Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

France Pressures U.S. On Bosnian Solution

PARIS -- France on Tuesday renewed its plea for international diplomatic action to persuade Bosnia's warring factions to accept a negotiated settlement despite an apparent rebuff by the United States.


Hours after U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher left Paris having refused to put pressure on the beleaguered Moslem Bosnian government, the French Foreign Ministry appealed to Washington to join a combined diplomatic drive with the European Union and Russia.


"We stressed that the risk of a military escalation appears ever greater," Foreign Ministry spokesman Richard Duque told reporters in a briefing on the Franco-American talks.


"There must be pressure on the Serbs to accept quantitative and qualitative territorial concessions. There must be pressure on the Croats to grant the Moslems access to the (Adriatic) sea. And the (Moslem) Bosnian side must be convinced that they will not find a solution by pursuing the path of war but only through negotiation," he said.


Christopher told French leaders bluntly on Monday that Washington was not willing to pressure the Moslems to accept an imposed settlement, since it viewed them as the aggrieved party.


French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe hit back in a New York Times interview, saying: "If the Americans do not convince the Bosnian Moslems that they must stop fighting and that there is no chance that the United States would come to their rescue, then the United States will give them incentives to pursue the fighting on the ground."


"It would be a catastrophe. And we say to our American friends that they will be responsible for this," he said.


In Bosnia, meanwhile, Croat forces unleashed artillery and rocket fire, attacking Moslem positions on a main supply road, U.N. officials said Tuesday.


It was the first big assault in more than two months by Croat separatist forces in central Bosnia, where they have suffered reverses at the hands of Bosnia's Moslem-led troops.


U.N. military spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Bill Aikman said a "significant battle" raged after Croat Defense Council units surged out of the town of Prozor toward government-held Jablanica on Monday.


In Belgrade, there were signs of preparations to intensify the fighting in Bosnia, including the military call-up of Bosnian Serb refugees.