Manila Standard, p.16
22 January 1994.
SARAJEVO — Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic urged NATO to help lift the siege of Sarajevo and open Tuzla airport, two days after the United Nations ordered plans on possible air strikes against Bosnian Serbs.
After peace talks in Geneva ended with no solution to the 21-month Bosnian war in sight, France said on Thursday it would consult its European Union (EU) partners, the United States and Russia to review the impasse.
Izetbegovic told NATO’s deputy secretary-general, Amadeo de Franchis, in Brussels that the alliance could help to end the war through a “combination of negotiations and some military action against Serbian positions.”
“I insisted that they do something to open the airport of Tuzla for humanitarian reasons, he said. “I also insisted that they do something to end the bombardment of Sarajevo.”
Alliance sources said that de Franchis would immediately inform the ambassadors of the 16 nations that make up the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, but that at present at least they believed a new UN mandate was necessary for any use of force.
NATO leaders at a summit last week threatened to carry out air strikes to open Tuzla and to permit Dutch troops to relieve the besieged Canadian garrison in Srebrenica.
Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has said he has no objection to the troops swap at Srebrenica but was opposed to opening Tuzla airport because he said it would become a conduit for the smuggling of arms to Bosnian government forces.
UN Secretary-General Boutros-Boutros Ghali, who has told the Security Council that air power alone would not be enough, has asked his special representative in ex-Yugoslavia to prepare detailed military plans for the possible use of force.
The European negotiator in former Yugoslavia, Lord Owen, said he intended to stay on in his role despite a resolution by the European Parliament, saying the time had come to make a fresh start, urging the EU to replace him.
On the battlefront, all three warring sides in Bosnia clashed in flashpoint zones across the shattered republic, despite new accords on closer ties between rump Yugoslavia and Croatia, and Bosnia’s Serbs and Croats.
Croatian radio said Serb forces had attacked Croats in the Usora valley region in an attempt to cut off a vital road link between Doboj and Teslic. (Reuter)