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Bosnia: Creating an Environment of Hope
Remarks by Defense Secretary William Perry , Center for Strategic and International Studies followed by selected questions and answers, Washingto, Thursday, December 07, 1995

Defense Issues: Volume 10, Number 104-- Bosnia: Creating an Environment of Hope America's defense chief acknowledges the NATO Bosnia peace mission presents risks, but he says even greater risks will arise if the United States reneges on its leadership commitment.


Volume 10, Number 104

Bosnia: Creating an Environment of Hope

Remarks by Defense Secretary William Perry at Center for Strategic and International Studies followed by selected questions and answers, Washington, Dec. 7, 1995.

Thank you very much. ...

This is December the 7th. It was 54 years ago that the war in the Pacific started. Fifty years ago, our troops were coming home from the Pacific. As America welcomed them back, we had no idea what the future would hold, but one thing we did know and knew well, and that was that the security of America was forever linked with the security of the rest of the world.

In 1938, after Hitler had annexed the Sudetenland, [British Prime Minister] Neville Chamberlain said, and I quote, "It was incredible that life in Britain could be impacted by a quarrel in a faraway country between people of whom we know nothing."

Contrast that statement with President [Franklin D.] Roosevelt's statement made just before he died. Roosevelt said, "We have learned that we cannot live alone at peace. Our own well-being is dependent on the well-being of other nations far away."

Both of them referring to faraway nations, but in a very different context.

These two distinctly different world views clashed a half century ago, and they clash still today. Let me talk about Bosnia.

From the beginning, many have said that we, the United States, have no business getting involved in the civil war in Bosnia, a faraway land, indeed a land that has people names and place names we can't even pronounce. That view, I believe, was summarized well, I believe, four years ago by then-Secretary of State [James] Baker, who captured it in a particularly homey way. He said, "We don't have a dog in that fight."

Contrast that with the view of others, who, from the beginning, believed that we, the United States, should have entered that war years ago to defend the Bosnian government from a war of aggression by the Serbs. They evoked images of the Spanish Civil War, and they said, "Send not to ask for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

The public debate today is confused by a misperception that the administration has moved from this first view, namely, that Bosnia has nothing to do with us -- to the second view, that we should intervene. That is not correct. And if I do nothing else today, I would like to clarify that misperception.

The administration view consistently for the last 2 1/2 years has acted on a belief different from either of those views; namely, that we would not enter the war to impose a peace. We took that view because we believed that to do that would require several hundred thousand American troops and would entail thousands of American casualties. But that did not mean that Bosnia had nothing to do with the United States. Instead, we said we would take strong steps to minimize civilian casualties, all the while working to achieve a peace settlement.

That first step has had relatively good success. Civilian casualties dropped from 100,000, over 100,000 in 1992, to 12,000 in '93, to just over 2,000 last year. Nobody is celebrating 2,000 casualties, but the effort, the very substantial effort by the United States and the NATO nations to reduce the civilian casualties, was in fact successful.

Now finally, the determined effort to negotiate a peace agreement has been successful. For the first time in four years, there is a real prospect of stopping the killings and the atrocities. But all of the parties in Dayton [Ohio] who accepted this agreement accepted it only on the conditions that the peace would be implemented by a NATO-led military force and that the United States would ... participate in that force, indeed provide the leadership for it.

Without U.S. participation in the peace implementation force, the parties would withdraw from the peace agreement and we would see a resumption of the killings and the atrocities. Therefore, we will participate.

I understand all too well the risks to our soldiers who will be in the implementation force, and I have discussed them fully and frankly with those soldiers who are going to go. Two weeks ago, I met with 700 soldiers from the 1st Armored Division. This is going to be the backbone of U.S. ground forces that deploy to Bosnia. I talked with the division commanding general, all of the brigade commanders, all of the battalion commanders, all of the company commanders, platoon commanders, the first sergeants, the sergeant majors. In short, I talked to the entire leadership of this division. They had five basic questions that they wanted me to answer: Why are we going into Bosnia? What will our mission be? Who's going in with us? When will we go in? And when will we come out?

