US woos Russia for peace force

BOSNIA CEASEFIRE

RUPERT CORNWELL

Williamsburg, Virginia

American and Nato officials want Russia to have a "substantial" role in a Bosnian peace-keeping operation, under an agreement to be endorsed by Presidents Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin at their mini-summit in New York later this month. They hope the accord will be a first step towards removing Moscow's suspicions about the alliance's plans.

The first outlines of the possible arrangements began to emerge at the meeting of Nato foreign ministers here, unexpectedly transformed by Thursday's ceasefire agreement into an urgent planning session for a Peace Implementation Force (PIF) deployment in the Balkans, which could start as soon as late November.

The options - to be discussed by William Perry, the US Defense Secretary, when he meets his Russian opposite number, Pavel Grachev, in Geneva this weekend - include the creation of a "16-plus-one" body, consisting of the 16 Nato countries plus Russia, at Nato headquarters in Brussels. The two defence chiefs will also discuss the secondment of senior Russian officers to the alliance's military command in Mons, Belgium. Moscow should ideally be part of a "liaison structure at each level of the operation," a Nato official said.

The allies remain adamantthat the PIF must have a single military chain of command under Nato, despite Russian misgivings. But Russia might well be given vital non-military tasks, including engineering and resettlement programmes.

Especially worrying to Nato is the risk of a "Berlin-style partition" in Bosnia, where different ethnic parts of the country are each policed by forces from a sympathetic patron - for example, Russian troops in Bosnian Serb areas and US and other alliance contingents around Sarajevo and the other Muslim-controlled regions.

Admiral Leighton Smith, the American commander of Nato forces in southern Europe, would take overall charge of the operation. The theatre commander on the ground in Bosnia itself is likely to be General Mike Walker, the British commander of the alliance's reaction force.

With time of the essence, the deployment will use the existing stand- by plan for Nato to intervene to extricate the United Nations peace- keepers, had that been necessary. But that operation, drawn up to run for six to 12 weeks only, must now be restructured to last a year - the expected outside limit of the new Nato mission.

The defence ministers here accept that a peace agreement will have no chance unless it is absolutely clear-cut, with maps laying out a division of territory. For this reason, military planners want "front-loading", the dispatch of a powerful force early on to deter last-minute grabs for extra land by one side or other, rather than a smaller force that would have to be increased if trouble arose.

Once this force is in place, the alliance hopes it can persuade the better-armed belligerents to reduce their own forces. Otherwise, Washington would be happy to see the less well-equipped Muslim army "professionalised and retrained".

Mr Perry's readiness - if all else fails - to beef up Bosnia's forces, is partly designed to sell the peace deal to a wary US Congress that only six weeks ago was poised to force an end to the UN arms embargo.

But Nato hopes its recent bombing campaign has convinced the Serbs that it means business.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark episode 8, review
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
News
news
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

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions