Ukrainian UN troops quit Gorazde 'safe haven'

CHRISTOPHER BELLAMY

Defence Correspondent

One-third of the United Nations force in Gorazde - 90 Ukrainian soldiers - pulled out of the isolated Muslim enclave in eastern Bosnia, and so- called UN "safe area", on Wednesday night. The remaining 170 British soldiers of the Royal Welch Fusiliers will leave in mid-September, when the UN presence will be down to a few dozen unarmed military observers.

UN sources in Sarajevo say the withdrawal of ground troops will not make Gorazde less secure, as Nato could launch air attacks in response to a Serb attack. But they admit that local Muslims may be in more danger, as the threshold for air attacks remained high.

The medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres called the withdrawal a "blatant contradiction of the various international commitments on protecting the enclave".

Last month the UN said it was determined to defend Gorazde, one of four remaining UN "safe areas" after the collapse of Srebrenica and Zepa. But last week it announced that it was pulling out all armed ground troops.

The other three areas look relatively secure. The former enclave of Bihac, in north-west Bosnia, was relieved by the recent Croat offensive in Krajina, while Tuzla and Sarajevo are larger and less isolated.

The Ukrainians yesterday were on their way to Belgrade. There were reports that the commanding officer and an aide had to remain behind as the local Bosnian authorities were demanding 20,000 German Marks, which they said the UN owed them as "rent" and as "compensation" for environmental damage. But last night the UN in Zagreb said all 90 Ukrainian peace-keepers were out of the area.

Elsewhere, the front lines in Bosnia and Croatia were quiet. UN sources said the two French guns that engaged Serb mortars near Sarajevo on Tuesday night had hit their targets. Croat forces near the Adriatic city of Dubrovnik were on stand-by to attack Serb positions threatening the city, but took no action.

Croatia's Foreign Minister, Mate Granic, said in Vienna: "We are waiting for the American peace plan . If we get the protection [around Dubrovnik] from the initiative we will strongly welcome that."

The UN Secretary-General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali, said the UN force in Croatia would be cut to 2,500 following the Serbs' retreat although two battalions will remain in the disputed area of eastern Slavonia.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?