Christopher and U.N. Chief Discuss Bosnia War : Balkans: No specific options are pressed. U.S. proposal of troops for Macedonia gets only tepid support at world body.


Secretary of State Warren Christopher brought the range of the Clinton Administration’s ideas on dealing with the Bosnian civil war to U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali on Wednesday but neither received nor requested support for any proposal, Christopher told reporters.

“We probably spent as much time on the Sahara as we did on Bosnia today, and much more time on Haiti,” Christopher said after a 90-minute session with Boutros-Ghali.

The secretary of state painted the meeting as a wide-ranging discussion that did not focus on specific proposals. “We reviewed the (Bosnian) situation with the secretary general, but we did not take any action; none was proposed and none was taken.”


One of President Clinton’s proposals--the possible dispatch of U.S. troops to the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia--did receive support in the corridors of the United Nations, but it was tepid. And most ambassadors made it clear in private that they looked on the proposal as irrelevant.

Lord Owen, a former British foreign secretary who had joined former U.S. Secretary of State Cyrus R. Vance in fashioning a peace proposal for Bosnia, told reporters that the present force of more than 700 peacekeepers in Macedonia appears adequate.

But, Owen added, “I’m not adverse to the idea of the United States going into the former Yugoslavia,” and he had no objection if the Americans felt “it’s easier to go into Macedonia.” The United States has no combat troops among the peacekeepers in the region, and the European Community, which Owen represents, called on it this week to deploy some there.

Clinton, who raised the possibility of sending Americans to Macedonia in remarks to reporters Tuesday, did not say how many troops he had in mind.

Peacekeeping troops have been stationed in Macedonia as an unprecedented form of what the United Nations calls preventive diplomacy to discourage the spread of violence into that republic.

Without elaborating, Clinton talked Wednesday of other new steps in the next few days. In a telephone interview with New York radio talk show host Don Imus, the President said: “I think that you’ll see that over the next few days we will be able to take some more steps that will make peace more likely and will make the confining of the conflict more likely.”


Later in the morning, Clinton conceded that he had so far failed in his efforts to enlist European governments in his plan to lift the arms embargo against Bosnian Muslims and bomb selected Bosnian Serb targets.

He insisted that he hadn’t backed off the military plan and would continue to try to persuade others to go along.

“No, I haven’t changed my views,” Clinton said in response to a question after a Rose Garden ceremony. “I just don’t know if I’ve changed anyone else’s.”

At the United Nations, the Security Council met in closed session but took no action on a Russian proposal to station U.N. observers on the border between Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The observers would monitor the effectiveness of the embargo that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic claims to have imposed on all arms and other nonessential goods going to the Bosnian Serbs.

Milosevic says he wants to pressure the Bosnian Serbs into accepting the Vance-Owen peace plan, which will be submitted to a referendum this weekend.

Times staff writer John M. Broder, in Washington, contributed to this report.