UN plan needs more troops: Security Council moves to implement new Western strategy for Bosnia

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PLANS BY the United Nations Security Council to approve three resolutions needed to implement the new Western strategy for Bosnia went ahead yesterday despite strong resistance from two of the warring parties, the Muslims and the Serbs, and no indications that the additional troops required would be offered by UN member countries.

Two new resolutions would approve several thousand additional peace-keeping forces. One would provide up to 3,000 troops to act as monitors on the Bosnia-Serbia border to ensure President Slobodan Milosovic makes good his promise to cut off military and other supplies to the Bosnian Serbs. The Council is pressing for joint patrols on the border with troops from Belgrade, but Mr Milosevic has, so far, declined the offer.

A second resolution would provide several thousand more troops - up to 40,000 - to protect and enlarge the six so-called 'safe havens' the Council has designated for the besieged Muslims. But yesterday the Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, was reported to be opposing the introduction of the extra troops on the basis that such a move would violate the sovereignty of the self-proclaimed Bosnian Serb state.

Earlier, the head of the Muslim-led Bosnian government, President Alija Izetbegovic, had also rejected the new Western strategy, claiming that it did not give a chance to Muslims expelled form their homes under the Serbian policy of 'ethnic cleansing' to return. He called on the Bosnian people to defend themselves against what is left of their country. The Bosnian Serbs control about 70 per cent of the country's territory.

Even so, the Security Council has decided to press ahead with the resolutions. Where the extra troops would come from is not clear. The United States says it will not provide any ground troops in Bosnia, and the other two nations with troops already there - Britain and France - say they cannot afford to supply any more. Russia, Ukraine and Belarus have been asked by the UN if they are willing to send troops, but have not yet replied.

In addition, UN funds for peace- keeping operations are depleted, and about 35 per cent of the money already requested from member nations for peace-keeping has not been forthcoming.

A third resolution, setting up a tribunal to try those accused of war crimes in the former Yugoslavia is also expected to be passed this week. With the other two resolutions, it represents a series intended to underscore that the West now has a unified strategy to bring the war to an end and to implement a peace.

A French-sponsored resolution would change the mandate on the peace-keepers - originally sent to protect humanitarian convoys - to allow them to dissuade aggression, monitor ceasefire agreements, and ensure the withdrawal of troops from combat zones.

There is a question mark, however, over the kind of peace the UN can implement. The flat rejection by the Bosnian Serbs of the Vance-Owen peace plan - which would have divided Bosnia into 10 semi-autonomous cantons - has caused the UN Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros- Ghali, to attempt to draw up a new, and as yet private, plan of his own, which is said to include massive economic aid along the lines of the post- Second World War Marshall Plan for Europe. But there is no indication where the funding for such a plan might be found.

(Photograph omitted)

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