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Source: articles from BosNet, July 13, 1995 (as sourced)
AMERICAN COMMITTEE TO SAVE BOSNIA, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, JULY 12, 1995: FOR MORE INFO CONTACT:Stephen Walker 202-737-2027
Americans Condemn UN Abandonment of "Safe Area," Call for end to arms embargo: WASHINGTON--Concerned Americans across the U.S. expressed their outrage today at the fall of Srebrenica, one of the UN-declared "safe areas." They blamed the UN for abandoning the demilitarized town in the face of the Serbian assault and NATO for failing to launch serious air strikes to deter or punish the attack. They called on the Congress and the President to immediately terminate the U.S. arms embargo against the Bosnian Government and for NATO to initiate a serious air campaign against Serbian forces.
"The disaster in Srebrenica is the UN's final failure in Bosnia," said DanBesse, a North Carolina lawyer and chairman of the American Committee to Save Bosnia's National Grassroots Advisory Committee. "It is now beyond dispute that it will not protect the Bosnians no matter how extreme the horror. If the President and his colleagues in Europe won't act -- and it's clear now they won't -- then Congress must do the only thing within its power to help the Bosnians: lift the arms embargo so that the Bosnians can at least defend themselves -- now!"
The American Committee's Washington office received phone calls throughout the day from outraged Americans across the country. "The 'ethnic cleansing'of 40,000 innocent civilians -- many of whom had already fled to Srebrenica from their original homes two years ago -- is one of the more abominable acts of genocide Serbian forces have committed," noted Steve Walker, a former U.S.diplomat and Director of the American Committee to Save Bosnia. "People around the country have been calling us because they are furious and disgusted with our government's failure to do even the limited things it can to stop this genocide -- lifting the embargo and bombing Serbian forces. The feeble response of the UN and NATO -- bombing just two tanks after Serbian forces have already taken most of the 'safe area' -- only encourages the Serbs to do more, which they will. People can't understand why President Clinton continues to believe that preventing the Bosnians from defending themselves against this aggression will somehow end this war. It will only result in more innocents being slaughtered and forced into exile."
Joyce Galaski, leader of Jews Against Genocide in Bosnia, charged that "Maintaining an arms embargo against the Bosnians has made us accomplices to genocide. Every day that we fail to lift the embargo compounds our complicity. The attack on the defenseless civilian population of Srebrenica makes this even more clear. Since the UN has clearly refused to defend theBosnians, we call on the President at long last to lift the arms embargo so that they can defend themselves."
Many grassroots activists were particularly moved by the humanitarian disaster brought on by the enclave's collapse. "Tens of thousands of innocent people have been forced into the mountains with no water or food, and they're just trying to find some refuge from the genocide," said Sheri Fink, Director of Students Against Genocide (SAGE), a national student coalition. "It's difficult to even imagine what they're going through. The President keeps saying that if the UN leaves and we lift the arms embargo, there will be a humanitarian disaster because the 'safe areas' will fall. Well, the UN was in Srebrenica, and knew the Serbs were coming, and look what happened. The UN doesn't even seem to care what is happening to those poor refugees. It can't get much worse than this. When will the President wake up?"
The American Committee to Save Bosnia is a network of over one hundred grassroots organizations, including student, humanitarian, religious, and citizen advocacy groups. It is a program of the Action Council for Peace inthe Balkans. P.O. Box 28265 Washington, D.C. 20038-0265 tel: 202-737-2027 fax: 202-737-1940e-mail: AmComSaBos@aol.com
OMRI DAILY DIGEST No. 135, Part I, II, 13 July 1995:
"ETHNIC CLEANSING IS APPARENTLY UNDER WAY." This is how the VOA on 13 July described the Bosnian Serbs' expulsion of 5,500 Muslim refugees from Srebrenica. Some 30,000 tired and frightened people sought shelter at the Dutch UN base at Potocari, which has been used by 200 peacekeepers. A UN spokesman said there is a "stable refugee situation" at the base, with 10,000 people inside and 20,000 outside, AFP reported.The Serbs on 12 July brought up nearly 50 trucks and busses under the personal supervision of General Ratko Mladic. Male Muslims aged between 16 and 50 were sent to Bratunac for "examination." Others were taken toTuzla, where 2,000 have arrived, or to Kladanj, where 3,500 people were dumped near the front lines and forced to walk for two hours across no man's land to Bosnian government positions. Many had bribed Serbian soldiers to be allowed on buses. The Serbs hold some 48 Dutch peacekeepers hostage. -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
REACTIONS TO THE FALL OF SREBRENICA. Reuters on 13 July quoted British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind as urging Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic to make the Bosnian Serbs "behave in a more civilized fashion." The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung cited remarks by Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic that his government probably will ask UNPROFOR to leave when its mandate runs out in November. The local Croats seem to be warming to the UN, however, with Hina saying their leader Kresimir Zubak has given the UN Rapid Reaction Force permission to use Croatian territory. Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic warned that "the longer the war lasts, the more inflexible the Serbs will become." He said that Srebrenica had been freed of "Muslim terrorists" and that "order and calm" now prevail in the former east Bosnian enclave, AFP noted. The Sueddeutsche Zeitung wrote that Srebrenica may prove to be a decisive event "like Waterloo or Stalingrad" in determining "the kind of world we live in." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
"INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY FAILED THE TEST": This is how Vesna Pesic, president of the Citizen's Union of Serbia, described the developments in Srebrenica, sharply criticizing the Bosnian Serbs, Nasa Borba reported on 13 July. But Vojislav Kostunica, leader of the Democratic Party of Serbia, said the Bosnian Serb army's latest move was an "act of self-defense." He claimed that NATO air strikes provoked the annexation of the enclave, adding that the peace mediators were trying to "extinguish fire with fuel." State-run Borba, however, claims that UN peacekeepers consider that the occupation of Srebrenica has freed them from a nightmare. -- Fabian Schmidt, OMRI, Inc.BOUTROS GHALI IN FAVOR OF MORE NEGOTIATIONS. UN Secretary-General Boutros Boutros Ghali, on the last day of his visit to Athens, said that despite continuing Bosnian Serb aggression, negotiations and maintaining the UN presence in former Yugoslavia is the only road toward solving the crisis, international agencies reported on 12 July. He said it is important "that we are condemning the offensive of the Bosnian Serbs against...Srebrenica and the violation of [UN] resolutions." Boutros Ghali added that a solution has to be found both for the problems of the refugees and "for the problem as a whole." He said he does not know if UN troops are in a position to take Srebrenica back from the Serbs or to defend the safe areas of Zepa and Gorazde, adding this has to be thought out by UN military officials in the area. -- Stefan Krause, OMRI, Inc.
UN SECURITY COUNCIL APPROVES RESOLUTION: The world organization's leading body on 12 July unanimously adopted a text calling on "both sides" to withdraw their armed forces from Srebrenica. Secretary-General Boutros Ghali has been authorized to use "all resources available" to reestablish the "safe area." The VOA suggested on 13 July that the resolution outlines no clear course of action and was passed simply because it was seen as "better than doing nothing." It may lead to more futile efforts at diplomacy and subsequent humiliation for the UN. TheBBC reported that there is no political will in the Security Council to evict the Serbs by force and that some UN officials are privately saying the fall of Srebrenica may help speed up a peace settlement. French tough talk is seen largely as posturing, despite Prime Minister Alain Juppe's comment to AFP on 12 July that "we cannot leave Srebrenica withour tail between our legs." -- Patrick Moore, OMRI, Inc.
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