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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Tells U. S. It Will Send Men To Bosnia

MOSCOW -- Russia told the United States on Wednesday that it would send peacekeeping troops to Bosnia if rebel Serbs accepted a U. N. -sponsored peace plan and implied that it would back the use of force if they refused.


In the Bosnian town of Pale, the self-styled Bosnian Serb parliament met late into the night to discuss whether to accept the U. N. plan.


Russia and the United States issued a joint statement after U. S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher held talks with Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev.


They said they were prepared to commit "appropriate military forces of their own to assist in peacekeeping endeavors" if the Bosnian Serb's assembly approved the U. N. plan dividing the former Yugoslav republic into 10 ethnically based cantons.


"If it is not accepted and implemented, Russia and the United States will immediately resume discussion of new, tougher measures. No measures are pre-judged or excluded from consideration", the statement said.


At a joint news conference after the talks, Kozyrev spelt out in more detail than before Russia's willingness to send troops to implement the plan devised by mediators Lord Owen and Cyrus Vance.


He said they would play a special role guarding a land corridor linking Bosnian Serb territory and Serbia itself.


"I am glad to be able to reiterate the commitment of Russia to provide necessary troops and monitors to be sure the corridor is safeguarded", Kozyrev said.


In a statement, Yeltsin said Russia would give "strong support to those who honestly take the path of peace on the basis of the Vance-Owen plan".


But he added that Russia would not "indulge anyone who left it". He said Moscow expected the Bosnian Serb parliament to show "a sense of responsibility" and approve the plan.


Moscow has deep historic links with Serbia and its recent pro-Western line has angered conservatives in the Russian parliament who see it as a betrayal of Orthodox Serb allies.


Christopher is touring European capitals to enlist the support of allies for military measures against the Serbs if they reject the peace plan at a crucial session on Wednesday.


Christopher later flew on to Brussels for talks with NATO and the European Community.


However, in Moscow, as previously in London and Paris, he failed to win specific commitments to use force.


Each country seemed more anxious to encourage the Bosnian Serbs to accept the plan and put off until later the question of what to do if they reject it. Kozyrev said unspecified threats were more menacing than specific ones.


"In Christian tradition", he said, "it is rare that Hell is described in specific terms, it is even more threatening and meaningful if Hell is used as something which will follow sins".