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
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
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

Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key Stage 1

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key S...

Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...

Tradewind Recruitment: History Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an 11-18 all ability co-educat...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 6 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee