Letters: Bosnia embargo cut both ways

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Sir: Dr Salah Ezz (letter, 15 July) may be correct to claim that the UN-imposed arms embargo on the states of the former Yugoslavia "tied the victims' hands". However the question that those who opposed the arms embargo have not answered is what influence it had on the ability of the Bosnian Serbs to acquire weapons and other military supplies.

It is frequently claimed that the Pale regime had unlimited access to the supplies and stores of the old Yugoslav People's Army (JNA) but so far this remains unproven. Why did Mladic's men so frequently seize UN military equipment and remove their heavy weapons from UN storage sites if they had full access to JNA supplies? This suggests that the arms embargo helped to weaken the military effort of the Bosnian Serbs.

It may be that the forthcoming case brought by the Bosnian government at the World Court in The Hague will provide new information on this matter.


Director, United Nations Association

London SW1