Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Time to `Put Up' in Bosnia, U.S. Says

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Time to `Put Up' in Bosnia, U.S. Says

Article excerpt

President Bill Clinton said Thursday that the humiliated U.N. peacekeeping mission in Bosnia must prove itself a credible force or "its days will be numbered."

But the White House appeared to throw cold water on a French offer to try to take back Srebrenica by force, and it was unclear what Clinton thought the United Nations should do to recover from the loss of the enclave.

Clinton made his remarks as NATO Secretary-General Willy Claes declared the Srebrenica enclave "irrevocably lost" to Bosnian Serbs who overran the U.N.-protected "safe area."

Claes warned that one of the five remaining U.N. safe zones, Zepa, nine miles southwest of Srebrenica, also was in danger of being taken by the Bosnian Serbs. And the State Department said Gorazde also was likely to fall unless the major powers moved quickly to defend it.

France demanded that Srebrenica be retaken by force if necessary. French Foreign Minister Herve de Charette criticized the United Nations' handling of the Srebrenica siege, saying it had failed to ensure humanitarian aid or stop Bosnian Serb aggression.

Clinton called the siege "a serious challenge to the U.N. mission. It must either be resolved or there will have to be some changes there."

Clinton noted that he had supported European efforts to solve the Bosnian crisis but added: "There are serious problems now with this. Unless we can restore the integrity of the U.N. mission, obviously its days will be numbered."

Mike McCurry, the White House press secretary, said no timetable had been established for making such a decision. McCurry said it would be "obviously determined by what happens on the ground in many ways. That'll be a subject of discussion at the United Nations that will likely go on for some time."

He suggested that the deployment of a British-French-Dutch rapid reaction force could make the U.N. force more credible. …

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