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Source: CERES Newsletter, April 1996

BOSNEWS Digest 334

AMERICAN COMMITTEE TO SAVE BOSNIA ACTION ALERT, July 12, 1995: SREBRENICA FALLS, ZEPA MAY BE NEXT: Serbian forces overran the so-called "safe area" of Srebrenica July 11. UNPROFOR apparently knew for days that Serbian forces planned to take the enclave but refused to allow even close air support from NATO until yesterday. NATO tried to discourage Serbian forces from overrunning UN peacekeeping troops in the enclave by launching pinprick air strikes against just two Serbian tanks. Dutch UN peacekeepers are now apparently trapped in the northern part of the enclave. Tens of thousands of Bosnian refugees are reportedly fleeing north of the "safe area." As many as 40,000 Bosnian civilians were thought to have been in Srebrenica prior to this latest assault, most of them refugees from ethnically cleansed towns in eastern Bosnia. The difficult mountain roads may make it impossible for the elderly, the sick, and the young to reach safety. UN sources report the refugees have enough food and water for just one day. As you may recall, Bosnian Army units defending Srebrenica surrendered their heavy weapons to UN forces two years ago under a de-militarization agreement, leaving the town completely dependent upon UN protection. Srebrenica has now become the first of the UN-designated "safe areas" to fall into Serbian hands. Flushed with success, Serbian forces have now increased their shelling of Zepa, ten miles southwest of Srebrenica, and have threatened to take the"safe area" within two days.The fall of Srebrenica represents the final failure of UNPROFOR. With civilians starving in Bihac and all but one of the remaining "safe areas" under intense siege, it is clear that the UN is unwilling to fulfill its mission in Bosnia and will not allow NATO to use air strikes to protect "safe areas." The only option remaining is to withdraw the UN and lift the arms embargo against Bosnia. Then NATO will have no excuse not to launch serious air strikes.
ACTION REQUESTED: The best way to express your outrage at the fall of Srebrenica is to ensure that the Dole-Lieberman bill (S.21) to lift the arms embargo passes next week by an overwhelming majority (67 or more votes in favor). As of today, we believe there are 53 in favor and 16 undecided or merely leaning one way or the other. We must do everything we can to make sure this bill passes with an overwhelming majority! Call or fax your Senators and tell them that the fall of Srebrenica provides more evidence that Congress must act now to end the immoral U.S. arms embargo against Bosnia. Ask them to co-sponsor and aggressively support the Dole-Lieberman bill. Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121. Then, get your phone trees ready for the vote, which will likely take place early next week. Key Senators to Target: Ashcroft (R-MO) Boxer (D-CA) Bryan (D-NV) Byrd (D-WV) Chafee (R-RI) Coats (R-IN) Cochran (R-MS) Coverdell (R-GA) Dodd (D-CT) Dorgan (D-ND) Faircloth (R-NC) Frist (R-TN) Harkin (D-IA) Leahy (D-VT) Thomas (R-WY) Wellstone (D-MN) ACSB also asks that you call the White House comment line at 202-456-1111 to let the President know you are outraged at this abandonment of tens ofthousands of innocent civilians and that you hold him personally responsible. Demand immediate and large-scale punitive air strikes against Serbian positions and an immediate lifting of the arms embargo. Also, write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper condemning the UN's failure to protect Srebrenica and urging support for the Dole-Lieberman bill. Remember to call the ACSB Bosnia Hotline at 202-319-7189 for regular updates on the situation in Bosnia and on Capitol Hill. The Hotline is updated Tuesday and Friday evenings and more frequently as needed. ACSBP.O. Box 28265 Washington, D.C. 20038-0265 tel: 202-737-2027 fax: 202-737-1940 e-mail:

Date: Thu, 13 Jul 1995 From: Nermin Zukic, Contributed by Fred Korsboen <>
The falling of Srebrenica, July 13, 1995:
This afternoon, I saw the news of the assault of fascism on Srebrenica. The military situation is grave; 30,000 Bosnians and some number of government troops have been chased out of the town. The only hopes against Karadzic's guns are the fact that Dutch troops are also trapped, and whatever concessions the Serb-supremacists may be able to obtain and find worth trading for the lives of their captives...oh, and way down there, the likelihood that Western-U.N. forces might take significant action. If Srebrenica falls, it is a black event of world history. But there is a dichotomy here so severe, that it is absurd. The Bosnians of Srebrenica face more days of more horror. Death and humiliating death, a death of human spirit is close at hand, hunting them with superior weapons. For three years these people have lived in this surreal, death-soaked, pain-absurd world. When a Bosnian dies at the hands of Karadzic's hordes...whether it is from sniper or shrapnel, a decapitation or starvation, after rape or after sexual mutilation...something far worse besets the victim. They have been caught vulnerable by petty, weak, evil individuals; lost a power struggle with that sort of human, who has exacted the ultimate personal triumph of extinguishing their life. This humiliation is only the culmination of the day after day world of watching each other die in just that way. Appropriately, this world is called "safe areas."

