Britain objects to German call for UN troops

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The Independent Online
BRITAIN yesterday sought to stop Germany pushing for United Nations troops to be sent to intervene in what was Yugoslavia without further delay. As the situation on the ground deteriorates, the French and the Italians hinted at plans to supplant Lord Carrington's conference as the main forum dealing with the crisis.

The United States yesterday endorsed a proposal to open a corridor across Croatia to ferry aid to Bosnia. European diplomats said this was a further indication that military intervention was likely.

British officials said the original text of the draft Group of Seven political declaration did not even mention the Carrington process, and they had to ask for it to be inserted. They also asked for a change of the wording that the Security Council should 'consider taking steps including all necessary means' - the use of force - to 'not excluding military means'.

Britain wants the text to reflect what was agreed by the European Community in Lisbon last month, going back to the UN only if, and when, humanitarian efforts around Sarajevo fail.

Confusion reigned as governments could not keep up with each other's schemes to take or maintain the initiative in the peace process. Italian sources, after a Franco-Italian bilateral meeting, said that there was a French plan to create a new peace conference of the permanent five members of the Security Council and Yugoslavia's neighbours. French officials said this was premature and British officials privately expressed dismay.

Britain, the most reluctant to send troops, is concerned that Lord Carrington's mission will not be given time to succeed. The French have expressed scepticism of Lord Carrington's progress since President Francois Mitterrand made his trip to Sarajevo last month. Only after that did Lord Carrington go to Bosnia.

European sources said there would be an emergency meeting of the Western European Union on the sidelines of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe in Helsinki which opens on Thursday. The WEU, the EC's defence arm and the European pillar of Nato, is studying two contingency options: naval action to back up the blockade of Serbia, and military action to back up humanitarian efforts in Bosnia. Italy was also pushing a proposal to extend the blockade beyond the Adriatic to cover 'all possible routes'.

There was speculation this might extend to roads in Greece, suspected by some of supplying fuel to Serbia via Macedonia.