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
Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Bruce Forsyth with Tess Daly in the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special
tvLouis Smith wins with 'Jingle Bells' quickstep on Strictly Come Dancing's Christmas Special
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Sport
sport
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

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

£24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Day In a Page

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there