Letter: Solution to the Bosnian war to be found in balance of power

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From Mr Paul Tvrtkovic

Sir: The Bosnian crisis has taken up enough column inches and produced so much hot air, yet still there is no solution in sight. The true cause of this conflict was the creation of the utopian state of Yugoslavia (1918 and 1945) by Britain, France and Russia which, inevitably, engendered continuous violence, including the present Bosnian war.

Britain and France are unwilling to recognise as a geopolitical factthe balance of power between Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina - on the one side - and Serbia, which lasted for at least 1,000 years, in comparison with the Serbian-dominated Yugoslavia, which lasted a mere 70 years. Once this fact is clear, the solution of the conflict becomes almost automatic. Bosnia can exist as a state only if an absolute balance between the three national groups is imposed by the European Union and Nato in such a way that all three sides gain more than they lose in equal proportions.

The only such political device would be an EU Protectorate whose objective would be the establishment of a confederation of Muslim, Croatian and Serbian cantons of absolutely equal area, but ethnically mixed in order to balance out the unequal numbers of the respective populations. These cantons would be administered by the Muslims, Croats and Serbs, separately and respectively, under the supervision of an EU Protector.

A European Conference (precedent, Congress of Berlin 1878), including the US and Russia, should set up the means of enforcement. These would consist of British and French troops already in Bosnia, reinforced by Turkish troops and German air and logistical support. Enforcement would be based on the well-tried Roman and German military methods of holding the rebellious Balkans with a relatively small number of troops (ie, by holding the main towns and the corridors between them and ignoring the outlaws in the mountains).

Why should the Bosnian Serbs accept such a solution? The secret lies in the extinguishing of the present Muslim government (recognised by less than 50 per cent of the population). This would eliminate the main Serbian grievance. More than 50 per cent of the Bosnian Serbs would co-operate, not to mention almost all the long-suffering Muslims and Croats, most of whom are sick and tired of this war.

My only concern is the salvation of Bosnia and if, by the way, various personalities, political parties and "governments" fall, so be it.

Yours sincerely,

Paul Tvrtkovic

London, SE3

18 July

The writer is a former spokesman for the government of Bosnia-Herzegovina in London.