UK delays troops decision

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(First Edition)

THE CABINET'S Overseas Policy and Defence Committee discussed ways of defending Britons with the UN aid protection force for more than an hour at No 10 last night. But it was decided to defer action until tomorrow's full Cabinet at the earliest, writes Anthony Bevins.

Malcolm Rifkind, Secretary of State for Defence, who will make the report to the Cabinet, told the Commons yesterday that consideration of enhanced protection plans was urgent. The deferment signalled a willingness to await the response of the Bosnian-Serb 'parliament' to Radovan Karadzic's Geneva climb-down.

At Question Time, the Prime Minister told Paddy Ashdown, the Liberal Democrat leader: 'The international community will wish to apply further pressure if the Bosnian Serbs continue to reject this settlement.'

The Prime Minister's office said last night that sending defensive reinforcements would signal an expectation that imposition of the no-fly zone would be likely to lead to retaliatory attacks.