Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

...As European Leaders Open Door to Prospect of Armed Intervention {Cf. UN Ponders Steps for Bosnian Relief.}

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

...As European Leaders Open Door to Prospect of Armed Intervention {Cf. UN Ponders Steps for Bosnian Relief.}

Article excerpt

FACING rising public demands to save Sarajevo as well as today's United Nations Security Council meeting on the three-month-old siege, European Community leaders have agreed to support toughened measures - including military intervention if necessary - to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches Bosnia-Herzegovina's capital.

Meanwhile in a surprise move, French President Francois Mitterrand traveled to Sarajevo yesterday to try to secure a cease-fire, but he was forced to take cover in the airport when renewed fighting broke out.

With the United States and UN moving toward forced humanitarian assistance, Mr. Mitterrand's last-ditch attempt is designed to avoid international military intervention.

It also is a means of convincing European and especially French public opinion that Europeans can take action and are not dependent on the US to be effective in their own backyard.

Saturday's historic decision by the 12-nation Community envisioning participation in eventual UN-led military action in Sarajevo was reached after hours of difficult discussion and was taken with no enthusiasm.

For one thing, the Yugoslav debate pulled European leaders' focus away from internal issues, including a response to Denmark's recent rejection of a pending treaty for deeper EC integration, a divisive budget debate, and the next round of Community enlargement. There also was some discomfort that the Yugoslav crisis is forcing the EC into decisions it is not ready for.

"{The Community} has reached a fork in the road a little before the fork in the road," said Mitterrand, speaking for those in the EC who say too much is expected of a community of nations whose political development is still only "embryonic."

In suggesting possible military action in Bosnia, EC leaders were firm that every effort should be made first to secure a cease-fire around Sarajevo's airport.

Mitterrand said any European participation in eventual military action would be through Western European Union forces.

As in the past, the British remained most reluctant to consider a military option. "We are anxious to deal with the problem," said British Prime Minister John Major, but "we are equally aware of the very grave difficulties {of} proceeding in the absence of a proper cease-fire."

Although EC leaders settled neither their ongoing budget debate nor the problems presented by Denmark's "no" vote on the Maastricht Treaty, they did agree that official negotiations for the membership of at least four new Community members - Austria, Sweden, Finland, and Switzerland - can begin in 1993. But they stipulated that Maastricht must be ratified and a budget solution found before the membership talks can start.

The issues of Maastricht and the EC budget are intimately intertwined. When the EC completed negotiations on the Maastricht Treaty in December, it agreed that its four poorest members - Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Greece - should receive additional Community money, called "cohesion" funds, to offset the hardships of meeting the treaty's requirements for monetary union and to ensure that development disparities among EC countries continue shrinking. …

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