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[KDN] Reuters Russia says concerned about Belgrade clashes

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  • Snezana Lazovic
    Russia says concerned about Belgrade clashes 08:11 a.m. Sep 30, 1999 Eastern MOSCOW, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Russia s Foreign Ministry expressed concern on
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 1, 1999
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      Russia says concerned about Belgrade clashes
      08:11 a.m. Sep 30, 1999 Eastern

      MOSCOW, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Russia's Foreign Ministry
      expressed concern on Thursday about overnight
      clashes between police and demonstrators in the Yugoslav
      capital Belgrade.

      But Russia, which has traditionally good ties with
      fellow Slav, Orthodox Christian Serbia, also stressed that
      relations between different political forces in Yugoslavia
      were strictly ``an internal matter.''

      ``We express regret and concern over the clashes,''
      Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir Rakhmanin told a
      news briefing.

      ``Political differences between the authorities and the
      opposition in the Yugoslav Federation can and must be
      resolved within the framework of the constitution, through a
      constructive dialogue,'' he said.

      ``But naturally we regard the relations between the political
      forces as an internal matter for Yugoslavia,'' he added.

      On Wednesday evening riot police backed by armour and
      water cannon forcibly dispersed up to 30,000 people
      who had gathered to demand the resignation of President
      Slobodan Milosevic. Several demonstrators were reported
      injured.

      The Serb opposition has vowed to continue their campaign of
      protests until Milosevic agrees to stand down.

      Russia strongly opposed NATO's bombing campaign
      against Yugoslavia during the Kosovo crisis earlier this year
      and used its good contacts with Milosevic to help broker a
      peace deal.

      Russian troops have joined an international peacekeeping
      force in Kosovo but Moscow has also criticised the Western
      powers for not doing more to protect minority Serbs in the
      province, where they face a backlash from ethnic Albanians.

      On Thursday Rakhmanin reiterated Moscow's concern
      about the plight of Kosovo's Serbs and urged a full
      investigation into a grenade attack on a Serb market on
      Tuesday which killed two people and injured more than
      40.

      ``We appeal to all inhabitants of Kosovo to show good sense
      and restraint and not to allow new bloodshed in the
      province,'' the ministry said in a statement.
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