June 29, 1997

Denmark slams US military aid to Bosnia

COPENHAGEN, June 29 - Danish Foreign Minister Niels Helveg Petersen, current chairman of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), criticised the United States on Sunday for providing military aid to Bosnia.

Washington and its European partners have long been at odds over America's insistence that Bosnia's fledgling armed forces should be given arms and assistance to match the military muscle of neighbouring Serbia and Croatia.

European critics say the U.S.-led initiative will only make renewed war more likely in the Balkans by encouraging the Moslem-led federation to try and recapture territory lost during the 43-month war.

Islamic states have joined Western states in pledging weapons, training and funds. Iran, Turkey, Jordan, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Pakistan have promised to help train Bosnian soldiers.

U.S. diplomat Robert Frowick, who heads OSCE mission in Bosnia, on Saturday urged greater vigour in the pursuit of Bosnian war criminals.

He told an international business conference in Switzerland that failure to detain them undermined the peace process and that other ``creative'' ways to arrest them should be found of NATO could not do the job.

U.N. peacekeepers helped the International War Crimes Tribunal in former Yugoslavia capture a war crimes suspect for the first time on Friday.

Tribunal officials arrested Slavko Dokmanovic in Croatia's Eastern Slavonia region. Dokmanovic was president of Vukovar in November 1991 when the Yugoslav army and Serb paramilitary forces were alleged to have abducted and killed about 260 men from the local hospital after a brutal three-month siege of the city.