Letter: Serbs' right to self-determination in a land of artificial borders

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Sir: I regret that you left out my name in your list of those who wished to "Stay Put" in the Bosnia imbroglio. As I made clear in my contribution to the debate on Wednesday, and as I have urged over the last three years, the international community must, with the backing of Nato, take on and defeat Serb crime and aggression. Of course, it can be done if Western governments have the political will: they have the military means.

We must reject the sophistic evasions of those like Mike Gapes, MP (letter 1 June) who, in his phrase, would "favour withdrawal". Withdrawal would lead to further mass slaughter by Serb ethnic cleansing in pursuit of Milosevic's Greater Serbia, to immense damage in Islamic relations with the West and to a spread of real war throughout the Balkans, Those are scenarios no incisive intelligence can contemplate.

Andrew Marr's conclusion: "It would be better to paint the tanks green than to abandon them" (30 May) and that of your leading article: "We should not now give in to moral cowardice or cheap demagoguery" (31 May) are the proper response.



MP for Warley East (Lab)

House of Commons

London, SW1

2 June