U.S. rejects France on plan to impose peace on Bosnia

January 25, 1994|By Los Angeles Times

PARIS -- Secretary of State Warren M. Christopher rejected yesterday a French proposal that the United States, NATO's European members and Russia impose a settlement on the warring parties in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

In talks with both Foreign Minister Alain Juppe and Prime Minister Edouard Balladur, Mr. Christopher made clear that the United States is not willing to impose a deal on Bosnia's Muslim-led government.

He also said the French proposal implies an ultimatum that could involve deployment of hundreds of thousands of foreign troops as enforcers if Bosnia's Serbs, Muslims and Croats refused to comply.

Washington has long refused to commit American ground troops except to help enforce a peace that all sides voluntarily approve.

In Washington, President Clinton said the Bosnian factions are "going to have to make up their own mind to quit killing each other. I don't think that the international community has the capacity to stop people within that nation from their civil war until they decide to do it."

The United States does not believe any imposed solution would stick since most of the cease-fires have not held.

The French proposal indicated growing concern in France about its 6,000 troops in Bosnia, the largest contingent in the 15,000-strong U.N. force.

The French also believe the resolutions of the recent summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have little chance of being implemented soon. The NATO members adopted a tough line on the use of air strikes if requested by U.N. commanders in Bosnia.

"What we see now is that the situation is in deadlock, impasse," said Richard Duque, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry. "We think that joint efforts by the Europeans, the United States and also the Russians are needed to get out of the current deadlock."

Washington and Paris also have a basic difference of opinion about the Bosnian Muslims, whom Washington views as the aggrieved party.

The French view Bosnian Muslims as the party dragging its feet over proposals to divide the country among its three main ethnic components.

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