To the best of my ability, I answered those questions fully and frankly for them, and today I want to share with you the answers which I gave our soldiers.

Why are we going in? The simplest way of expressing that is that there's only one real alternative to going in, and that is a restart of the war. I have testified at five different congressional hearings, I've met with congressmen, public interest groups dozens of times in the last few months. I hear all of these proposals of why don't we do this, that or the other thing. That is evading the issue. We have two alternatives in front of us: We can participate in the peace implementation force with the risks involved with that, or we can walk away from it. And if we walk away from it, make no mistake, there will be a restart of the war.

Not only will that lead to a resumption of the killings, but there's a very real risk of this war spreading. I have testified to that many times, and many in Congress have expressed skepticism on that point. I wish they could have shared the concern and the apprehensions that I've had many times in the last few years about the real danger of a war erupting between Serbia and Croatia, for example. Just two months ago, I would have given you an even chance that that war was going to explode and dwarf the war in Bosnia by comparison. And a war between Serbia and Croatia would clearly threaten Slovenia and Hungary.

From the beginning, there has been a palpable danger that the war would spread to the south, to Macedonia and Kosovo, Albania. That would threaten Greece and Turkey, two of our NATO allies.

So there are risks to U.S. participation in this peace force. I've talked about them candidly and fully with our soldiers and with the Congress. But if the war restarts, the dangers, the problems, the risks are even greater. If this war erupted and included conflicts in Greece and Turkey, and we felt obliged to intervene at that stage, we're not only intervening in a much wider war, but we're intervening in a war, instead of going in to enforce a peace -- a much greater risk.

I talked to the soldiers about what our mission was, what we're going to do when we get there. I started off by telling them what it was not. We are not going into Bosnia to fight a war. For 2 1/2 years, this administration has said we're not going to fight a war in Bosnia, we're not going to enter the war. But we've also said if we can get a peace agreement, we will assist in the implementation.

Now, we have a simple dichotomy: We are not committing U.S. ground troops unless we get a peace agreement. That's what we have said for 2 1/2 years. It's now also true that we will not have a peace agreement unless we commit U.S. troops.

So the mission is to implement a peace. The tasks are limited and they're clear. Our soldiers understand them. They are not involving nation building. There will be a very important set of civil functions going along in parallel to IFOR [the peace implementation force], but U.S. troops and the NATO troops do not have the responsibility and will not be executing these functions of rebuilding the infrastructure -- of rebuilding the economy, of overseeing elections, resettling refugees. All of these are very important civil functions. Success in Bosnia ultimately depends on the success of those civil functions. The task of the NATO force will be to create a secure environment so that other organizations and other institutions can conduct those important civil functions.

This will be an operation with risks, and there will be casualties, but we will do -- we are doing everything that is possible to minimize those risks, first of all, and most important, by only going in with a peace agreement already signed, with the parties already agreeing not only to have peace but to assist in the implementation of the peace.

Even with that agreement, we believe that there will be individuals and gangs who will not accept the judgment of their leaders and may, therefore, try to resist. We do not expect to meet an army -- we do not expect to meet organized opposition -- but we do expect to run into gangs who may try to harass this force. Therefore, we're going in with a large and a very well-armed force.

In our debate and in our discussion about the size of the force to go in, both at NATO and the United States, we considered sending a much smaller force in, maybe half the size of what is being proposed, with the thought that if we run into trouble, we will send in reinforcements. We concluded that was the wrong philosophy, that we should send in a large force and, if we don't run into trouble, then we can start drawing them down. If we err in the size of this force, we have erred on the size of it being too large.

This force is also very well-trained. Every battalion in the 1st Armored Division in the last two months has undergone extensive training, including more than a week at the Grafenwoehr [Germany] Training Range, where they are undergoing checks in training and exercises in the basic combat skills. Then they spent another week at our Hohenfels training range in Germany. There we have created a mini-Bosnia, and we put them through simulated exercises of the kind of situations and scenarios which we expect they could run into in Bosnia. At that training range we have a simulated Serbian army, Bosnian Serb army, a simulated Federation army. We have villagers, mayors, paramilitary groups, CNN. We have everything that resembles the kind of issue that they're going to run into when they get into Bosnia. We had the cold, miserable weather; that came for free. And we had potholes in the road, and that came for free.

