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U.N. Members Veto Russian Plan

A Russian resolution demanding an immediate halt to NATO attacks on Yugoslavia and the resumption of diplomatic negotiations was overwhelmingly defeated Friday by the U.N. Security Council.

The resolution failed to win the minimum nine votes needed for adoption. Only Russia, China, and Namibia voted in its favor, while the rest of the 15-nation council crushed the proposal.

Russia has a special partnership arrangement with NATO, but has harshly denounced the bombing campaign against its ally Yugoslavia. Russia had said Wednesday it was withdrawing its military representative to NATO in Brussels, Belgium.

The resolution, co-sponsored by non-council members Belarus and India, called NATO's use of force without the Security Council's authorization a "flagrant violation of the U.N. Charter."

"What is in the balance now is law and lawlessness," argued Russian U.N. Ambassador Sergei Lavrov.

American U.N. envoy Peter Burleigh said the resolution's allegation that NATO was violating the U.N. Charter "turns the truth on its head."

"The Charter does not sanction armed assaults upon ethnic groups or imply that the international community should turn a blind eye to a growing humanitarian disaster," he said.

On Friday, pro-Serbian demonstrators threw eggs and ink at the U.S. embassy in Moscow, in protest against the NATO strikes.

Many diplomats speculated that Russia pressed the poorly supported resolution to a vote to demonstrate solidarity with Serbia, a fellow Slav nation and traditional ally.

At the same time, Russia has to be careful not to cause serious damage to its relations with the West when it is seeking billions of dollars in new loans from the International Monetary Fund to help prop up its battered economy.

Meanwhile, Russia told NATO's two top representatives in Moscow Friday to leave the country as part of a freeze on all relations with the alliance because of the airstrikes in Yugoslavia.

Meanwhile, a domestically besieged President Boris Yeltsin and his ministers searched Friday for ways to restart negotiations to end the Kosovo crisis.

Yeltsin and his ministers discussed steps to "put the conflict on the path of peaceful settlement and end the crime being committed against Yugoslavia," Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov said.

At the same time, Russian Communists, who dominate the parliament's lower house, rejected Primakov's appeal Friday to postpone impeachment proceedings against Yeltsin.

Primakov asked the State Duma to hold off an impeachment vote scheduled for April 15, saying the process would further weaken Russia during the NATO strikes.

On Thursday, Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema offered a glimmer of support for Russia, saying that talks with Yugoslavia should resume soon. However, on Friday, D'Alema reiterated his suggestion for negotiations, but also said that Italy will stand firm with the allied forces.

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