Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Perry: Serbs Have Won Airstrikes Won't Help, Defense Secretary Says

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Perry: Serbs Have Won Airstrikes Won't Help, Defense Secretary Says

Article excerpt

The Serbs have effectively won the war in Bosnia, and NATO air power cannot change that course, Defense Secretary William Perry said Sunday.

"It seems that the Serbs have demonstrated military superiority on the ground," Perry said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

He said he saw no prospect of the Bosnian government winning back any of the 70 percent of the country held by Serbian forces.

In other developments Sunday:

Rebel Serbs pounded the outskirts of Bihac in northwestern Bosnia. The commander of U.N. forces in Bosnia, Gen. Sir Michael Rose, said the 24,000 peacekeepers may withdraw if the military situation continues to deteriorate.

The Bosnian government said it would accept a U.N. proposal for a Bihac cease-fire, demilitarization of the "safe area" and withdrawal of forces, said Michael Williams, spokesman for Yasushi Akashi, the chief U.N. envoy in former Yugoslavia.

Perry said even if the U.N. authorized more NATO airstrikes to punish the Serbs for their aggression, "The airstrikes cannot determine the outcome of the ground combat."

Perry also emphasized that U.S. ground troops would not become involved in hostilities in Bosnia and that the 2,000 Marines on three U.S. warships in the Adriatic Sea would be used only for contingency and rescue operations.

"The possibility of downed aircraft and pilots needing rescue is not remote," Perry said.

It has also been suggested that the Marines could participate in any evacuation of U.N. soldiers from Bosnia, but Perry did not address such a possibility.

Dole Blasts U.N. Policy

Senate Republican Leader Bob Dole, also on "Meet The Press," called the international effort to end the war a "classic failure" and urged that the U.N. peacekeeping mission there be terminated.

Dole, R-Kan., a strong critic of the administration's Bosnian policy, said it "may be time to get the U. …

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