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Russia: Albright And Foreign Minister Sign Kosovo Declaration

Moscow, 26 January 1999 (RFE/RL) - U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright today wrapped up a second round of talks with Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov in Moscow. At a joint press conference after the talks, Albright said she and Ivanov had found plenty of common ground on a range of subjects and that differences on foreign policy issues were "entirely normal." The two sides also signed a joint declaration on the Serbian province of Kosovo, calling on Belgrade to abide by all UN security resolutions, including provisions permitting international verifiers to be stationed in Serbia.

Albright also said that the United States did not propose any immediate changes to the 1972 Anti-Ballistic missile (ABM) treaty, but was proposing plans for research and development of systems which it deemed necessary for its self-defense.

Ivanov noted that any changes in the ABM treaty did not suit Russian security concerns and also expressed Moscow's displeasure over the eastward expansion of NATO.

On the START Two nuclear arms reduction treaty, Albright said she hoped the treaty would be ratified by the Russian parliament in time for her next visit to Russia.

During the second day of her three-day visit, Albright also met with Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Anatolii Kvashnin, Krasnoyarsk Krai Governor Aleksandr Lebed, and Yabloko party leader Grigorii Yavlinskii. According to RFE/RL's Moscow bureau, Yavlinskii said Albright backed his proposal for a pan-European anti-ballistic missile system. Lebed, on the other hand, told reporters that he discussed only Russia's "extremely difficult" economic and political situation and that "foreign policy issues are not in my area of competence."

Albright also talked with Russian President Boris Yeltsin on the telephone for 30 minutes about "key parameters of Russian-U.S. relations," Interfax reported. In a speech at the All-Russia State Library for Foreign Literature, Albright pledged $10 million to assist the development of Russia's independent media.

Meanwhile, Russian Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov proposed that Russian lawmakers sign a political truce with the government and Yeltsin in a bid to provide stability and order to the country in the run-up to parliamentary and presidential elections.

In a letter to Russia's lower house of parliament -- the duma -- Primakov suggested deputies drop proposed impeachment proceedings against Yeltsin in return for a promise that the president will not use his powers to dissolve the duma this year.

Primakov said that Yeltsin had asked him to propose a system of measures that would guarantee stability in the country. He said that lack of cooperation among the three branches of power were "counterproductive" in an election year. Parliamentary elections are due this December.

Yeltsin's press service reacted today by saying that the president supports greater cooperation among the branches of power but opposes any restrictions to their constitutional rights.