UNITED NATIONS, March 31 -- Citing violence in Kosovo, the U.N. Security Council has approved an arms embargo on Yugoslavia, which now consists of Serbia and Montenegro. The lone dissenting voice in the 15-member council today was China.
Beijing disagreed with the majority that found the matter a threat to international peace and security in Southeast Europe. China abstained from the vote rather than exercise its veto. Chinese Ambassador Shen Guofang said, 'It should be resolved properly through negotiations between both parties concerned.' Some 80 people have been killed in Kosovo this year following a crackdown by Belgrade on what it called 'terrorists.' The province is 90 percent ethnic Albanian. Bill Richardson, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations said the resolution 'sends an unambiguous message that the international community will not tolerate violence and ethnic cleansing in the region. ' He said, 'We must avoid the mistakes of the past, when the international community waited too long before taking decisive action,' referring to Bosnia-Herzegovina. Richardson said the United States and its allies 'must not now watch years of peace-building in the Balkans destroyed by repressive violence, or by terrorist activity in Kosovo.' The weapons ban is designed to pressure Belgrade into making concessions to the Albanian majority in Kosovo. ---
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