U.N. Rejects Air Strikes Against Bosnian Serb Guns
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, p.A3
8 May 1995.
10 killed in Serb shelling of Bosniak city of Sarajevo
13 wounded in Serb shelling of Bosniak city of Tuzla
3 dead, 4 wounded in Serb shelling of Bosniak city of Gradacac
2 killed, several wounded in Serb attack on Bosniak city of Maglaj
By The Associated Press
U.N. officials refused yesterday to authorize air strikes against Bosnian Serb artillery positions ringing Sarajevo, U.S. officials said.
The U.N. commander in Bosnia, Lt. Gen. Rupert Smith, requested the strikes one day after a Bosnian Serb mortar attack killed 10 people in a Sarajevo suburb.
Madeleine Albright, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, criticized U.N. officials in Zagreb — the headquarters of the senior U.N. civilian in the region, Yasushi Akashi — for refusing Smith’s request.
“I have to say that I fail to understand the logic behind turning down such a request given the kinds of activities that have been taking place in and around Sarajevo,” Albright said.
She vowed to press senior U.N. peacekeeping officials for an explanation, saying, “This issue is not closed.”
A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said NATO jets were in the air when the decision not to strike was made.
Sarajevo is a U.N.-protected “safe area.” All Serbian heavy weapons within a 12.5-mile zone around the city are banned or must be placed under U.N. control.
Mortar blasts shoot Sarajevo, and hospital officials in government-held Tuzla in northern Bosnia said 13 people were hurt by two shells yesterday. Tuzla is also a U.N. safe area.
For the first time in months, U.N. officials confirmed that Bosnian Serb tanks fired on government positions, blasting off seven rounds north of Sarajevo in violation of the heavy weapons exclusion zone supposed to exist around the city.
Bosnian state-run radio reported three dead and four wounded in shelling of Gradacac, a town near Tuzla. In an unconfirmed report, the radio also said two people were killed and several wounded in an artillery attack on government-held Jelah, near Maglaj in norther Bosnia.