Russian diplomatic visit to Britain canceled
May 8, 1999
MOSCOW (CNN) -- Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov canceled a planned three-day visit to Britain on Saturday, Itar-Tass news agency reported.
Ivanov had planned to meet Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, but Russian President Boris Yeltsin ordered Ivanov not to go, the news agency reported.
Although no reference was made to the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, the ministry referred to a worsening situation in the Balkans.
However, despite the bombing of the Chinese embassy, special Balkan envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin left on Saturday to resume his shuttle diplomacy. He was due to fly to Bonn and then possibly to Belgrade.
"According to a decision by the president of the Russian Federation, linked with the sharply worsening situation in the Balkans, the visit of Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov to Britain has been postponed," Tass quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir Rakhmanin as saying.
Ivanov must remain in Moscow to analyze the latest events and help prepare proposals on Russia's policy and on the need to protect Russian diplomats in Belgrade, the agency said.
The Interfax news agency said Ivanov would chair a meeting in the ministry called on Yeltsin's orders, at which Russia's reaction to the bombing of the embassy would be worked out.
At an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council on Saturday, Sergey Lavrov, Russian ambassador to the United Nations, said Russia is "outraged over this barbaric action."
Lavrov said the embassy bombing "cannot go unpunished".
"How many people must be killed. How many countries must be destabilized to punish that one person?" asked Lavrov.
Lavrov said it was "essential" for NATO countries to shift to a political settlement, rather than military. Military action has plunged Europe into the past, he said, calling for an immediate halt to NATO strikes.
China calls U.N. Security Council meeting after Chinese embassy struck in Belgrade
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