The motto of [U.S. Army] Gen. [George A.] Joulwan [supreme allied commander, Europe] in this training, which he expressed to me, was that the scrimmage should be harder than the game. Therefore, as they went through the scenario in the first day, if it seemed that the battalion was doing it right, was passing the test, then they ratcheted it up and made it more difficult. The purpose was to flunk everybody so that they would learn from the mistakes they were making: They would learn from their experiences how to do it right.

We have learned a long time ago in the U.S. Army that in combat the first battle is the one that produces the most mistakes and the most casualties. Therefore, we try to reproduce the first battle on a training range so that when they get into the actual situation, the first battle is already behind them. That works in peacekeeping as well.

I am confident of the skill and the training of this force, and our leaders are confident and our soldiers are confident.

The specific tasks that they will have are spelled out in the military annex to the Dayton agreement. I'll be happy to take questions on those, but let me just mention a few, two in particular that are important.

One of them is to enforce -- mark and enforce -- a zone of separation. The Bosnian Serb army will still exist, Bosnian Federation army still exists, and those will be separated. There will be two kilometers on either side of a zone of separation in which all soldiers and all weapons will have to be removed. This minimizes the chance of border conflicts. We will then monitor that and patrol that zone to be sure that that zone of separation is maintained.

The Dayton agreement also requires that all heavy weapons and all troops be returned to cantonment and barracks within 120 days. We will monitor and oversee that to be sure that that is complied with.

More generally, what we will be doing is enforcing the cessation of hostilities and providing a secure environment so that the people in Bosnia can start getting their lives back together again and that these organizations which are conducting the functions I described to you, the rebuilding functions, will have a secure environment in which they can perform their tasks. We do not expect those tasks, those civil tasks, to be finished during the time of the IFOR presence in Bosnia, but we expect them all to be well started.

I told our soldiers that we would not be going alone into Bosnia. Indeed, all of the NATO nations that have armed forces -- that is, all NATO nations except Iceland -- will be participating. The British are going in with 13,000 troops; the French with about 8,000; Germans, about 4,000; Italians and Spaniards, 2,000 each; all other NATO nations, about 1,000 each. Proportional to the size of their armies, proportional to their countries, these contributions are equal to, or somewhat greater than, those of the U.S. So this is not -- nobody in NATO is taking a "Let-George-do-it" attitude. Everybody is pitching in to do this job.

In addition to the NATO nations, more than 15 non-NATO nations have already stepped forward and said they want to participate as well. I'll mention just a few of those.

The Nordic countries are going to form a brigade. It's going to consist of troops from Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark; probably Poland, as well; and probably Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. This brigade will consist of 4,500 troops, and it will be imbedded in the American division, taking commands from the American division commander. I'd also mention parenthetically that a battalion of this Nordic brigade has been in the Tuzla area for several years now and brings to us the experience and the knowledge of the terrain and the local populace, which will be invaluable in conducting our mission.

In addition to that, the Turks have had a battalion in the Tuzla area, and they're going to reinforce that battalion and make it a part of the American division as well, bringing their experience, also, to this division.

And finally with the American division, we are going to have a Russian brigade consisting of perhaps 2,000 to 3,000 soldiers.

I attended a NATO meeting in Williamsburg, Va., two months ago in October, and we discussed the imminence of this NATO operation and the potential role of the Russians. I had a meeting scheduled with the minister of defense of Russia, [Gen. Pavel] Grachev, the day after the meeting in Williamsburg, and so I sought guidance from my fellow NATO defense ministers. I got unanimous guidance on two important points.

The first, they all agreed it was very important to have Russian participation, not just for Bosnia, but for, really, the future security of Europe. When we tackled this first big security problem which Europe has faced since the Cold War, we wanted to tackle it with Russia, working cooperatively with them, not in a confrontation mode with Russia. That will affect the security of Europe for years to come.

