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Non-Aligned Council Members Push Rearmament, Stall ‘Safe Havens’ Plan With

May 28, 1993

Non-Aligned Council Members Push Rearmament, Stall ‘Safe Havens’ Plan With PM-Yugoslavia-Sarajevo Day, Bjt

UNITED NATIONS (AP) _ Some members of the Security Council are pushing to let the Muslim-led Bosnian government rearm itself against the Serbs, stalling a vote on a plan to set up havens for Bosnian Muslims.

The United States, Russia, Britain, France and Spain had hoped to adopt a French draft of the haven plan by today.

But nonaligned council members, especially Islamic nations, are offering amendments and counterproposals, pushing the vote to next week. They want the Security Council to lift the arms embargo on former Yugoslav republics.

They got a boost on Thursday from U.S. lawmakers, mainly Republicans, who introduced a bill in Washington to lift the embargo and authorize President Clinton to provide up to $200 million in military aid to Bosnian Muslims.

The nonaligned council members fear the Western allies are trying to wash their hands of the crisis by adopting a haven plan that fails to roll back Serb territorial gains or offer real safety to Bosnia’s Muslims.

Bosnian Muslims reject the plan for the same reasons. Their president, Alija Izetbegovic, says the initiative would herd them into ″reservations.″

″One of the things we’re very unhappy about is the situation in those - quote-unquote - ’safe zones,‴ Pakistan’s Ambassador Jamsheed Marker said.

″From all the reports that we’re getting, perhaps they’re not being shot at, but short of that, everything else terrible that could happen to them is happening. There is starvation ... disease ... a lack of sanitation and water. It is a travesty to call them safe zones, it’s anything but that.″

U.N. officials in Bosnia painted a bleak picture Thursday of one of the proposed safe havens.

John McMillan of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees told reporters that Srebrenica is so lacking in shelter and sanitation it wouldn’t qualify as a refugee camp elsewhere in the world. Cmdr. Barry Frewer of Canada, spokesman for U.N. peacekeepers in Sarajevo, said there was a danger of epidemics in the area.

The nonaligned members also fear that the draft resolution does not guarantee that humanitarian aid can reach the havens, and they question how long U.N. troops will have to guard them.

They say that Washington and its allies seem to have shelved the U.N.-backed peace plan to divide Bosnia into semi-autonomous provinces - and force Serbs to surrender some of the territory they have captured - and are settling for ad hoc solutions without any overall plan for peace or justice.

The Clinton administration has pushed for lifting the arms embargo on the Bosnian government and launching air strikes against Bosnian Serbs attacking Muslim communities.

But after being rebuffed by European allies fearing an escalation of the ethnic violence in Bosnia, the United States and other allies came up with the safe havens plan.

The text of the French resolution asks Secretary-General Boutros Boutros- Ghali to recommend an expansion of the 9,200-member U.N. peacekeeping force in Bosnia. No specific size is suggested; options under discussion range from a small extra detachment of perhaps 500 troops up to a force requiring 40,000 extra soldiers.

The peacekeepers would be authorized ″to deter attacks″ on the safe zones in the Bosnian enclaves of Srebrenica, Gorazde, Zepa, Tuzla, Bihac and Sarajevo.

Taking note of Clinton’s offer of U.S. warplanes, it authorizes U.N. member-states to take ″all necessary measures, through the use of air power,″ to support the U.N. mission.

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