UN chief meets wall of insults in Bosnia

In a stunning and humiliating rebuff to the international community, Radovan Karadzic, leader of the secessionist Bosnian Serbs, refused to meet the UN Secretary-General in Sarajevo yesterday.

Boutros Boutros-Ghali expressed ''disappointment and surprise'' at Mr Karadzic's refusal to discuss the UN's ''simple message'' - to negotiate in good faith and co-operate with the peace-keeping mission, or face a UN withdrawal.

Putting a brave face on what was a disastrous day for the UN, Mr Boutros-Ghali, who was booed by a crowd of angry Sarajevans, said he remained ''an optimist''. ''We must continue to negotiate, we must continue to encourage dialogue,'' he said. Such a task will be difficult if Mr Karadzic, whose forces are holding around 450 peace-keepers virtual hostages, refuses to talk.

Mr Karadzic insisted Mr Boutros-Ghali come to Serb-held territory. Mr Boutros-Ghali refused because the UN does not recognise the self-declared Bosnian Serb statelet.

Bosnia's President, Alija Izetbegovic, earlier assured Mr Boutros-Ghali his government accepted both conditions for the continuation of the UN mission, but angrily demanded that the UN side with his government. The Secretary-General, he said, ''should use [his] authority to say very clearly that here in Bosnia-Herzegovina, as he knows from all the facts, there is a conflict between a democratic and legal government . . . and a black fascism. He must say clearly to the French, British and other powers . . . that the legal government must be defended.''

''I cannot get heavy with anybody,'' Mr Boutros-Ghali said, rejecting charges of UN failure around Bihac. And despite omitting even to ask the Serbs to guarantee the minimum conditions for the UN presence, he said: ''I will not recommend for the time being the withdrawal of Unprofor.''

As one official said, the UN may continue to ''shrink from its mission and carry on''. If troop-contributing nations pull out, it will have avoided taking responsibility for the decision. But the UN has proved itself unable to keep Bihac ''safe'', and the consequences might extend far beyond the pocket. The Croatian Defence Minister, Gojko Susak, said that if the enclave falls, Zagreb will rejoin the war. ''If it came to a situation where Bihac would fall for whatever reason . . . Croatia would intervene,'' he told the New York Times.

Washington has already dissuaded Zagreb once from entering the Bihac fight and last night a State Department spokeswoman, Christine Shelly, urged Croatia not to enter the war against the Serbs.

Mr Susak and his government may succumb again to such pressure. But his words imply that Mr Boutros-Ghali's failure to persuade the Serbs to agree to a ceasefire around Bihac, and the peace-keepers' inability to protect the area, could restart the Croatian war. This would bring a complete collapse of international policy, which has been aimed primarily at containing the war within Bosnia.

Mr Boutros-Ghali did not explain why the Serbs, who have repeatedly rejected the five-nation Contact Group peace plan - which he said was still the only basis for a settlement in Bosnia - should change their minds now, when the threat of Nato air power appeared to have evaporated. ''I think they have the taste of blood in their mouths now,'' said one analyst.

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

News
people
News
people
Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Mobile Developer (.NET / C# / Jason / Jquery / SOA)

£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...

Humanities Teacher - Greater Manchester

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...

Design Technology Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...

Foundation Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes