Clinton Begins Congressional Consultation On Bosnia
President to host bipartisan leaders today at White House
By Wolf Blitzer/CNN
WASHINGTON (Nov. 4) -- President Bill Clinton has invited the bipartisan congressional leadership to the White House today to begin the formal process of consulting with Congress on the possibility of keeping U.S. military forces in Bosnia beyond the June 1998 deadline.
Administration sources say the extension is likely, and that U.S. and NATO military leaders would have to begin the planning process for the new or extended force in the coming weeks.
When U.S. troops were ordered to participate in NATO's stabilization force, known as "SFOR," as part of the Dayton peace process, Clinton and other top policymakers said the goal would to have them out by next summer.
But in recent weeks, the president has not ruled out the possibility of U.S. troops remaining beyond the deadline. The NATO allies have warned that they, too, would leave Bosnia without U.S. participation in the force.
Administration aides insist Clinton has not reached any final decision yet but is anxious to discuss the matter with the congressional leadership.
Keeping U.S. forces in Bosnia beyond next summer is, of course, controversial. House Speaker Newt Gingrich and others in Congress have warned against any open-ended stay for U.S. troops and have demanded formal consultations before any final decisions are reached.
Also expected to be discussed at today's meeting is Iraq's threat to shoot down U.S. spy planes and the barring of United Nations weapons inspections teams.
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Tuesday Nov. 4, 1997
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