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Yugoslavia: Sergeyev Supports Belgrade's Peace Plan

Belgrade, 7 February 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev says Russia supports Yugoslavia's plan for peace with ethnic Albanian militants in southern Serbia. Sergeyev made the comment after talks today in Belgrade with Yugoslav Defense Minister Slobodan Krapovic. The Serbian and Yugoslav federal governments approved the plan to settle the low-level conflict in southern Serbia yesterday. The plan rules out autonomy for the troubled region on the administrative boundary with Kosovo.

Sergeyev, who is on a three-day tour of the Balkans, reiterated Moscow's view that Kosovo must remain a part of Yugoslavia.

Sergeyev and Krapovic signed a bilateral military cooperation plan for 2001. Krapovic said they agreed to intensify military cooperation, which Sergeyev said will help achieve peace and stability in the Balkans. No details were given.

The Tanjug news agency says Sergeyev is also scheduled to meet with Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica to discuss military cooperation.

Sergeyev was in Bosnia yesterday, where he praised Russian troops for helping to maintain peace. He said Russian peacekeepers have defused over half-a-million explosive devices in Bosnia during the last five years and helped rebuild bridges and railroads.