But the second guidance they gave me was that this had to be done within a single line of command. We could not have Russian troops outside the chain of command. That guidance I didn't need; I agreed with it fully. So with those two inputs I went to meet with Minister Grachev.

He said that the Russians very much wanted to participate, so on the first point we were together, but that he could not participate under a NATO command, for reasons that I well understood. To put it in the simplest possible terms, in Russia, NATO is a four-letter word, and it's going to be many years, I think, until they overcome that difficulty and that perception.

I subsequently met with Minister Grachev four times in the last seven weeks, and we finally hammered out an agreement, which was announced at the NATO meeting in Brussels last week. And by that agreement Russia will participate. They will describe this participation as working for an American division under Gen. [William] Nash, an American general, and taking their operational control from Gen. Joulwan, an American general. He will send his command's orders to them through a Russian general so they will not come an NATO letterhead, but we will maintain a single line of command.

This will be a issue of some significance. I have spent nearly my entire career as, I guess, what you would call a "cold warrior," and no time during that period could I even have conceived of the possibility of having a Russian brigade operating in an American division under the command of an American division commander in a peacekeeping operation in Bosnia. That was just too bizarre to even contemplate, and indeed, that is what has been agreed to.

A little about the disposition of our forces there, which I told our troops and I will share with you, too. NATO has divided Bosnia into three different regions for purposes of the peace implementation force. The northern division, which is centered at Tuzla, will be the responsibility of the Americans, and we will have then the division I've described to you, which will include 20,000 American troops, 4,500 Nordic troops, the Turks and the Russians. All told, we'll have about 28,000 troops -- a very large division -- headquartered in Tuzla, and we will be responsible for all of that northern part of Bosnia.

The British have the western section of Bosnia, which includes the area near Bihac. It includes Banja Luka. They have a division and will have a Canadian brigade, which will include Czechs and other forces to make up their division.

The French will have the southeastern part of Bosnia, including Sarajevo and including Gorazde. I might mention that the four hot spots in planning this are Gorazde and Sarajevo, of which the French will have those two; Bihac, which the British will have. It's a special problem because in addition to the fighting which has gone on over the rest of Bosnia, there is a separatist Muslim group that was fighting with the Bosnian Serbs against the Bosnian government, so that's more complicated.

Then, the Tuzla area. We will be responsible for the so- called Posavina corridor from Brcko, and that is the narrow corridor which connects the western part of the Bosnian Serb territory with the eastern part of the Bosnian Serb territory. It's an area of some contention. The one area, by the way, that was so difficult that we were not able to get an agreement on the map at the Dayton meetings, that one part was set aside to be settled by binding arbitration over the course of the next year.

Our troops were very anxious to know when they were going in. I told them they're going in the day after the signing of the peace agreement, which is now scheduled to be Dec. 14, a week from today, in Paris. So if that agreement is signed on the 14th we will have troops going in a day or two after that.

Our plan is to go in fast and to go in over land. We're going to take the bulk of our forces, which will be in Germany. We'll go by rail from Germany to a staging area in Hungary. The staging area, by the way, or the agreement for the staging area, was granted by the Hungarian government just a few days ago and by a vote in the Hungarian parliament of 320 to 1 -- a very rousing support for this operation. We will have many thousands of troops in this staging area in southern Hungary.

At that staging area, we will assemble the supplies, assemble the units. They will reform as units -- they'll be coming there on trains, but they will reform as units then and go by road on their own tracked vehicles, their own wheeled vehicles, into Bosnia and into Tuzla as combat units capable of carrying themselves. We will not be transporting them into Bosnia. They will go under their own power.

We expect to have more than half of the force in and operating in Bosnia within three weeks and the entire force there in six to eight weeks.

In addition to that action which I've summarized for you for the main body force, we have had for the last few days an enabling force starting to go into Bosnia. Over the course of the next week, that will include a NATO enabling force of almost 3,000 -- I think 2,600 is the number -- about half of whom will be Americans. Of that number, about half go into Bosnia and half Croatia.

