'Bothersome' Mladic worries US general

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General John Shalikashvili, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed concern yesterday over rejection of the peace pact by Bosnian Serb army chief, General Ratko Mladic. "It's clearly bothersome and worrisome and we should not underestimate it," he said of General Mladic's stance.

But he said that the Serbian President, Slobodan Milosevic, had reaffirmed as recently as yesterday that he would honour all parts of the deal.

General Shalikashvili said he thought Mr Milosevic could keep General Mladic, an indicted war criminal, in line, "and we will be watching it from now on very carefully".

The US military leader made it plain that the Bosnia mission was a fait accompli. While he agreed that it was important to arm and train the Bosnian army, he said that would not be the role of United States troops. Neither would it be their role to resettle refugees, although they would help create the conditions to make resettlement possible.

As to the response of US troops if they found themselves in danger, General Shalikashvili said their orders were "to use deadly force".