Britain to host peace summit

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The Independent Online
Britain will host the 50-nation international conference to agree arrangements for maintaining peace in Bosnia next year, it was confirmed yesterday.

The conference will be at Lancaster House, London, on 4-5 December, and will follow the pattern of the Peace Implementation Conference in London last December.

High-level representatives, including foreign ministers, from some 50 countries and the three newly elected members of the Bosnian Presidency - Alija Izetbegovic, Kresimir Zubak and Momcilo Krajisnik - will attend the meeting, chaired by Malcolm Rifkind, the Foreign Secretary, and Baroness Chalker, Minister for Overseas Development.

The most urgent item will be to agree the role of the military follow- on force (Fo-For) which must replace the existing peace Implementation Force (I-For) after 20 December. Nato's North Atlantic Council will then meet on 10 December to confirm military plans.

A follow-on military force will continue to be involved in arms control, which will be discussed at the conference. However, it is also expected to concentrate far more on supporting civilian reconstruction. The conference will try to get Bosnia's leaders to reaffirm their commitment to the Dayton peace accords.

It will also discuss the contentious issue of war criminals - there has been increasing criticism of the Nato governments for not ordering I-For to be more active on the matter. The conference will pressure Bosnian leaders to surrender war criminals hiding in their territory.