Pulling one number out of there, we will have about 700 American troops going into Bosnia during the next week as part of this enabling force. The first few dozen or so of those have already arrived in Tuzla. Their job is to set up the communication nets, to set up the headquarters, to establish a liaison with the non-NATO parties in the area, so that when our forces come in, we will be there ready and waiting for them. The supply bases will be ready; the airports will be ready. And most importantly, the communications will be in and functioning.

The last question which our soldiers were very concerned about was: When are we coming out? There's been a wonderful debate in this town on when are we coming out.

The answer is really very simple. We're coming out in about a year. I say "about"; I mean within weeks of a year. It's not 365 days. Pulling 20,000 troops out is not done to that degree of precision, but they're coming out in about a year. So all of the discussion on exit strategy is sort of moving off in the wrong direction.

The NATO commitment, the U.S. agreement and the Dayton agreement, by the way, calls for the forces to be there about a year. We will be very close to that time.

The question then, is, what will the situation in Bosnia be at the end of the year? I can give you some estimates on that, and some of which I have confidence in and some of which I have less confidence in. Let me summarize those as follows.

With high confidence, we believe that the military task of IFOR will be completed. The forces will have been long since separated, the territories will have been transferred and most importantly, the cycle of violence will have been broken, and broken for more than a year. So those military tasks, spelled out in great detail in the military annex to the Dayton agreement, will be completed well before that year is up.

In addition to that, the civil tasks, for which we're not responsible, we expect will be under way by then. It's much more difficult for me to give you a prediction of how far along they will be. We estimate that the economic reconstruction, the supervised elections, the refugee resettling -- all of that will be well under way at that stage.

We will have provided the security environment to give them a chance to get those started, but we are not signing up for a permanent cantonment in Bosnia, waiting for those events to happen. We are going to require full action and full participation of the warring parties. We will be giving the former warring parties a chance to rebuild their country, and that's what they're asking for.

I met at Dayton with [Bosnian] President [Alija] Izetbegovic and [Bosnian] Prime Minister [Haris] Silajdzic. They told me what they wanted was some breathing space -- breathing space and time -- and that's what the year is to give them; and breathing space in space, and that's why we have zones of separation. They recognize, just as we recognize, that the hatreds that have built up in this four years of fighting are intense, and they must have a chance to rebuild their country.

Finally, in this year's time, we believe that we'll have the opportunity to form a reasonable military balance in the region. One of the primary causative factors of this war four years ago was a dramatic imbalance in arms between the Bosnian Serbs, who inherited most of the Yugoslavian equipment in their area, and the Bosnian government, who got almost none of it. We think that's an instability, and we do not want to leave Bosnia a year from now with that kind of instability left behind.

Obviously, the best way of dealing with that problem is by reducing the arms in the area. A month or so ago, I said the same thing, but if somebody had said, "What are our chances of being able to get that reduction?" I would have been very apprehensive.

But since that time, not only have the three warring parties, but all five players in the region -- including Croatia and Serbia -- signed an agreement, initialed an agreement and hopefully will sign it next week, which calls for an arms control program modeled after the CFE [Conventional Forces in Europe] treaty.

The CFE treaty sets up requirements, defines classes of military equipment, defines ratios that can be held between different countries and then requires the various countries to reduce their arms to achieve those ratios. All of the parties have agreed to that. We have six months to get that process well under way, six months in the agreement. The first three months, the embargo is sustained, and the first six months, the embargo on heavy weapons is still sustained. During that time, this arms control process is supposed to be consummated. There will be, by the way, a conference in Bonn just before Christmas to try to put that whole process into place.

Again, the military force balance will not be a task of NATO or the U.S. military forces. Achieving the military balance will not be a task of ours. But it is a very important part of the Dayton agreement, and that will be going along in parallel with it.

We estimate that that can be achieved also in the one year's time period. The United States has said that it would ensure that that military balance is achieved, and if the arms control process is not sufficient to achieve it, which we doubt that it will be, then the United States is prepared to take actions to ensure that the balance is achieved by working with other countries. All of that, as I said, can be done within this one-year time period.

