LETTER:Withdrawal of United Nations peace-keepers would lead to carnage in Bosnia

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From Mr Tim Winter

Sir: In weighing the costs of a possible UN withdrawal from Bosnia, Andrew Marshall does not mention the only certain consequences of such a decision ('Spectre of withdrawal closer", 29 May).

The first would be the death by starvation of the two million civilians in central Bosnia who at present rely on the international aid effort. Their deaths, which would weigh directly on the consciences of the UN and our politicians, would in effect represent the extermination of Europe's largest Muslim community, with grave consequences for our relations with the Islamic world.

The second would be the rapid disarming of the retreating Unprofor troops by local militias, thereby releasing large quantities of advanced and heavy weaponry into the region. The UN would in effect have raised its own arms embargo.

Third, charities that were working in Bosnia before the arrival of Unprofor, and will continue to do so in the event of its departure, would be at greater risk from violence and hostage-taking. The toll of British casualties, far from being frozen by a withdrawal would, in our view, mount significantly.

Yours sincerely,



Bosnia Aid Committee of Oxford


29 May