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
Sport
sportWWE latest including Sting vs Triple H, Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns and The Undertaker vs Bray Wyatt
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • 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

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor