This Week: French general dismissed, Clinton haggles with Congress, Clinton activates Reserves.
4 Dec 95
Clinton met with relief and human rights organizations to discuss the Bosnian operation.
France recalled General Bachelet, its commander in Sarajevo, following his criticism of the Dayton peace treaty. French Foreign Minister de Charette tried to smooth things over, saying France “will have the means to enable the Serbs of Sarajevo to stay.”
56 British commo troops arrived in Split, Croatia, from Bruggen, Germany.
The Bosnian Serbs scheduled a referendum on the Dayton peace accord for December 12 — two days before the final signing of the treaty in Paris.
Three British aircraft landed in Sarajevo. Two Americans were among the 28 NATO troops that disembarked. 735 US personnel will be in or on their way to Bosnia by the end of the week, with another 730 headed to Croatia. About 3,000 US personnel will arrive by rail this week in Kaposvar, Hungary, to set up a logistics and staging site. In all, 20,000 US personnel will be in Bosnia, 7,000 in Hungary and Italy, and 5,000 in Croatia. 127 American medical troops are actually returning to the US. The US has staffed a MASH in Zagreb since November, 1992. The Americans will be replaced by a Czech unit.
5 Dec 95
Clinton may visit Sarajevo to demonstrate how committed the US is toward the peace process. If he goes ahead with the trip, it would take place right after the final peace accord that is to be signed by all parties in Paris on December 14.
6 Dec 95
The first US military flight landed in Tuzla, bringing a 12-member liaison team tasked with maintaining a link with UN peacekeepers until they are replaced by NATO. Of the 700 US advance troops only 41 have actually arrived in Bosnia. Ten planes carrying British troops arrived in Sarajevo, despite being delayed by heavy snow.
NATO foreign and defense ministers, meeting together for the first time since 1979, endorsed the plan to send 68,000 troops to Bosnia. All NATO countries and at least 14 non-NATO countries — Austria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden and Ukraine — are expected to participate. Talks are continuing with Bangladesh, Egypt and Malaysia.
US Secretary of State Christopher said NATO forces will apprehend war crime suspects “if they do something to obstruct the process” of ensuring peace in Bosnia, but he added NATO will not seek them out.
British Defense Secretary Rifkind echoed French sentiments, noting that “practical measures” should be taken to meet the concerns of the Bosnian Serbs in Sarajevo, which has been assigned to the Bosnian-Croat federation.
Serbian President Milosevic may attempt to oust Bosnian Serb President Karadzic around the time the final peace treaty is signed in Paris on December 14. The Dayton peace accord prohibits indicted war criminals like Karadzic and his military commander General Mladic from holding public office. Milosevic is obliged to carry out the agreement. Speculation on a successor centers on Bosnian Serb Vice-President Koljevic. Though Koljevic is often portrayed as a moderate, former US Ambassador Zimmermann described him as “directing artillery fire on the civilian population of Sarajevo.”
President Chirac reiterated France’s threat that if its missing pilots “were not released in the coming days, France would be forced to draw all the appropriate conclusions”. The pilots were last seen in Bosnian Serb custody, but were reportedly “kidnapped”.
7 Dec 95
Thousands of Bosnian Serbs stomped on the American flag in a demonstration held in the Sarajevo suburb of Ilidza. The protest was well organized.
Clinton canceled his potential post-treaty visit to Sarajevo, but did not rule out the possibility of a future visit.
184 Congressmen sent Clinton a one-sentence letter saying, “We urge you not to send ground troops to Bosnia.”
The Yugoslav Foreign Ministry rebuffed the French demand that President Milosevic ensure the quick return of France’s two missing pilots. The statement rejected “all tendentious interpretations of the incident.”
A two day conference on the implementation of non-military aspects of the Dayton peace agreement began in London. Foreign ministers from over 50 countries and international organizations will take part. Prior to the conference, UN Secretary General Boutros-Ghali said the UN will play an important role in post-war Bosnia. He added that the primary task of the UN will be facilitating the return of displaced persons, protecting human rights and the participation of UN civilian police in Bosnia.
The Bosnian Serbs agreed to permit free movement of traffic, after blocking UN-escorted civilian convoys to Gorazde earlier this week. The Serbs relented after UNPROFOR commander General Smith threatened to shell the Serbs if they continued to block traffic. Access to Gorazde is especially important since its 60,000 residents are surrounded by Bosnian Serbs and are entirely dependent on outside aid for survival.
8 Dec 95
After Clinton signed the Presidential Selective Reserve Callup (PSRC), the US Army ordered 481 Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers to active duty under a plan to send up to 3,800 of those troops to Bosnia.
Bosnian Serbs are torching and looting houses near Gorazde. The houses are in the sliver of Serb territory due to be handed over to the Bosnian government so that it has a corridor from Sarajevo to the currently surrounded town. About 200 Bosnian Serbs from Ustikolina, outside Gorazde, are moving to Foca rather than live under Bosnian government control.
The UN protested the eviction of Muslim families by Serbs in northern Bosnia.
US Secretary of Defense Perry said “we believe that the Bosnian government and people have suffered atrocities and killings, and we don’t approach [implementing the Dayton peace agreement] as psychologically neutral.” He added that the US will nonetheless try to be “evenhanded”.
The US is urging the Bosnian government to send home the roughly 2,000 Mujahideen fighting in the country. The Islamic fighters are from countries throughout the Muslim world, particularly Afghanistan. Diplomats believe the irregulars are likely to cause problems for implementing the peace settlement.
The OSCE, at a two-day meeting of its foreign ministers in Budapest, took on the greatest challenge in its 20-year history by agreeing to oversee elections, arms control and human rights in Bosnia. But it failed to agree on an individual to head its mission, with France opposing the US candidate. Many delegates expressed doubts as to whether the OSCE, which has few resources of its own, is up to the job. “Even if the military operation succeeds to the extent that you can establish security on the ground, it will not succeed if you don’t manage to get elections going, to get the reconstruction of civil society,” said OSCE Secretary-General Wilhelm Hoynck.
9 Dec 95
Col. Jozsef Ronkovics, a department head at Budapest’s Lajos Kossuth Military College, was appointed commander of Hungary’s 500-strong technical contingent that will be part of the Bosnian peacekeeping forces. Defense Minister Gyorgy Keleti said the Hungarian contingent will be under British command and will help build and maintain roads and bridges.
Speaker of the Bosnian Serb Parliament Krajisnik said insisted that President Karadzic attend the Paris peace conference on December 14. Note: Can you say “power struggle”? Why else would Krajisnik want Karadzic to go to Paris. knowing as he does, that Karadzic is a wanted war criminal who would is subject to immediate arrest the moment he sets foot outside of Serbian territory.
“Today in the Balkans, we don’t have war but we don’t have real peace … NATO must not underestimate the hatred, mistrust and enmity on all three sides.” (Richard Holbrooke, US envoy)
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