Tudjman under heavy pressure to let UN stay
Saturday 11 March 1995
Intense diplomatic pressure from Washington, which fears a conflagration in Croatia could infect the whole region, may persuade President Franjo Tudjman to reverse his decision to expel 14,000 UN peace-keepers at the end of the month.
Richard Holbrooke, a US assistant secretary of state, is to visit Zagreb this weekend - his second trip in a week - in search of a formula to save Mr Tudjman's face and retain an international buffer force between the Croatian army and the rebel Krajina Serbs. Senior UN officials, none the less, are proceeding with plans for a withdrawal in three weeks.
Mr Tudjman, whose ambition is a place in the history books as the man who reunited Croatia, ordered the UN Protection Force (Unprofor) to leave on the ground that its main function had been to bolster Serb control over a third of the country. The rest of the world reacted with horror, fearing that a pull-out would spark a new war with Serbia proper.
Mr Holbrooke, who is prosecuting "a very delicate and critical discussion" with Croatia, is thought to have proposed a watered-down UN mission to Mr Tudjman. A new force, of about 5,000 troops, would police the zone between the opposing armies and perhaps monitor Croatia's international borders.
The Krajina Serbs' attitude to a new mandate is "not unpositive", a Western diplomat said, because the Serbs want to retain an international presence in the country. "The signs are beginning to look slightly encouraging, but it's a long way off," the diplomat said.
"The problem is giving [Zagreb] enough to allow us to stay here, but not accepting so much that we can't implement it," one UN official said. Croatia's shopping list includes international control of its frontiers, to prevent Serbia or the Bosnian Serbs from aiding their allies in Croatia, an idea dismissed by the diplomat as "a non-starter".
If Mr Tudjman wins a promise of border-monitoring, and a new name for the UN mission, he can probably sell it as a victory, albeit one that looks rather hollow.
However, "withdrawal planning is still very much going on", according to a senior UN officer, starting on 1 April. He said that in "a very benign environment" - the unlikely scenario in which the Krajina Serbs let UN troops and all their equipment leave without opposition - a full withdrawal would take 160 days. But if order breaks down, a small mobile Nato force might be needed to rescue UN soldiers. The nightmare is of a second Croatian war that spreads to Bosnia, Serbia and Macedonia - hence the frantic efforts to woo Mr Tudjman.
Many analysts believe the Holbrooke solution would only postpone the crisis, perhaps until the tourist season ends. If there has been no progress by then towards the peaceful reintegration of Croatia, Mr Tudjman will be able to tell the world he has tried everything but war.
Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts
Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested
George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination
I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title
- 1 Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies after injuring spine doing somersault celebration
- 3 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming that the street artist's identity has been revealed
- 4 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 5 Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming that the street artist's identity has been revealed
'Russian submarine spotted' by Swedish military off coast of Stockholm
Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Sorry Judy Finnigan – Ched Evans is no less sickening than an alleyway rapist
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Workers 'could be forced to pay £5 a week' to get benefits
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver allegedly kicks gay couple off for kissing
£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...
£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...
£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...