The other side of the dichotomy is the stable portion of the outside world; most of the world outside of xYugo...such as the comfort of my computer terminal. Here the people do their things...the government, military, and political people do their things...only the journalists breach this side of the world and report the news of slaughter and injustice in Bosnia. This side survives while the other side has unfortunately won the lottery of social development, and must be sacrificed to some gods of the 1990's. Christ, what gods are they being sacrificed for? Our contemporary social system has some rough edges that grind to bits the people in the wrong place at the right time. Who is guilty? Is all or part of the outside world guilty for this crime?

Yes. Many individuals in many sectors are complacent towards the death of Bosnia, and more powerful ones are cynical towards it. Especially in the West, the relative comfort undeniably helps impel this. When complacency towards the plague...the several Warsaws...of our time, coincides with persons who are relatively wealthy and secure, there is a connection. This indicates a moral deficiency in the cells and circles of society and this is one factor in policy direction. But the sources of this thinking and especially of policy direction, stem from much more of society's structure than the mere distribution of wealth and security.
The major political trends that traditionally impact American foreign policy are in positions that accommodate the war against Bosnia. Most of the Democrats are following Clinton's policy. Equivocating all the way, Clinton has brought about a gradual but carefully metered strengthening of Bosnia's military position. The attacks on the isolated and essentially undefended "safe" areas are a sign of the desperation, morale crisis, and military weakness of the Pale regime. But a gradual strengthening of Bosnia doesn't mean it will survive; and thousands don't survive and won't survive. Mr. Clinton has talked of reducing deaths from 100,000 a year to 3,000 a year. Here is an actual god...who pronounces from his lofty throne how many thousand of which race will die this year or next...that the Bosnians are being sacrificed to.
The Republicans' grandstanding about the arms embargo has done virtually nothing for the Bosnian people--much less than even Clinton's equivocating. The procedures of Congress, the procedures of running a presidential campaign, the procedures of posturing for a unilateralist agenda--all these procedures have been undertaken but not one extra bullet or piece of bread has made it to Bosnia.
Pushing to "lift the arms embargo" is something we should all do, and seek all possible help for this, including of Republicans and politicians. The reason is that it applies pressure towards assistance for Bosnia by one or more big powers. But the layers of demagogy and deceit surrounding this issue in government circles mean that the arms embargo can be "lifted" many times without significant benefit to Bosnia.
In fact, in our absurd world, the arms embargo has already been lifted once. Last year, Congress voted to lift it, to stop U.S.-commanded forces from enforcing it, and Clinton carried through. U.S. ships stopped enforcing it. Of course, ships of other Western powers continued to enforce it, and U.S. forces under NATO command also continued to enforce it. gets deeper...the participation of U.S. forces in the arms embargo may be of some help to Bosnia, in that it appears from reading the tea leaves of diplomatic rumor and gossip, those forces have helped leak air shipments of light arms, bankrolled by Muslim-majority countries, into Bosnia. Our god hath some mercy, though sparing in its bestowal. "Here is an M-16, my son, and thou shalt only be smitten of 3,000 this year...if my plan holds up."
Meanwhile the Republican shouters who want to lift it again, pretend as if no foreign military action is necessary along with lifting the embargo. Not only must the West cede secure airspace to the arms and aid shipments, but the Bosnian "safe" areas must be defended with foreign military assistance at first, or most will fall. The Republicans, so far, oppose U.N. military operations and propose no alternative American one; this logic in operation would mean catastrophic slaughter and strategic setback to Bosnia.
The supremacist Warlord has six Warsaw ghettos surrounded with rings of heavy arms. The inhabitants are nearly completely disarmed; the frontlines of Bosnian territory are a distance away. No politician is sufficiently naive to believe that these can be protected without foreign intervention. Srebrenica highlights the absurdity and cynicism of the "no intervention" arguments.
The politicians should shit or get off the pot. Either an all-round effort is made to secure Bosnian people in the safe areas and arm Bosnia to turn the tables of the war, or the warlord regime is allowed to continue to snuff the people in hopes of a settlement that will leave it in de facto control of a portion of Bosnia.
The lesser force on foreign policy, the pressure-group impact of the peace movement and left-wing milieus, has spit on the Bosnian struggle. Bosnia has been described as the Western left's "fall from grace," and so it is. While this trend is generally inactive on any issue, there are significant persons spread through various organizations who articulate anti-Bosnia reasoning and have put the kibosh on any little things that could be contributed. The complacency among many people is fed by the silence of the left, which has traditionally signaled internationalist and progressive foreign policy.
During the cold war, the Western left pushed a relatively coherent support for anti-colonial struggle, anti-militarism, and other concerns of social justice in foreign policy. But with the end of the cold war situation, this left has mainly shown itself to be callous towards any measures of assistance to regions in serious crisis--Bosnia, Haiti, Somalia.
The quite small number in the safe world, that are for one reason or another tuned in to Bosnian conflict, are full of anger. We are full of anger, but lack levers to change policy. We have watched three years of executions. We have watched the machete executions carried out by the Hutu-supremacists and their Catholic pals. We have proven to ourselves over and over that the levers are not ours to reach.
I can't argue with that fact. But as Srebrenica teeters, I tell myself that once again, I will go over all the possibilities, all the people I can talk to, all the little things that might be done. I suggest that Bosnetters do the same, and use e-mail addresses you see on Bosnet to get in contact with others. Maybe there is some coordination and effort you can contribute. People make their own history, but it's a MF.--Fred Korsboen (Seattle)

