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Monday, 1 July, 2002, 21:02 GMT 22:02 UK
Bosnian press voices new uncertainties
UN Security Council
Allies are now arguing in the Security Council

The US decision to veto the renewal of the UN mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina has caused consternation both among Bosnian officials and media.

The Sarajevo-daily Dnevni Avaz says the stand-off over the future of the UN police-training mission is set to have serious repercussions for the whole region, even if the separate Nato-led Stabilisation Force (S-For) peacekeeping mission continues uninterrupted.

The paper warns that the decision could soon lead to the withdrawal of around 3,000 US soldiers from the 17,000-strong force Nato-led peace-keeping force in Bosnia.

The Bosnian-independent daily Oslobodjenje is also pessimistic, but takes a more cautious approach, saying the US at least has not threatened so far to withdraw its soldiers from the Nato-led mission.

The Balkans have become the theatre of previously-unseen diplomatic confrontations.

Oslobodjenje

The paper describes the atmosphere surrounding the latest events in New York as reminiscent of "the old times when the world was divided into two blocks and the big world powers engaged in serious rows about events in a third country".

But the difference is, the paper notes, that now the allies like the USA, Britain and France are "vigorously fighting each other" while Russia and China observe the situation from aside and occasionally try to make "a constructive contribution".
US soldier on guard
US could withdraw its 3,100 soldiers

"The Balkans have become the theatre of previously-unseen diplomatic confrontations", the daily says, adding that:

"Despite continuous efforts on all sides, Washington, London and Paris have failed to produce a joint solution not only for the major problems surrounding this mission but also for other peace-keeping missions in the world".

Catastrophic consequences

In the Bosnian Serb Republic, the Nezavisne Novine daily warns that the US withdrawal form the Nato force could have "catastrophic consequences".

Similar concerns are expressed by Bosnian Government officials.

The US withdrawal from Nato would have catastrophic consequences.

Nezavisne Novine

"The suspension of the UN mission could bring into question all the other international community achievements in Bosnia-Herzegovina," the Bosnian Serb news agency SRNA quotes the chairman of the Bosnia-Herzegovina state government, Dragan Mikerevic, as saying.

In case this happens, he says, "all efforts should be directed towards the quick deployment of EU units in order to avoid a gap."

Hopes placed in Security Council

Other officials have expressed hope that a compromise solution can still be reached.

Bosnian Foreign Ministry spokesman Amer Kapetanovic told the Serbian news agency FoNet he remained hopeful, as a sudden end to the S-For mandate "would create a gap, and Bosnia-Herzegovina hardly has funds or human resources to fill it."

The spokesman of the UN mission in Sarajevo, Stefo Lehman, meanwhile told the Nezavisne Novine he believed that the Security Council would "find ways" to renew the UN mission.

And Bosnia-Herzegovina Foreign Minister Zlatko Lagumdzija stressed in comments reported by the same paper that peace and stability in the region "should come before any other interest."

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

See also:

01 Jul 02 | Europe
01 Jul 02 | Americas
01 Jul 02 | Americas
01 Jul 02 | Americas
24 May 02 | Country profiles
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