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.
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 3 Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway amid dense fog
- 4 Penis size: Study revealing 'what's normal' sends international media into meltdown
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway amid dense fog
Ayesha Ali death: Mother and her girlfriend found guilty of manslaughter of eight-year-old
George Clooney and Amal fail to get special treatment at New York restaurant
Cindy Crawford 'un-PhotoShopped' viral Marie Claire image was doctored, claims photographer
'A girl is more responsible for rape than a boy': The statement that shocked the world... except India
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...
£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...
£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...