I'm going to mention something about NATO before I conclude my talk, not only because NATO is playing such a crucial role in Bosnia, but in the last few months we've have seen some truly remarkable developments in NATO. I want to be sure this audience is aware of how significant these are. I have attended three NATO defense ministers' meetings in the last two months. That in itself is unprecedented. But I think they are the most significant meetings in NATO's history.

What came out of those three meetings? First of all, unanimous commitment to deploy IFOR, the NATO's implementation force, to Bosnia. Secondly, an agreement to have the Russian forces participate in the Bosnian operation, with a full recognition of what a long shadow that casts on NATO-Russian relationships for years to come -- maybe decades to come.

Third, at the last two meetings, we had the participation of the French minister of defense, and the French have announced that they're going to rejoin the military aspect of NATO. They're going to send a representative to the military committee and to participate in the defense ministers' meetings.

For those of you who have followed NATO for years, you understand what a really significant development that is. For those of you who have not, let me simply say that this is the first time anything like that has happened in almost 30 years, since France pulled out of the military part of NATO and NATO moved from Paris to Brussels. That happened 29 years ago.

It is truly remarkable because a few years ago, people were wondering if NATO had a future. The Warsaw Pact had dissolved; the threat from the Soviet Union was gone; and the raison d'etre around which NATO had been formed had disappeared, or so it seemed. Therefore, people thought that NATO was going to disappear, too.

Instead, what we have seen is a renaissance in NATO. None of the 16 nations shows any inclination at all to withdraw from NATO or to fold it up. Instead, there are literally more than a dozen nations in Eastern and Central Europe who are petitioning to join NATO. What they see, and I think what is a fact, is that NATO is the only institution for providing the security and stability of Europe and a vehicle by which Eastern and Western Europe may be integrated -- integrated from a security point of view.

The Partnership for Peace is perhaps the best manifestation of that. We now have 27 non-NATO members who belong to the Partnership for Peace. Last year, there were dozens of exercises conducted, joint exercises.

There has been more good accomplished by the Partnership for Peace and the prospect of NATO membership in terms of the very difficult transformation that these Eastern and Central European countries are going through today. This has been a beacon which has led them forward as we hold out the conditions for NATO membership, which is establishing a democratic society -- having a civilian control of the military, having a free market, not having disputes with their neighbors. All of these conditions as they're laid down have been, as I said, a beacon which has guided these Eastern and Central European countries as they go through this very difficult transformation.

So NATO, far from folding up its tent, is going through a renaissance. It has shown resolute action relative to Bosnia. There has been, I believe, a remarkable response to American leadership. They want to sound chauvinistic, but there can be no mistaking that the American leadership was the factor which caused this renaissance to happen -- the leadership first in the Partnership for Peace and now on Bosnia. They have shown unprecedented unity.

I have been attending NATO meetings as a representative of the U.S. government now for almost 20 years. These last three meetings, I have never, never in that period of time have I seen the kind of unity I saw displayed in these last few meetings.

One of the defense ministers summed it up in talking about Bosnia. A question arose as to the extent to which we would be acting together in Bosnia. He said, "We are going in with the Americans, we're going to act with unity, and we're going to come out with the Americans." That got a round of applause at the defense ministers' meeting, and that summed up the sense of that meeting.

Now I'd like to conclude by summing up my views on Bosnia. I've talked quite a bit about it this morning. I want to start off by observing that I understand, and that our administration understands, the dangers of participating in a peace enforcement operation in Bosnia. There are risks. There will be casualties. We understand that, and we want to state it clearly and fully. But we also understand the dangers of letting the war continue. And no one should be mistaken. If we do not participate in the peace implementation operation, the war will restart and all of the bad consequence from that will follow.

We do not live in a world without risks. What we have available to us is not picking a risk-free course of action, it's choosing between different risks and trying to take the one which is less risky and which accomplishes more for us. So we have to make choices.

