Perry hails Russian-US troops deal

SARAH HELM

Brussels

The first troops in the Nato-led peace implementation force are likely to arrive in Bosnia early next week, after Russia and Nato yesterday proclaimed a "historic" agreement enabling Russian troops to serve in the force, and giving Moscow a liaison role in command.

The agreement is not only crucial to peace in Bosnia, but also has far- reaching implications for East-West relations.

William Perry, the US Defense Secretary, said: "The significance goes far beyond Bosnia. It promises to form the basis of a new security dialogue between East and West, between Nato and Russia. This emerging new relationship between Nato and Russia will make Europe more stable and more secure."

The deal means that deployment to Bosnia can now begin, with a group of 1,300 "enabling" troops - including 600 British - expected to arrive as early as Monday or Tuesday.

Despite the wave of optimism, however, serious questions remain about how the implementation plan will work. So far there is little progress on setting up a civilian command to administer the massive reconstruction task. And Nato yesterday ruled out taking on the mission of arresting war criminals, saying it is still considering whether its forces should have powers of arrest in some circumstances. How to disarm and "rebalance" Croats, Muslims and Serbs is still under discussion.

Doubts also remain about whether the alliance will be able to fulfil its political commitment to pull out all forces after 12 months. Michael Portillo, the British Secretary of State for Defence, insisted yesterday: "There is a clear commitment that this operation will last 12 months and we will all deploy together and all withdraw together."

The agreement on Russian participation, struck between Mr Perry and Pavel Grachev, the Russian Defence Minister, ends weeks of fraught negotiation over how to give Moscow a political role in controlling the force. The solution arrived at means Moscow will be consulted by the 16-member alliance before decisions are taken by the North Atlantic Council, Nato's ruling body of ambassadors in Brussels. In what is called a "16 plus one" formula, the Russians may also be able to raise points at the council's discussions. In return, Russian troops will serve, in effect, under US command.

Although Moscow had demanded a larger role, and would have preferred a United Nations umbrella for the operation, Mr Grachev hailed the plan, praising Nato's new cooperation with Moscow. From now, he said, there were "no questions which cannot be solved."

A total of 15 Nato nations will contribute troops to the implementation force, and 12 non-Nato countries, including Russia, have agreed to join. Nato leaders said yesterday the force would supervise the separation of the warring forces, their withdrawal to barracks, the setting up of civil institutions and the conduct of elections.

The alliance leaders are clearly concerned about the delay in appointing a "high representative" to oversee the civilian tasks such as reconstruction, refugee return and election preparation. Carl Bildt, the EU's delegate to the former Yugoslavia, is the favourite, but dispute over how tasks should be assigned is holding up agreement. The alliance is also embarrassed over the continuing failure to appoint of Nato secretary-general following the resignation of Willy Claes. It now seems certain that the force will deploy with no secretary-general in place.

Nato discussed yesterday calls for the arming and training of Bosnian forces, as a means of ensuring a permanent balance of power once the peace forces pull out. The alliance appears to ruling out re-arming the Bosnians, and favours disarming the stronger armies, but new discussions on all arms control issues are now scheduled to take place in Bonn.

Suggested Topics
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: Trainee Consultant - Surrey/ South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Trainee Consultant - Surrey / South West London

£22000 per annum + pension,bonus,career progression: Ashdown Group: An establi...

Ashdown Group: Recruitment Consultant / Account Manager - Surrey / SW London

£40000 per annum + realistic targets: Ashdown Group: A thriving recruitment co...

Ashdown Group: Part-time Payroll Officer - Yorkshire - Professional Services

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful professional services firm is lo...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before