Nato warns factions to stand by peace deal

EMMA DALY

Tuzla

MARY DEJEVSKY

Paris

The winter-long pall of fog shrouding the city of Tuzla yesterday lifted long enough for the long-awaited US deployment to begin in earnest, 48 hours before Nato takes over command in Bosnia from the United Nations.

By early evening, 16 cargo planes had landed at Tuzla air base, the latest carrying 120 paratroops from the 325th Airborne, marching off with Stars and Stripes flying: 700 more are expected to arrive in the next couple of days to guard the base.

But, as befits the bizarre state of affairs in Tuzla, where American journalists far outnumber the troops, the first planes seemed to be carrying more camera crews and military PR men than combat units. Still, the US army heaved a sigh of relief that, after five days of cancelled flights, the runway was visible to incoming pilots.

One of the first loads was a large consignment of bottled water and a smaller group of British troops. But by evening there was no sign of the Russian contingent rumoured to be en route for Tuzla, where they will work under US command.

The US schedule, said Brigadier-General Stan Cherrie of the 1st Armoured Division, was "a little bit behind - no problem". The transfer of authority from the UN to Nato would go ahead tomorrow at noon, he added. But he could give no starting date for the US deployment beyond the Tuzla air base.

US troops have reached the Sava river border with Croatia, north of Tuzla, and are preparing to build a bridge for combat units.

General Cherrie sat in on a UN meeting yesterday with commanders from all three warring factions, and won permission for a final reconnaissance trip to examine the road south from Croatia.

All three parties, he said, were "very, very responsive" and "genuinely agreeable". This is an assessment shared by Brigadier Richard Dannatt, a senior British UN officer who will switch his blue beret for Nato green tomorrow.

"I'm cautiously optimistic this can work," the brigadier said in Gornji Vakuf, the frontline town shattered in the Muslim-Croat war. It will serve as head-quarters for the British Nato sector in western Bosnia.

The brigadier emphasised the Bosnian Serbs' "co-operative" attitude - the British sector includes the city of Banja Luka and the towns of Mrkonjic Grad and Sipovo, which are to revert to Serb control.

"They realised the time had come to talk sensibly, to talk peace." None the less, the brigadier explained to all the commanders that Nato would not submit to the harassment or restrictions previously imposed on the UN peace-keepers.

The peace plan, he said, had been signed by each army's leaders and it was their job to comply with its provisions. If they did not, there was "no doubt whatsoever" that Nato would use the overwhelming military force - including artillery and air power - at its disposal. "But I detect that it will not be necessary."he added.

The British deployment, which includes 3,000 British UN blue beret peace- keepers already in place and 10,000 fresh troops, has continued unscathed so far.

France will be responsible for the south-eastern sector of Bosnia, which includes the continuing and potential trouble spots of Sarajevo, the Muslim enclave of Gorazde, and the divided city of Mostar.

France's principle of sending only volunteers on active duty abroad will be maintained. More than 50 French soldiers have been killed in Bosnia, and more than 600 wounded since the beginning of French involvement in 1991.

The country will have 7,500 men on the ground. There will also will be 1,200 Spanish troops, 2,100 Italians, and about 1,000 Portuguese.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'