September 20, 1995
Web Posted at: 10:45 p.m. EDT
From White House Producer Kevin Bohn and wire reports
NEW YORK (CNN) -- United Nations and NATO commanders issued a joint statement late Wednesday announcing a suspension of air strikes against the Bosnian Serbs.
The statement came after allied officials determined that the Bosnian Serbs had complied with U.N. demands to remove heavy weapons from around Sarajevo.
The joint statement by NATO commander Adm. Leighton Smith and Gen. Bernard Janvier, commander of U.N. forces in the Balkans, warned that air strikes would resume of the Serbs attacked Sarajevo or other U.N.-declared safe areas.
"Notwithstanding the above decision (on air strikes), at this point, Admiral Smith and General Janvier emphasize that any subsequent attack on Sarajevo or any other safe areas, or other non-compliance ... would be subject to investigation and resumption of air strikes," the statement said, according to Reuters.
In a written statement Wednesday, President Clinton welcomed the decision.
"The U.N. and NATO commanders are in agreement that the Serbs have completed the required withdrawal of heavy weapons from the exclusion zone," the president said. "I welcome this development. The NATO air campaign in Bosnia was successful."
Clinton tempered his praise with a warning. "Let me repeat what I have said before: Renewed attacks on Sarajevo or the other safe areas, or any Serb non-compliance with their commitments, will trigger a resumption of NATO air strikes."
Clinton also cited the success of the strikes. "They show, once again, that firmness pays off. We all are proud of the American and allied air crews who conducted the NATO operation with such bravery and skill."
The focus should now shift to a permanent, peaceful solution, the president said. "The time has come to end the fighting for good and begin the task of reconciliation and reconstruction in the Balkans."
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