Peace envoys set to bale out: West's 'appeasement' provokes disgust

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The Independent Online
ANOTHER international envoy on Bosnia looked set to parachute out of the peace process yesterday in indignation at the allies' new strategy, which he compared to the appeasement at Munich in 1938.

Tadeusz Mazowiecki, the UN- appointed human rights investigator, declared when asked if he could continue his mission following the new allied plan, adopted last weekend: 'With difficulty. The gesture of Pontius Pilate does not suit me.'

The former Polish prime minister's comments came as Lord Owen, the EC mediator, uncharacteristically declined to answer questions when posing for photographers before talks at the UN in Geneva.

Lord Owen, who said on Monday he was 'facing a new situation following the Washington meeting', is said to be waiting for offers of another job with a profile comparable to that of his current mission - preferably in private industry. At his usually well-staffed press office in the UN building in New York an answering machine was switched on for the second day running.

Asked if the Washington accord was comparable to the appeasement at Munich in 1938, Mr Mazowiecki said in an interview with the Belgian newspaper Le Soir: 'Such analogies spring to mind. Especially as nothing has been said about ways of rectifying the abuses.'

One person who did not look ready to throw in the towel was Lord Owen's UN partner, Thorvald Stoltenberg, who gave up his job as Norwegian foreign minister to take up the Bosnia mission only three weeks ago. Mr Stoltenberg, soldiering on in a familiarisation tour of Zagreb yesterday, dismissed Belgrade's refusal to accept foreign border monitors as manoeuvring.

'I have seen this over and over again in my almost 40 years in international diplomacy, that you need enormous patience and persistence and you need what I call some sort of positive aggressiveness. You cannot just relax but (have) to go on.'

Norwegian sources said Mr Stoltenberg, who agonised before leaving the Norwegian government against the wishes of his Prime Minister, Gro Harlem Brundtland, could not expect a new cabinet position before the elections in September.