Kosova. The foreign ministers of Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, and Turkey expressed concerns. But Yugoslav Foreign Minister Zivadin Jovanovic opposed references to Kosova in a joint declaration, saying the crisis is a domestic matter for Belgrade. There is no mention of Kosova in the final declaration.