Letter: Saving Sarajevo: leaders lack principle; the need for intervention becomes urgent

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Sir: In 1979, as a young army officer, I was sent to southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) as part of the ceasefire monitoring force. Our main objective was to persuade local commanders from both the guerrilla and government forces to halt military operations and conform to the terms of the Lancaster House agreement, thereby paving the way for the first multi-party elections.

The operation was ambitious, dangerous and fraught with political and military difficulties. We understood that there was a high risk of sustaining casualties, but accepted this fact as a necessary part of bringing peace to a country that had been ravaged by eight years of civil war. The result was a spectacular success - and it left the cynics with egg on their faces.

So where, now, is the will and the wisdom to plan and execute a similar operation to save Sarajevo? Why are the qualities of leadership that

allowed previous governments to act on principle entirely absent now? The policies of the present government towards Bosnia offer only


Yours faithfully,


London, NW6

1 August