Russia Opposes a ‘Religious Crusade’ in Aid to Bosnians

<i> From Times Wire Services</i>

Russian Foreign Minister Andrei V. Kozyrev said Sunday that the United Nations will only accept moderate Muslim countries as peacekeepers in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Meanwhile, nearly 70 tank and mortar rounds slammed into a base for U.N. peacekeepers in Sarajevo, and fighting raged in several parts of Bosnia on Sunday, threatening a truce meant to pave the way for peace talks on the beleaguered republic.

Kozyrev, attending a meeting of Asian foreign ministers in Singapore, was responding to a reporter’s question about offers by Iran and the Palestinians to send troops to protect Muslims from attacks by Serbs in Bosnia.

“I believe it’s important to avoid even a semblance of religious crusade, be it Muslim religious crusade or any other” in and around Bosnia, Kozyrev said.


But, he said, there is room for participation by any Muslim country that “sticks to a peacekeeping concept rather than jihad (holy war) or crusade.”

In Bosnia, the latest cease-fire was only hours old when 68 artillery rounds hit the U.N. base at a stadium used for the 1984 Sarajevo Winter Olympics.

U.N. spokesman Cmdr. Barry Frewer said Sunday’s shelling destroyed four vehicles and damaged eight at the U.N. base, the operations center for 150 French peacekeepers brought in to help set up the Sarajevo “safe area.” “It is a miracle no one was killed or wounded,” Frewer said.