LETTER:Unequal terms in Bosnia

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The Independent Online
From Dr. Salah Ezz

Sir: George Tintor's statement (Letters, 24 July) that "the Bosnian Muslims, not the Serbs, have initiated all the recent fighting" is ludicrous. By systematically blocking aid convoys of food and medicine to besieged "safe areas", it was the tactic of Radovan Karadzic's Serbs to starve the population into submission, a tactic which drove the Bosnians into desperate attempts to bring in relief.

His claim that it was the Bosnians' aim "from the start ... to draw Western forces into the conflict" is a distortion. The Bosnian government asks nothing more than the implementation of UN mandates. It made it clear "from the start" that it wants no foreigner to die for Bosnia.

His reference to "Muslim-ruled Bosnia" echoes the poisonous propaganda coming from Pale. The Bosnian government has always objected to being labelled "Muslim" and insisted on being referred to as "Bosnian", serving Bosnians of all religions. This is evident by the fact that only in government- controlled areas can one find Muslim-Catholic-Orthodox co-existence.

Finally, Mr Tintor's call for pressuring "all parties in Bosnia to negotiate directly with each other on equal terms" is mischievous. There are no "equal terms" when one party, with a gun held to its head and its women either raped or waiting to be raped, is pressured to "negotiate". Equality in negotiations comes only after establishing equality in strength on the battleground.

Yours faithfully,

Salah Ezz

Oxford

24 July

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