Will there be new NATO peacekeepers in Bosnia?
July 20, 1996
Web posted at: 10:55 p.m. EDT (0255 GMT)
From Correspondent Vicki Barker
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (CNN) -- NATO will decide
whether to replace its peacekeeping force in Bosnia with
fresh troops, but not until after the September 14 Bosnian
In an exclusive interview with CNN Saturday, IFOR commander
Adm. Leighton Smith said the North Atlantic Council will
assess the atmosphere of tensions -- or lack thereof --
following the voting.
The 60,000-strong peace implementation force, known as IFOR,
was created in 1995 to monitor the peace agreement in the
war-torn republic. Its mandate expires December 20.
Smith said although some overlap may be likely, the follow-up
force would replace outgoing NATO troops. If that happens, he
stressed the need for a clearly focused mission with enough
manpower and resources to do the job. Any new force must
operate under the same rules of engagement and mandate that
IFOR has had.
Sources have said that scenarios for a possible replacement
NATO mission will focus on a more streamlined force, with a
smaller number of troops and a smaller percentage of U.S.
The timetable for IFOR's withdrawal will be decided after the
elections, although IFOR will remain at a constant troop
level until September 14, Smith said. How rapidly troop
numbers decrease after that will depend on the post-election
environment. Smith ends his command on July 31.
On the subject of war criminals, Smith once again stressed
that IFOR does not have a mandate to pursue indicted
He said rather than focus on alleged war crimes by
high-profile suspects such as Bosnian Serb leader Radovan
Karadzic and his commander, Gen. Ratko Mladic, the
international community and parties to the peace agreement
should focus on bringing all war criminals to justice.
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