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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

French Urge Major Rethink on Bosnia

PARIS -- France called Thursday for the European Union, the United States and Russia urgently to consult on the war in Bosnia following the failure of peace talks in Geneva.


Foreign Minister Alain Juppe, saying it was time to review the whole situation, told reporters:


"That means thinking about the need to draw the conclusions from the parties' obstinate determination to gain through war what we want them to achieve by peace."


Juppe, speaking after briefing the National Assembly's foreign affairs committee, said he would contact France's EU partners, the United States and Russia in the next few hours and days.


He did not indicate whether France would propose any action, but Foreign Ministry spokesman Richard Duque later told reporters:


"The possibility that UNPROFOR (the U.N. Protection Force) could pull out at the end of the winter has been considered here and there It is an option among others."


The latest round of peace talks ended in Geneva on Wednesday no nearer a deal to halt the Bosnian war.


Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic, whose forces have had increased success on the battlefield in recent months, said he was not going to be maneuvered into accepting a peace deal he did not like.


Speaking to Sarajevo radio after the talks broke up, the Moslem leader said: "It was two quite difficult days which finished with a stalemate, as they say in chess. I'm personally satisfied.


"We repeated our request for territory," he said. "But the Serb side was not ready for any kind of concession."


Aside from France, several other countries seemed to be contemplating pulling troops out of Bosnia.


The European Union's mediator, Lord David Owen said after the talks that Canada, was "seriously contemplating its withdrawal."


British Foreign Secretary Douglas Hurd was scheduled to arrive in Bosnia on Friday to consult with British commanders on how to withdraw , according to British press reports. Spain was also said to be leaning in that direction.


France's Juppe sought to play down controversy over the departure of the French commander of UNPROFOR in former Yugoslavia, General Jean Cot, whose removal was demanded by Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali after they clashed publicly.


"There is just a regular rotation," he said. Cot will leave his command by March 31, when the U.N. force's current six-month mandate expires.


Cot had come into conflict with Boutros-Ghali over his repeated calls for authority to order air strikes.


Boutros-Ghali told the Security Council Wednesday that he opposed the use of NATO air power against Bosnian Serb forces.


NATO had last week reaffirmed its readiness to carry out air strikes to lift the Serb siege of Sarajevo, open the airport in Serb-besieged Tuzla in northern Bosnia for relief operations, and facilitate rotation of Canadian U.N. troops in the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica.