Boutros-Ghali rebuffs UK in call for new talks on Bosnia

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The Independent Online
THE United Nations Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, called yesterday for a new international peace conference to be convened on Yugoslavia and said that Europe must commit more peace- keepers and resources to the conflict, rather than turning for help to the overburdened UN.

For the third time in a week he rejected Britain's advice, and said that while he supported Lord Carrington's efforts, the agreement he negotiated on Bosnia would be difficult, if not impossible, to implement. He had asked for the minutes of the Carrington conference to be sent to New York, and said he supported a French proposal for a broader international conference involving the five permanent members of the UN security council. Britain has advised against enlarging the conference, and a UN representative is to attend all future negotiations organised by Lord Carrington.

Mr Boutros-Ghali said Europe had a responsibility to do much more. He said there was a grave risk that Yugoslavia would become 'the Vietnam of the UN, and noted that the head of the joint chiefs of the French military forces had told him yesterday that European forces could accomplish in three days what the UN would take three months to do in Bosnia.

The new peace conference, which may be convened within days, would see the UN and the EC join forces over Yugoslavia. Mr Boutros-Ghali was adamant that the UN would have primacy in future. A regional organisation like the EC could not, he felt, ask the UN to implement an agreement in whose negotiation it had played no part, as happened when the last EC conference decided that the UN should supervise all heavy weapons in Bosnia once a ceasefire was in place.

Mr Boutros-Ghali rejected a British initiative aimed at breathing life into Lord Carrington's peace conference on Yugoslavia. The UK plan proposed sending some 1,100 officers to Bosnia to take supervision of all heavy weapons in the country. The plan, which was cobbled together at the peace conference of Bosnian factions in London last week, was rejected out of hand by Mr Boutros-Ghali at a meeting with the five permanent members of the Security Council, the US, Britain, France, China and Russia.

During that encounter, Britain was isolated and ultimately defeated while holding out for a resolution that would have extended the mandate of the UN peace- keeping force in Sarajevo to cover the rest of the country. Mr Boutros-Ghali said that such an operation was not feasible in the absence of a ceasefire and the full co- operation of the parties to the conflict.

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