The Union Democrat, p.4A
2 August 1993.
BRUSSELS, Belgium — The United States called its NATo allies to an emergency session today, warning it is prepared to go it alone if its partners remain opposed to allowing NATO aircraft to attack Serb positions in Bosnia.
The move would mark a dramatic escalation in the American role in Bosnia, which has been devastated by 16 months of civil war. Officials said military strikes against attacking Serb forces could occur within days.
“The United States is determined to act,” State Department spokesman Mike McCurry told an in-flight news briefing Sunday while on his way to the Middle East with Secretary of State Warren Christopher
“We certainly believe it is possible we will act within the NATO framework,” he said. But at the same time, “we have made it clear we are determined to act.”
Europeans have reacted coolly to the U.S. proposal. Britain questioned whether air strikes could lift the siege of Sarajevo, and France appears to oppose enlarging NATO’s role in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
So far, the only agreement among allies has been for the use of NATO air power to retaliate if U.N. peacekeeping forces in Bosnia are attacked, as has occurred at least twice in the last week.
NATO aircraft also patrol the skies above Bosnia, where they have enforced a no-fly zone that has gone largely unchallenged.
The United States, however, believes that a far more aggressive use of power would pressure Serbs to lift their siege of the Bosnian capital and permit the free flow of humanitarian aid to it and other besieged cities.
The announcement came as Bosnia’s Muslim president threatened to leave peace talks in Geneva unless Serbs halt their attacks on government positions overlooking Sarajevo and on the northern Bosnian towns of Brcko and Gradacac.
President Alija Izetbegovic reluctantly agreed Friday to a Serb-Croat proposal to divide the former Yugoslav republic into three ethnic mini-states. The agreement was accompanied by a cease-fire, which U.N. officials said remained largely intact Sunday despite the reports of fighting.