US Defense Secretary William Perry had this to say about the situation in Bosnia-Hercegovina: "Let me start out by saying, Jamie, that I am outraged by the actions of the Bosnian Serbs in attacking without provocation. Attacking the U.N. forces in Srebrenica. These were Dutch U.N. forces who were there on a humanitarian mission and there was no basis at all for them being attacked by the Bosnian Serb forces. Nevertheless that has happened and therefore the Dutch commander of that force called for close air support. That was authorized by the U.N. and therefore NATO has responded. The response was by U.S. aircraft and Dutch aircraft. And they have responded by providing support by the Dutch forces on the ground and by attacking the tanks which were threatening those forces. Now that's the current situation. I cannot really describe more than that because the operation is still ongoing. The Dutch forces are still in danger. The NATO Air Arm is still available and may be called on to provide more strikes..." Replying to a question about possible UN withdrawal from Bosnia, Perry said: "This raises the question as to whether the U.N. force will be able to continue to stay in Bosnia to perform a humanitarian mission. When they are attacked by military forces it obviously prejudices their ability to carry out this humanitarian mission. At the same time, the United Nations has agreed to provide strengthening of support for those U.N. forces through the so-called Rapid Reaction Force. And British, French and Dutch forces are going in to Bosnia, even aswe speak, to strengthen and protect the U.N. forces from these kinds ofattacks. I can't forecast how that's going to turn out in the next fewweeks. But it's very clear that the viability of the U.N. providingthat mission is at issue here... And if the forces do leave, we are facing the prospect of a humanitarian disaster." -

In another example of what appears to be empty rhetoric, UN's Security Council Wednesday asked Secretary General to "use all resources available to him to restore the status...of the safe area of Srebrenica." Bosnia's acting ambassador in UN, Ivan Misic, commented the Council "has produced paper after paper that is certainly questionable." Those who suggested military intervention to restore Srebrenica's status were deterred by Boutros-Ghali's chief military adviser. "With the existing resources on the ground it would be impossible to take on such a massive task," said Brig. Gen. Frank van Kappen. Van Kappen said a 12,500-member reaction force equipped with artillery and mortars has not yet been fully deployed. "The international community can in no way accept the questioning of the status of the safe areas...We are ready to make our troops available for any realistic and realizable undertaking," claimed French Ambassador Jean-Bernard Merimee. "Over time and with experience, Bosnian Serbs have learned the limit of the commitment of the international community, the limit of combat power available to deter attacks against those 'safe areas'... What happened yesterday has told them even more about...the practical value of troops we have on the ground," said Lt. Col. Gary Coward, a U.N. spokesman in Sarajevo. Bosnian President Alija Itzetbegovic, angered by the failure to protect Srebrenica, demanded action by the United Nations and NATO to recapture it. "This is deplorable," said a U.N. spokesman in Tuzla to the northwest. "We are talking about people who are badly in the need of medicine and food. They had nothing to eat for 24 and more hours." U.N. envoy Yasushi Akashi claimed U.N. troops would not help to "ethnically cleanse" Srebrenica of its 30,000-40,000 starving refugees. "We were told (Mladic) is not taking "no' for an answer," he than added. Bosnian President Izetbegovic said Bosnian government was unlikely to renew the U.N. mandate in Bosnia when it expired in November. "We're still considering the option to ask them to leave before," he added. The European Union's peace envoy to former Yugoslavia, Carl Bildt, said that "a withdrawal of the U.N. means only paving the way for a longer, a wider and a more brutal war, and I can't see really that being in the interests of anybody." Nationalist Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, also an alleged war criminal claimed: "Srebrenica is our country...It is simply a terrorist stronghold and we couldn't tolerate it any longer."