If we choose to let the war continue, we must be prepared to avert our gaze from Bosnia, because what we will be seeing if we look there are killings and atrocities. And we must be prepared to take the risk of this war spreading, because the risk of that happening is very great. Anybody that doubts that should simply talk with the leaders of the countries that surround Bosnia. So we have this choice to make. Obviously, I have rejected the choice of not participating, of averting our gaze. I believe instead we should take a risk and take the risk for peace.

Thank you very much. Q. It was very encouraging to hear you speak of the rigorous training that's gone into the preparations. To get very specific here, a bit of a hypothetical, but very realistic, how will IFOR be able to protect its bases from, say, 82mm mortar attacks at night from weapons that can easily be hidden and moved to alternate firing positions where their targets are pre-registered?

A. Let me answer the question in a slightly more concrete way, a more specific way than the way you asked it. We're going to be located, our headquarters, at Tuzla. We'll be using the Tuzla airport as an important facility for resupply, so it will be very important to us to maintain a free flow into the Tuzla airport and to keep that airport open and operating. In the past, the Bosnian Serbs have sporadically shelled the Tuzla airport, causing fatalities and disrupting the use of the airport. We will not permit that to happen. I don't believe it will happen, but we will not permit it to happen.

We will have surrounding Tuzla, artillery- and mortar-locating radars. Any shell that comes into the Tuzla area will be tracked, and before that shell lands, we will have determined the precise location of the mortar or artillery that launched it, and we will have counterbattery fire. So in the simplest possible terms, anyone that shells the Tuzla area will find that that is nonhabit forming.

I truly don't expect that to happen. I don't want to sound belligerent about this. I believe that the parties signed this peace agreement voluntarily -- we did not force them to sign it. They undertook to enforce these terms, and they undertook the cease-fire on their own volition. Therefore, I don't expect that to happen. But I say again that I am concerned that there may be rogue elements who simply will not accept that agreement, so we have to be prepared, and we are prepared, for that kind of activity.

Q. I assume the United States is not taking responsibility for training the Bosnian armed forces, just to remain as neutral as possible. But who will be doing that?

A. I would like to correct a word. I don't believe we are neutral in the full sense of that word. We believe that the Bosnian government and people have suffered atrocities and killings, and we don't approach this as psychologically neutral. What we say we are, and what we will be, is evenhanded.

As peacekeepers, we will be evenhanded. That was my instructions to the troops, Gen. Joulwan's instructions to the troops, it's Gen. Nash's instructions to them. I believe they understand that they will be evenhanded. Therefore, that's inconsistent with them conducting an activity which would train Bosnians.

So to the extent that is done -- that is, the level to which that is going to be done -- is going to be done by other units, other countries. What the U.S. government has said is, we would ensure that that happens.

I have every hope that this arms control process that was called for in the agreement will be quite successful in the first six months, but I would point out that holding out the prospect of the equipping and training of the Bosnian forces may be a considerable incentive to have this arms control process move forward. There's some penalty if it does not succeed.

Q. Next question is one that may be improper to even attempt to answer at this point, but I need to throw it out there, anyway. What will the U.S. stance be if, at the end of our one year, the fighting resumes?

A. I think that question would have one meaning if this were an imposed peace and a different meaning as a peace in which the parties themselves signed up to. They have signed up for a peace accord. They have asked for a year's breathing space. I would say they would have failed if at the end of the year they have not taken the full advantage of that and would restart fighting again. I think it's very unlikely that that would happen, but I cannot preclude that possibility.

I will repeat again what I said about the NATO military forces. Their commitment is to go in for about a year, and I think they will be coming out at the end of a year. We will do everything we can to give the parties the opportunity not only to have a peaceful nation, but to rebuild that nation so that they have some real economic future ahead of them.

I think that the real factor which is going to determine the stability in Bosnia for years to come [is] the success of these civil efforts that I talked about, in particular the economic rebuilding. The people have to believe that there's some hope for them, that there's some economic future. We're not going to supply that with the military. All we can do is create the secure environment which allows these important functions to happen.


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