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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ivanov to Visit Yugoslavia and Macedonia

Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said Monday he would visit Yugoslavia and neighboring Macedonia Mar. 18-20 for talks on defusing tensions in the region.

At President Vladimir Putin's request, Ivanov will visit Yugoslavia's capital Belgrade, the troubled province of Kosovo, and Macedonia, Russian news reports said.

The Foreign Ministry confirmed that Ivanov was planning a visit this month but gave no dates.

"I am going to discuss the situation in the region, questions of our bilateral relations and the current situation at the Kosovo stretch of the Yugoslav-Macedonian border," Itar-Tass quoted Ivanov as saying.

Russia has lashed out at ethnic Albanian rebels from Kosovo for recent violence on the border with Macedonia, a former Yugoslav state that had previously avoided the bloodshed of its neighbors.

Russia, which has historic and religious ties with the Serbs who dominate Yugoslavia, strongly opposed NATO's airstrikes on Yugoslavia in 1999 over violence in Kosovo. Moscow has joined Yugoslavia and Macedonia in blaming the renewed insurgency by ethnic Albanians on NATO's failure to disarm militant groups in Kosovo.