British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind commented on the most recent developments in "safe haven" of Srebrenica: "Our overall objective should remain, despite the difficulties, to restore Srebrenica as a safe area, but on the basis of the genuine demilitarisation agreement of April 1993." The structure for a political solution remained in place but he warned: "They have to recognise that negotiating time is running out." Mr Rifkind said UN humanitarian achievements had been "remarkable" and it was "crucially important that that huge benefit is not recklessly thrown away because of other disappointments and other frustrations...I entirely accept that there is a limit to what you can achieve unless you are prepared to cross that Rubicon and become a combatant in a war...That the UN is not prepared to do." Shadow defence secretary Dr David Clark condemned the nationalist Bosnian Serbs' seizure of Srebrenica as an "outrageous act of aggression, which places the lives of thousands of innocent people in jeopardy". He said: "We are in close touch with our allies and friends about the next steps and I have instructed our Charge in Belgrade to speak to President Milosevic...Our priorities are, firstly to get food, water and medical help to the displaced persons in the Potocari area and to offer any help to the Dutch that they need, secondly to safeguard the other enclaves and in particular the British forces in Gorazde and thirdly to pursue action in the UN Security Council in response to this Bosnian Serb aggression." "Members of this House will nevertheless share my concern about the safety of British troops there [in Gorazde]... I can assure the House that we are in constant touch with Unprofor (United Nations Protection Force) commanders on the ground about developments and we shall take appropriate measures to safeguard the security of our troops." "I will be discussing with him [Carl Bildt, the new EU negotiator] how he can use his channels to the parties to help stabilise the situation in Srebrenica, as well as his broader objectives of a negotiated settlement to the Bosnian conflict." He also commented on UNPROFOR contributions: "This remains the position...There is no question about the value of Unprofor's work. This is the largest peacekeeping operation in the history of the UN... They have saved tens of thousands of lives ... They have contained the conflict, which threatened a wider Balkan war." "Unprofor is not configured to fight a war. We must rely on the judgment of UN commanders on the ground as to whether they remain able to carry out their mandate... Withdrawal must remain an option." British Defense Minister, Dr Clark told the House: "What has happend in Srebrenica came about because there was a mismatch between the commitments given by the world through the UN and the resources made available by the countries that make up the UN." But he also urged Mr Rifkind: "it is imperative that this cannot happen again -- it is no use making pious claims unless other countries in the world are prepared to try to ensure that there is enough force to ensure that those aims are adhered to". Mr Rifkind replied: "I certainly agree that it is necessary when the UN Security Council expresses a policy that those who vote for that policy and support that policy provide the means of implementing it...I am proud that the UK is one of those countries that has responded both in the spirit and to the letter of what has been called for." "The French have indicated publicly their interest in a possible military response to reverse the situation in Srebrenica. We are awaiting from them more information as to the details of what they have in mind." Liberal Democrats' Menzies Campbell said Srebrenica's "sad history" demonstrated "to call an area a safe area without either having the political will or the military resources to keep it safe is worthless... Is it not now time to try to re-establish the last vestiges of the authority of the UN in Bosnia?" "Has not the time come to reconsider ... the question of the restraints on the so-called Bosnian Muslims from defending themselves more effectively?" Mr Rifkind replied: "The fundamental problem remains, as it has always been, that it is not possible to reconcile the UN lifting the (arms) embargo with a continuing UN presence in Bosnia." "What is at stake isn't just Bosnia, and not just the poor innocent civiliansfleeing at the moment, but the credibility and authority of the UN itself. If this gang of brigands, (Radovan) Karadzic's Serbs, get away with cocking a snook at the international community, that is a recipe for international anarchy."

