Letter: After its humiliation at Gorazde, the United Nations could still salvage a little credibility

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The Independent Online
Sir: My faith in the United Nations finally died in Gorazde. For Bosnians, however, it died long ago. Yes, we do feed some of them some of the time, but they would rather not have the war. Our governments used the whole concept of the aid programme as an excuse not to intervene. We delayed as long as possible implementing the no-fly zone - not to anger the Serbs. Monitoring Serbian heavy artillery above Sarajevo meant nothing more than counting the exploding shells.

The UN may use force to protect itself, but, perversely, making people in 'safe' areas safe has never been its intention. It does not even fulfil the mandates it clearly set itself - in the occupied areas of Croatia it should have disarmed the paramilitary units and made it possible for displaced people to return. In two years not a single non-Serb refugee has returned home, as far as I know.

It is likely that the Serbs will let the game go on a little longer. We shall then see the Russians produce a miracle formula which the Serbs will accept (surprise, surprise), the Bosnian government will be given no alternative but to sign on the dotted line, and we shall celebrate a 'negotiated' settlement.

For all those innocent people who have died, are dying and are still to die, I want to know where the pivotal point in all this is: London, Washington, Moscow, Paris, Brussels, New York . . . or all of them together?

Yours faithfully,




17 April