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Follow-on Bosnia Force Options Pending

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

BRUSSELS, Jan. 23, 1998 – How many troops will remain in Bosnia after the stabilization force mission ends in June? Will the number drop substantially or remain the same? Will the mission remain the same?

These are some of the questions NATO military authorities are working to answer. They're slated to present an options paper to the North Atlantic Council, NATO's decision-making body, at the end of January, a senior NATO official here said Jan. 23.

In December, President Clinton announced U.S. troops will participate in a follow-on force, pending approval of the NATO plan. He said all NATO allies must agree to the mission's objectives, size and duration, and hinged U.S. participation on such key criteria as the plan being achievable and tied to concrete milestones.

Once the military committee outlines the options, North Atlantic Council members will discuss the choices and consult with troop-contributing countries in the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, the NATO official said.

NATO aims to pick an option in February, obtain a U.N. Security Council resolution, and have all the plan details worked out in March to permit a smooth transition from the stabilization force to the as yet unnamed successor, the official said.

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