WASHINGTON — The Clinton administration will allow 214 Bosnian Muslim refugees to resettle in the United States from Serbia, where they have lived in appalling conditions since they fled their country's war last summer.
State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said Wednesday that the 214 are drawn from about 800 Bosnian Muslims, mostly soldiers, routed from the United Nations "safe areas" of Srebrenica and Zepa by attacking Bosnian Serb rebels. The Muslims were incarcerated as they arrived in Serbia.
Refugees who have since left the internment camps reported that the Muslims were malnourished and abused, Burns said. Most have elected to seek refuge outside the Balkans.
The first 50 accepted by the United States were arriving Wednesday.
Australia has agreed to accept 103, France 70 and Ireland an undetermined number, Burns said. He said other countries are being asked to allow resettlement as well.
"It's a tragedy that these people were caught up not only in the attack and the slaughter around Srebrenica and Zepa, but in the conditions in which they've had to live for the last five months," Burns said.