The G7 Summit: The games that statesmen play: Annika Savill, Diplomatic Editor, on how world leaders use Yugoslavia as a bat with which to hit each other.

'CAN YOU imagine,' said a French source yesterday, 'how furious Baker will be to find the WEU (Western European Union) holding a meeting about military intervention right under his nose in Helsinki?' He was speaking after confirmation that the European defence body would hold an emergency meeting, about possible deployment in Bosnia, on the margins of the Conference on Security and Co- operation in Europe (CSCE) summit tomorrow.

You may well ask why there is a need for a third summit to add to the alphabet soup that marks this week already, and whether the people of Bosnia will be any better off for it. If the idea of sending WEU troops to the former Yugoslavia comes to anything, it is possible they might. But the road so far has less to do with the victims of the real war than with half-a- dozen sets of conflicting self-interests being pursued in a Bavarian castle.

To make Mr Baker furious is precisely what the French want in their quest to show that the Americans are not indispensable to the defence of Europe. That is why President Mitterrand, over dinner on Monday night, started suggesting privately to his fellow world leaders that it might be an idea to have 'non UN-troops with the right to fire back' defending the road to Sarajevo airport. The British, to make the French appear confused in their thinking, leaked this to reporters, whereupon French officials denied it the next morning and throughout most of the rest of the day. Privately, French diplomats admitted Mr Mitterrand had suggested the idea without prior consultations with the Quai d'Orsay or anyone else.

The French had already forged a partnership with the Italians in jumping on Lord Carrington, the EC mediator. The Italians had leaked what they said was a French plan to widen Lord Carrington's conference to include the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and the states neighbouring Yugoslavia. The French said at first that the plan was for the Five and 'interested parties' but this became 'neighbouring countries' in the Italian translation. Why? Because Italy neighbours Yugoslavia but, unlike France, is not one of the permanent five.

British officials were trying to save Lord Carrington's face and delay any talk of ground-troop deployment, since Britain itself is not planning to send any. On Monday a British official said Lord Carrington was 'not particularly excited' about the idea of his mission being overtaken. Douglas Hurd, the Foreign Secretary, having spoken to Lord Carrington twice since, said the negotiator now 'welcomed' the involvement of 'other parties concerned' but said there was little point in doing anything, given the lack of 'will for peace'.

A consolation prize was cobbled together in that the G7 summit's declaration on Yugoslavia included, at Britain's insistence, a reference to the Carrington conference as a 'key forum' for ensuring a political solution. Even this, however, became the subject of squabbling: the British had wanted the phrase 'the forum', the French 'a forum'. In the end, confusion reigned as the printed statement had 'a' and the text read out by the chairmen 'the'. The French text skipped the article altogether by employing a suitably ambiguous phrase.

An official representing Canada, the only country which has sent any ground troops to Bosnia so far, revealed that the idea of sending troops from France, Egypt and East Ukraine to match Bosnia's religious mix was actually a French idea: 'The French would have liked to go on their own to get all the glory. But they knew that wasn't on because of France's pro-Serb image, for one thing.' He also disclosed that when he spoke to the Ukrainians three days ago it was not clear whether they were going at all.

SARAJEVO (Reuter) - Heavy fighting broke out in the city last night as Serbs used tanks for the first time in weeks, apparently firing at the Bosnia-Herzegovina presidential building. Journalists at the nearby Holiday Inn said much of the firing came from areas south of the river Miljacka which bisects the city.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
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: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'