David Winnick (Lab Walsall N) said the situation was the most humiliating in the UN's history. "Responsibility lies with the sheer lack of resolve on the part of the leading democracies in dealing with criminal aggression." Foreign Secretary Rifkind also claimed support aid deliveries into Sarajevo: "We are entirely willing to support any proposal that (Unprofor chief) Gen.Rupert Smith or the force commanders believe would be capable of delivering aid to Sarajevo or any other part of the country that requires it... If they conclude there is a realistic way of delivering aid through the Mount Igman route we will be very happy to support them." Labour's Kate Hoey (Vauxhall) complained: "Could you give me one example of when the Serbs have kept to their word? Is it not now time to lift the arms embargo and allow the Muslims to defend themselves?" Labour's Andrew Faulds (Warley E) urged Mr Rifkind "to ask our chaps in Gorazde whether they want to take action against the criminal activities of the Serbs, because if the Government hasn't got them, those chaps have certainly got the guts and the balls to do it". Labour's Robert Wareing (Liverpool W Derby) claimed: "We have got to look at this situation quite clearly, that it is a civil war and the UN has no possiblity of solving anything by taking one side." Mr Rifkind disagreed, saying it was acknowledged the Bosnian Serbs were primarily responsible for the aggression. George Galloway (Lab Glasgow Hillhead) said Muslims believed "that if there were oil flowing in the streets of Srebrenica rather that just blood, 29 countries would very quickly have assembled a vast armada of armies and air forces to come to the rescue of a sovereign state, a member of the UN, being invaded and subjected to brutal aggression... Why has the sovereign state of Bosnia-Herzegovina not been defended in the way the sovereign state of Kuwaitwas?"

German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel on Wednesday asked Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev for help in Srebrenica crisis. "I asked Andrei Kozyrev for Russia to use its influence as far as is possible with (Serbian President Slobodan) Milosevic and (Bosnian Serb army chief General Ratko) Mladic so that the Dutch hostages can be released and the refugees can be supplied with food and medicines," Kinkel said."The situation is threatening and looks extremely bad...We must make sure that Zepa (a safe area) is not taken by the Serbs," Kinkel added. Chancellor Helmut Kohl condemned nationalist Bosnian Serbs: "The Serbs have crossed a new boundary... The (Bosnian) Serbs are more and more becoming outsiders in the world."

European mediator Carl Bildt said on Wednesday: "I don't think you can ever give up on the efforts to achieve a negotiated politcal settlement because at the end of the day it has to be sorted out... There aren't any military solutions." "I can't really see that. We are at a turning point where we need to consider how to pursue the political process and how to continue with the U.N. operation. There might be changes in both of these... but a withdrawal of the U.N. means only paving the way for a longer, a wider and a more brutal war and I can't see really that being in the interests of anybody," he said. "We have a moral duty to pursue the political process however slim the chances are," Bildt added.

"The logic followed by those officials who took the decision for air strikes is incomprehensible," an unnamed Russian foreign ministry source said. "These strikes were not necessary...The Serbs were warned of the possible strikes beforehand. There can be no complaints here," the source said. Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev said Moscow used leaks by anonymous high-ranking officials in his ministry to project policy. "We'll wait to see how the situation develops. With the help of this law, we will be able to express our position and will signal that it is time to undertake measures," said Vladimir Lukin, head of the Duma's foreign affairs committee. "Sanctions against Yugoslavia should have been lifted a longtime ago."

White House spokesman Mike McCurry said French proposal for military intervention was being discussed at the United Nations. "We're going to be in discussions with the French government to understand better what the president (of France) is proposing... We will have discussions with our allies on that subject... It is not clear how, it's not clear what military resources are available for military action."
"The Security Council must decide on both diplomatic and possibly military measures to restore this security zone," French Prime Minister Alain Juppe previously said.

Dutch Defense Minister Joris Voorhoeve acknowledged his government's helplessness on events in Srebrenica. "Liberating imprisoned Dutch peacekeepers I would not recommend, politically or militarily. They must be freed by negotiation..."
"People point to international obligations... but are they more important than the lives of Dutch soldiers?" De Telegraaf, Dutch largest newspaper, said in an editorial.
"We gravely underestimated the task," said Lt. Paul Makken of the Royal Dutch Air Force's department of international policy. "We went into Bosnia in a classic idealistic frame of mind, thinking of helping the oppressed... It's a turning point. At the beginning, there were enthusiasm and idealism knowingthat we are making a contribution. But the majority of Dutch would favor a pull out now," added Makken of the Air Force.

