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Yugoslavia: Russia Says OSCE Must Be Allowed To Work In Kosovo

Moscow, 21 January (RFE/RL) - Russia has called on the Yugoslav government to create conditions in Kosovo that would enable an international verification mission there to function properly. Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir Rakhmanin told reporters in Moscow that Russia believes favorable conditions must be created. He did not say what the conditions would be.

Belgrade earlier demanded the expulsion of the head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) verification mission in Kosovo, William Walker, after Walker blamed Serbian forces for mass killings last Friday. International officials and governments have strongly criticized the expulsion order.

Russia today also reiterated its opposition to any NATO air strikes against Yugoslav targets because of Belgrade's failure to comply with international demands in Kosovo.

Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Avdeyev is expected to report to the six-nation Contact Group tomorrow in London. Avdeyev met with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic yesterday in Belgrade.