Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clinton Warns Senate on Bosnia Lifting Embargo May Escalate War and Draw U.S. in, He Tells Gop

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clinton Warns Senate on Bosnia Lifting Embargo May Escalate War and Draw U.S. in, He Tells Gop

Article excerpt

Struggling for control over foreign policy, President Bill Clinton warned Senate Republicans Tuesday that lifting the embargo on arms shipments to Bosnia would be a "futile effort" that might draw America into the ethnic conflict.

"Unilateral lift means unilateral responsibility," Clinton said in a letter to Capitol Hill, referring to congressional demands for the United States to act on its own to help the beleaguered Bosnians defend themselves. "Congress would undermine efforts to achieve a negotiated settlement in Bosnia and could lead to an escalation of the conflict there."

But lawmakers, frustrated by continued Bosnian Serb aggression in Bosnia and dissatisfied with last weekend's NATO response, appeared bent on following the House vote earlier this year overwhelmingly in favor of ending U.S. participation in the U.N. embargo.

Senators agreed to vote on the measure this afternoon after Democrats supporting the administration position resisted Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole's push for a vote Tuesday night.

Secretary of State Warren M. Christopher and Secretary of Defense William Perry held what Christopher called a spirited meeting of the Senate Democratic caucus to explain administration policy. Christopher said the Senate was acting "in an atmosphere of enormous frustration."

Meanwhile, Republicans emerged from their floor strategy session alleging that the administration had lost control of foreign policy.

The administration responded that if the Republican-led Congress wanted to take over Bosnia policy, it must be prepared to accept the consequences. The point was aimed particularly at Dole, R-Kan., co-sponsor with Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., of the proposal to lift the embargo. Unlike many Senate actions on foreign policy issues, the measure was not just a sense-of-the-Senate resolution, but a binding bill.

"If Dole prevails, the likelihood is that the (rebel) Serbs will launch an attack and the question is whether or not the Congress will stand by and watch the Bosnian government be overrun," Christopher said. …

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