U.N. Chief Calls Troops a Last Resort in Bosnia


Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, while counseling another try at peaceful persuasion, told the Security Council on Wednesday that it may be necessary as a last resort to send U.N. troops into Bosnia-Herzegovina to move supplies to civilians trapped in besieged cities.

But Boutros-Ghali, in a report sent to the 15 members of the council but not yet publicly released, warned that "combat missions . . . would be extremely difficult and expensive."

The report reached the members as anger mounted over news of the massacre in a market in Sarajevo earlier in the day. The council appeared ready to impose trade sanctions on Serbia later this week or early next week.

Boutros-Ghali made it clear that he was not recommending military action but only laying out the options. "It is for the Security Council to decide whether to deploy United Nations troops, in sufficient strength and with the necessary mandate, to undertake armed protection of international humanitarian aid," he said.

The secretary general counseled that "a more promising course would be to make a determined effort to persuade the warring parties to conclude and honor agreements permitting the unimpeded delivery of relief supplies to all suffering civilians."

But, while professing to see some recent signs of cooperation by Serbia, he called the "performance" of the warring parties in honoring their signed agreements in recent weeks "lamentable."

In describing the military options, the secretary general said U.N. troops could be sent to clear the way and then escort relief convoys going into Bosnia-Herzegovina. To do this, he said, the United Nations would have to secure several hundred miles of roads and establish an 18-mile defense perimeter around Sarajevo, the capital.

His assessment of the humanitarian problems was grim. "The devastation of Bosnia-Herzegovina continues," he said, "and . . . the displacement of the civilian population from its towns and villages is proceeding on a scale not seen in Europe since the Second World War."

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