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Friday, March 26, 1999 Published at 18:52 GMT

World: Europe

Russia's UN bid fails

Protesters in Moscow targeted the US embassy

Russia's attempt to enlist United Nations support for its campaign to end Nato's air attacks on Yugoslavia has failed.

The resolution collected only three votes in the 15 member Security Council, far short of the nine needed to pass.

Kosovo: Special Report
The resolution demanded "an immediate cessation of the use of force against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and urgent resumption of negotiations."

Bridget Kendall reports on the continuing diplomatic fallout
There was little surprise about the outcome. Even if Russia had succeeded in winning the nine votes needed for approval, it could have been vetoed by any of the three permanent members of the council taking part in the strkes - the US, UK and France.

China and Namibia voted with Russia.

Moscow cuts contacts with Nato

[ image: President Yeltsin: Meeting ministers]
President Yeltsin: Meeting ministers
In another sign of Russian anger at the air strikes, the government on Friday asked the Nato representative in Mocow to leave the country.

Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov told journalists at the Kremlin: "We no longer have, and shall have no more contacts with the Nato leadership, including its secretary general, until the aggression against Yugoslavia stops."

The move was announced after a meeting between Russian President Boris Yeltsin and senior ministers.

Earlier in the week, Russia's ambassador at Nato headquarters was withdrawn.

The BBC's UN correspondent, Rob Watson, says that there is some unease that Nato did not secure UN authorisation. He says there are also concerns as to what military action can really achieve.

President Yeltsin's call for a return to the search for a peaceful settlement has received support from Nato members Greece and Italy.

Signs of discontent in alliance

[ image: Massimo D'Alema: Time for diplomacy approaching]
Massimo D'Alema: Time for diplomacy approaching
On Friday Greece called for the Western alliance to stop bombing Yugoslavia and return to the negotiating table.

"It is time to go back to political dialogue to seek a political solution to the problem and to stop the bombing," said a spokesman for the Greek government, Yannis Nikolaou.

He said Greece had informed both the leadership in Belgrade and members of the international community of its position.

On Thursday, the Italian Prime Minister, Massimo D'Alema told reporters at a European Union summit meeting: "The scenario is opening up for initiatives to return to the political track."

But in parliament on Friday, Mr D'Alema acknowledged qualified support for Nato's air strikes.

He said Italy was counting on "brief military action and strictly concentrated objectives" in Serbia.

The Italian cabinet has announced a state of emergency in the southern region of Puglia to deal with the possible influx of refugees from Kosovo.

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