Letter: Objectives of UN intervention in Bosnia-Herzegovina

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The Independent Online
Sir: Your leading article (8 July) on the political will to intervene in Bosnia-Herzegovina is woefully confused. As you state, nonintervention was morally unsustainable, but this has become clear more through the efforts on the part of Croatia with its temporary Muslim allies to create a 'Greater Croatia' than through any localised violence committed by any side, including Serbian irregulars.

The primary objective of United Nations intervention must be to provide the humanitarian assistance that will assuage the mounting desperation felt by all communities, including Serbs, in this strife-ridden arena. This may or may not require the commitment of large numbers of combat troops. Given the dynamics of the conflict, large numbers would be needed.

If such a fearsome development is to be avoided, the Western powers must cease using Serbia, and the rhetoric of exclusively Serbian responsibility for the crisis, as a masquerade to cover their own underlying disunity of purpose, and as an instrument by which to enforce the collapse of the remaining institutional and legal rights of the Yugoslav federation.

Romania's possible breach of UN sanctions against Serbia has been widely noted. Little or nothing has been said about the flouting of the arms embargo that was a precondition of EC recognition of Croatia. If there is to be a process of negotiated and legally founded stabilisation of the region into which the Serbian people have the confidence to enter, then use of force must be directed against the expansionary territorial ambitions of 'Greater Croatia'.

Yours faithfully,



9 July