"One U.N. enclave has been captured and we have other similar enclaves in the same dangerous position... The situation is threatening and looks extremely bad...We must make sure Zepa (a safe area) is not taken by the Serbs...We do not have very much time left and we must decide soon whether we are in a position to keep U.N. troops there," Kinkel said. "I hope that it will be possible as I fear an even worse military conflict which would make it impossible to get supplies to the population, who are are in dire need and in flight at the moment... It is a terrible outrage for the people to have to bear," Kinkel said.

UNPROFOR spokesman Yuri Shishaev reported heavy shelling in Zepa: "I understand Zepa is coming under similar pressure to Srebrenica... We had reports yesterday of quite a lot of shelling and probably ground fighting on the outskirts of the enclave, but we do not yet know the position this morning." Lt-Col Hawgood, speaking from the British Army base in Split, commented on the situation in Gorazde: "The town has been under fire constantly with very little relief. The shelling is not directly onto the UN base, but the base is so close to the town that there have been occasional very near misses. A mortar fell into the base on Monday and five British soldiers sustained light flesh wounds from shrapnel, but did not need hospital treatment. They were very lucky, because the guy whose bed the shell landed on was in the shower at the time."
"The shelling has continued for four or five weeks at a rate of a few shells an hour and the Gorazde troops have lived and slept in their bunkers. At the moment, there are no signs that the Serbs are planning to take Gorazde, but it is an assumption that we are certainly preparing for. "Gorazde was actually quite quiet yesterday up to about 2pm, when the shelling started in the town. Shelling of the town itself has lightened recently. "Morale among the Fusiliers is very good, considering what the guys are going through and the arduous conditions they are under. They are a group which has got a very high esprit de corps and they have come through what they have come through very well."

"This is treachery by the United Nations and international community... This tragedy is terrible, but I expected something like this to happen after the U.N. took the weapons from Srebrenica soldiers and not from the Serbs too. I didn't expect Serbs to sit still," said Sarajevo's shopkeeper Asim Ploco of Srebrenica's fall. "Srebrenica was sold by the world...It was a safe area and all of a sudden the gates were open and Serbs flooded in," a women nearby commented."Srebrenica was given away to the aggressor," read Oslobodjenje's headline." After Srebrenica there is no more U.N. dignity, no point to its mission, no more safe zones," the editorial said. The president of the Srebrenica People's Association in Sarajevo, Murat Efendic, said: "Srebrenica has always been a "joker' in Serbs' hands. They have always threatened to take it and this only confirmed that the world did not want to protect Srebrenica... Bosnians were cheated by the whole world when the safe zones were established and now we are paying the price."

"We cannot be this afternoon in the position of giving them free advice from the outside when they are the ones with troops on the ground," US State Department spokesperson Nicholas Burns told reporters of the French initiative. "We are talking to our allies now, those NATO allies who have troops on the ground (in Bosnia), to try to ascertain what they plan to do next...Once those decisions are made the United States would be fully supportive of decisions made by our our utmost capabilites within the limits which we have expressed for some time," Burns said. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Jesse Helms (R-NC) charged that Srebrenica's fall exposed "the farce that the U.N. presence has become." He added US administration "must stop hiding behind the U.N. and ...the recalcitrance of our European allies as an excuse for inaction." Sen. Helms called President Bill Clinton to "show some backbone" and arm Bosnia's government. "In 1991 and 1992 (Bosnian Serbs) displayed for all the world to see brutal tendencies toward people they had taken captive," State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said. "We are sending a public message that the Bosnian Serbs have a humanitarian responsibility to treat these people well."
"We are talking to our NATO allies that have troops on the ground to ascertain what they plan to do next. We cannot be in a position of giving them free advice from the outside when they are the ones with troops on the ground." The White House, spokesman Mike McCurry said there was still will to maintain peacekeepers in Bosnia. ``There is some sense that the (U.N.) presence there is vital to helping relieve the humanitarian situation there, which is now surely worsening...''
``The alliance is determined to continue working closely with the United Nations and will continue to make NATO airpower available in support of U.N. missions,'' a NATO HQ statement said.