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U.S. Will Introduce Resolution in U.N. to Lift Bosnian Arms Ban in 6 Months

October 28, 1994|STANLEY MEISLER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

UNITED NATIONS — U.S. Ambassador Madeleine Albright, acting under a controversial congressional mandate, will formally submit a resolution today to the Security Council to lift the ban on arms sales to embattled Bosnia-Herzegovina, a U.S. official said.

The resolution, the official said, will call for an end to the ban in six months. Many U.N. diplomats see little chance of council approval. Some predict that the Clinton Administration will never put the proposal to a vote.

But the American official insisted that the sentiment of other council members had not been fully tested.

"We want to see the formal reaction from the other countries," he said. "After we get the responses, we will decide what we will do and when."

Plans for the embargo resolution and a related U.N.-NATO "agreement in principle" on air strikes appear to be the last remnants of the Administration's early policy of advocating "lift and strike"--lift the embargo on selling arms to the Muslim-led Bosnian government while launching air strikes at the Bosnian Serb aggressors.

The "agreement in principle" on air strikes was worked out by negotiators from the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization at U.N. headquarters Thursday. U.N. officials said details will not be announced until the agreement is approved by the North Atlantic Council and Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

But it is understood that the two sides agreed that U.N. officials would submit three or four proposed targets to NATO planes when Bosnian Serbs violate exclusion zones of Sarajevo and Gorazde or endanger lives of U.N. peacekeepers.

It would then be up to NATO pilots to choose one of the targets for attack.

Under pressure from the Administration, NATO had said it wanted authority for a "more robust" response to violations--the right to attack strategic targets such as munitions dumps, arms factories and military headquarters.

But the United Nations, including its military commanders, have long insisted that retaliation must be "proportionate"--wiping out of a tank or artillery piece or other heavy weapon in violation of the exclusion zones.

Otherwise, the United Nations said, the Serbs would retaliate against lightly armed peacekeepers.

The U.S. Congress has passed a law providing that no U.S. money will be used to enforce the embargo, if the Security Council fails to approve the resolution by Nov. 15.

The resolution is opposed by Britain, France and Russia--all with veto power.

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