LETTER : London conference on Bosnia: undefined aims in an old game

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The Independent Online
From Mr Paul Johns

Sir: The weekend's decision by the London Conference about military action against Bosnian Serbs still leaves important unanswered questions about British Government policy over Bosnia.

How far are we prepared to press military action - until the residents of Gorazde and Bihac are secure and the siege of Sarajevo lifted; or only until British troops begin to die in numbers?

Why are we taking a firmer stand against Bosnian Serbs? Is it specifically because we feel a moral obligation to challenge military and political leaders who violate human rights? Or is it, generally, because we object to their nationalist agenda that would turn much of Bosnia into part of an ethnically pure greater Serbia?

What sort of political settlement are we seeking? Do we want to restore the integrity of Bosnia Herzegovina as the independent multi-ethnic state to which we gave international recognition in 1992? Or would we settle for a partition of the country, because the British Government believes (according to some reports) that a stronger Serbia is the key to the future stability of the Balkans?

Mr Rifkind ought to answer these questions. We're so busy debating immediate action that we're ignoring the obscurity of underlying aims.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Johns

West Bridgford, Nottingham

23 July