Owen outraged as Serbs reject new peace plan

THE UN peace plan for Bosnia appeared dead in the water yesterday as Western powers moved towards the use of force against the Serbs.

Lord Owen, the peace envoy, stormed out of Belgrade after the Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, rejected a new peace plan for a demilitarised corridor linking Serbian enclaves in Bosnia. He warned that Mr Karadzic 'is risking driving his people in Bosnia and possibly all Serbs into a devastating conflict with the international community'.

The rejection came amid increasing signs that the United States, Britain and France were likely to agree on air strikes to stop the the Serbian advance in Bosnia. The West has already agreed to enforce tougher sanctions against Serbia. According to Washington sources, President Clinton has decided to use air strikes to protect Muslim towns. The air umbrella will cover Srebrenica, Tuzla and Gorazde, and will be preceded by an ultimatum to Serbia and the Bosnian Serbs. US aircraft overflying Bosnia to enforce the no-fly zone established by the United Nations have already identified and photographed Serbian artillery positions. Yesterday the likelihood of Europe backing such moves rose sharply with the Bosnian Serbs' rejection of the Owen plan.

Douglas Hurd, the Foreign Secretary, informed his EC colleagues he had offered support to the 150 Canadian troops who are surrounded by Serbs in Srebrenica. The UN deployed the Canadians to protect the town after a bloody year-long siege ended with a truce and the evacuation of thousands of injured Muslims.

Britain's commitment opens up a much greater range of military options to deter aggression from the Bosnian Serbs, recreating the 'safe haven' approach proposed by Britain and used in northern Iraq. The Ministry of Defence has offered to support the Canadians if they come under heavy attack, with whatever force is neccessary. Though the ceasefire around the town is holding, the situation is 'extremely fragile', a British official said last night. Britain has 'assets' in the area, including carrier- and land-based aircraft as well as ground forces.

The Foreign Secretary told EC foreign ministers of the decision at a meeting in Hindsgavl castle in Denmark where the Twelve underlined that no options - including military measures - had been ruled out. The EC has been deadlocked on the use of force since the war in Bosnia broke out, but yesterday's talks showed they were ready to take the next step.

The move will not require new forces, since there are already aircraft in the region. Though officials were very careful to say that the British initiative was not the same as full-scale intervention to force Serbia to accede to Western demands, they conceded that it was a clear threat, a 'testing of the water' in the words of one official.

The British plan is intended to steer Washington away from the idea of lifting the arms embargo on the Bosnian Muslims. This idea was yesterday rejected by all of the EC apart from Germany. Britain and France in particular believe that it would only create far greater bloodshed. Discussions will now take place between Warren Christopher, the US Secretary of State, and the Europeans, probably in EC capitals this week.

One of the final chances for peace in Bosnia without further Western intervention appears to have ended yesterday with the rejection of the latest Owen plan. 'If we accept this, we are dead - finished,' Mr Karadzic said after meeting Lord Owen, who in turn accused him of leading not only Bosnian Serbs but also the whole Serbian nation 'down a very dangerous and tragic path'. A senior aide to the Bosnian president, Alija Izetbegovic, dismissed Mr Karadzic as 'completely mad' after he turned down a modification of the plan already signed by Mr Izetbegovic and the Bosnian Croats.

The announcement of the US decision on Bosnia has been delayed because Washington fears that measures against Serbia may damage President Yeltsin in the Russian referendum today. But, according to one US source, 'the incremental political costs to Clinton of inaction in Bosnia have risen sharply in the past two weeks'.

The press conference held by Mr Clinton on Friday, the second since he came to office, was dominated by questions about what he intended to do to save the Bosnian Muslims. The change in US policy has come largely because of Serbian rejection of the Vance- Owen plan to divide Bosnia into cantons and the heavily publicised attack on Srebrenica.

(Photograph omitted)

News
Alan Bennett has criticised the “repellent” reality shows which dominate our screens
tvBut he does like Stewart Lee
Life and Style
The Google Doodle celebrating the start of the first day of autumn, 2014.
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
i100
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
News
Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin, left, with her daughter, Bristol
newsShe's 'proud' of eldest daughter, who 'punched host in the face'
Sport
New Zealand fly-half Aaron Cruden pictured in The Zookeeper's Son on a late-night drinking session
rugby
Arts and Entertainment
Salmond told a Scottish television chat show in 2001that he would also sit in front of a mirror and say things like,
tvCelebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Life and Style
Carol O'Brien, whose son Rob suffered many years of depression
healthOne mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of Dark Side of the Moon
musicCan 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition? See for yourself
Life and Style
food + drink
News
Rob Merrick's Lobby Journalists were playing Ed Balls' Labour Party MPs. The match is an annual event which takes place ahead of the opening of the party conference
newsRob Merrick insistes 'Ed will be hurting much more than me'
News
A cabin crew member photographed the devastation after one flight
news
Voices
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
voicesMaybe the new app will make it more normal to reach out to strangers
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

Pharmaceutical Computer System Validation Specialist

£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Pharmaceutical Computer ...

High Level Teaching Assistant (HTLA)

£70 - £90 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Higher Level Teaching Assist...

Teaching Assistant

£50 - £80 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Randstad Education is the UK...

Senior Java Developer - API's / Webservices - XML, XSLT

£400 - £450 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits