Paris takes belligerent line on its lost airmen
Bosnia settlement: French President warns Milosevic of unspecified action over missing pilots if he fails to produce pilots shot down in August
Thursday 07 December 1995
Mr Chirac, who has recently demanded greater safety guarantees for Serbs who are to come under government rule next month, raised the issue in a telephone call to Belgrade yesterday, his spokeswoman said, though she gave no details of the conversation.
"The President had a new telephone call with President [Slobodan] Milosevic on Wednesday morning and told him that if the two French pilots were not released in the coming days, France would be forced to draw all the appropriate conclusions," Catherine Colonna said. But she said there was no question of postponing the Paris peace conference, scheduled for 14 December, until the pilots' release, as demanded by their wives.
Captain Frederic Chiffot and Lieutenant Jose Souvignet disappeared on 30 August after ejecting from their Mirage 2000 as it plunged towards a hill near the rebel Serb headquarters at Pale, east of Sarajevo. Many UN and Nato officials believe the men are dead, because Radovan Karadzic recently claimed they had been kidnapped by unknown forces, and because they were not used as a bargaining chip by the Serbs at last month's peace talks in Dayton, Ohio.
"The most commonly held view here is that if they existed and were alive, they would have been cashed in at Dayton," one official said. "For example: OK, if we get Grbavica [a Serb suburb of the capital due to revert to government control] you get the pilots."
Last week Mr Chirac wrote to the US President, Bill Clinton, urging the international community to strengthen safeguards for Serbs living in Grbavica and four other suburbs ceded to the government at Dayton. "That was definitely linked to the French pilots - that was the right noise the Serbs would want to hear," the official said, "in that Chirac was saying to the Serbs: 'I will raise with Clinton what I know are your concerns over Grbavica etc'."
France will be the third-largest troop contributor to the Nato peace Implementation Force (I-For), which has the difficult task of reuniting Sarajevo within 90 days of the transfer of authority in Bosnia from the UN to Nato. That is expected on 18 December.
Preparations for I-For's arrival are under way in Bosnia, with most attention focused on the new boys: the 20,000 US troops who are to deploy around the northern town of Tuzla. Yesterday a US Air Force cargo plane became the first fixed-wing aircraft to land at the UN air base in Tuzla for more than a year - the runways were closed for most of the war by Serb shelling.
Colonel Neal Patton of the US Air Force and Lt-Col Sid Kooyman, an army liaison officer, flew into Tuzla yesterday to inspect the air base and begin setting up for the arrival, after Paris, of their soldiers. Although the Americans have dispatched several reconnaissance teams to the area, Col Kooyman and his comrades represent the first wave of Dayton peace- keepers to reach the industrial city.
Col Patton told reporters he was "absolutely" satisfied with security at the air base. But he was unable to give details about the alleged impending arrival of US troops.
n Bonn (AP) - Parliament made history yesterday by ordering the deployment of 4,000 German soldiers to support Nato peace enforcers in Bosnia, the largest German military mission abroad since the Second World War. It is the first time since the Nazis'occupation of Yugoslavia that German troops are being dispatched in large numbers to the region.
- 2 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 3 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
- 4 Zayn Malik on Israel-Gaza: One Direction singer bombarded with Twitter death threats after posting #FreePalestine
- 5 'Hello mum, this is going to be hard for you to read ...'
Sally Farmiloe dead: Howards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, dies aged 60
Women in Turkey have a laugh in public at the deputy Prime Minister's expense
Sabina Altynbekova, the girl branded 'too good looking' for volleyball, says social media obsession with her is a 'bit much'
Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
Australian model Robyn Lawley stages naked protest against huge coal mine seven times the size of Sydney Harbour
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
- < Previous
- Next >
Unpaid Voluntary Work : Cancer Research UK: We need motivational volunteers to...
£23000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Accounts Assistant (Accounts Payable...
£200 - £300 per day: Ashdown Group: IT Trainer - Marlow, Buckinghamshire - £25...
£18000 - £30000 per annum + Generous commission scheme: AER Teachers: Thames T...