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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kozyrev, U. S. Envoy Hold 'Positive' Talks on Bosnia

Reginald Bartholomew, the new U. S. special envoy on Bosnia, said his meeting with Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev on supporting peace-making efforts in the former Yugoslavia had been "positive" and that Washington and Moscow would work together to solve the conflict.


But Bartholomew and Kozyrev, who each made a brief statement after their 90-minute discussion on Saturday, declined to answer questions and gave no concrete sign they had reached agreement.


Bartholomew's appointment was part of a Washington decision to join Bosnian peace efforts and to support the peace proposals of international mediators Cyrus Vance and Lord David Owen.


"Our talks here were - as my contacts have always been with my Russian Friends - open and very, very positive", Bartholomew said after meeting Kozyrev, The Associated Press reported. "I think we have a basic commonality of view of the importance of this crisis".


Kozyrev also struck an equally optimistic - and non-committal - note after the meeting on Saturday.


"Our very best hopes, linked to the fact that the special envoy of President Clinton has joined the work on successfully ending the work of Vance and Owen to find a balanced and just settlement in Bosnia, have come true", he said.


Bartholomew, appointed by President Bill Clinton on Wednesday, came to Moscow saying he would seek Russia's help in trying to bring peace to the former Yugoslavia.


Russia's backing for Western peace efforts and United Nations sanctions is vital because of its veto power in the U. N. Security Council and its key role in enforcing trade and arms embargoes in the Balkans.


But the largely conservative Russian parliament has pressed for a softening of U. N. sanctions against Serbia, a traditional Slavic ally. Another signal of Moscow's drift away from the pro-Western policies that characterized its foreign policy of most of last year was the appearance in parliament of a new blueprint of Russia's foreign policy priorities, which names currying favor with the West as one of the main policy weaknesses of the recent past.


"We have been suffering from over-excitement with the abstract ideas of non-conflicting globalism", says the document, which was printed by the Foreign Ministry, Reuters reported. "The time has come to take care of our national interests by using economic, diplomatic, military and other means".


Bartholomew said he would be returning to Moscow for more talks on ways to end the crisis. His appointment was part of a new plan by Washington to become more involved in the Bosnian conflict that involves tightening sanctions against Serbia and the enforcement, probably with NATO air power, of a no-fly zone over Bosnia.


Bartholomew also met the head of the Russian parliament's foreign affairs committee, Yevgeny Ambartsumov.


Ambartsumov told reporters before the meeting that he wanted to show the U. S. envoy that parliament was interested in a peaceful settlement in Bosnia.


"It's not true that the parliament is a reactionary unit and is not interested in the peaceful settlement of the armed conflict", he was quoted as saying by The Associated Press.