LETTER:Bosnia: when to withdraw

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The Independent Online
From Mr Mike Gapes, MP

Sir: Your newspaper today (News Analysis, 31 May) lists me, among others, as supporting the withdrawal of British troops from Bosnia. This is not entirely accurate. I would ideally continue to support the presence of British troops as part of the UN forces in a humanitarian role, while continuing efforts to secure a negotiated peace.

However, as a result of the air strikes last week, and subsequent events, that now appears to be in jeopardy. If the UN troops are no longer able to carry out humanitarian aid, whether backed by extra forces or not, the alternatives would then be stark - either incremental escalation with our forces sucked into becoming a participant in this war or withdrawal of our troops. Neither option is one I would choose. But since a solution cannot be imposed on unwilling warring parties, then in these circumstances I would favour withdrawal.

Yours sincerely,


MP for Ilford South (Lab)

House of Commons

London, SW1

31 May