The situation prevailing in and around the safe area of Bihac
|(The Presidency changes each month to the next member in alphabetical order)|
|Mr. Li Zhaoxing
|Sir David Hannay
Adoption of the agenda
The situation prevailing in and around the safe area of Bihac
I should like to inform the Council that I have received letters from the representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Germany, in which they request to be invited to participate in the discussion of the item on the Council’s agenda. In conformity with the usual practice, I propose, with the consent of the Council, to invite those representatives to participate in the discussion, without the right to vote, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Charter and rule 37 of the Council’s provisional rules of procedure.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
The Security Council will now begin its consideration of the item on its agenda.
The Security Council is meeting in accordance with the understanding reached in its prior consultations.
Members of the Council have before them document S/1994/1316, which contains the text of a draft resolution submitted by France, the Russian Federation, Spain, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of America. Germany has joined as a sponsor of the draft resolution contained in document S/1994/1316.
I should like to draw the attention of the members of the Council to document S/1994/1312, which contains the text of a letter dated 18 November 1994 from the Permanent Representative of Croatia to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council, transmitting the text of a letter dated 18 November 1994 from the President of the Republic of Croatia addressed to the President of the Security Council, and that of a letter dated 18 November 1994 from the President of the Republic of Croatia addressed to the Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Members of the Council have received photocopies of a letter dated 19 November 1994 from the Permanent Representative of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Nations addressed to the President of the Security Council, which will be issued as a document of the Security Council under the symbol S/1994/1319.
The first speaker is the representative of Croatia, on whom I now call.
My delegation is pleased by the important step taken by the Security Council in discussing the draft resolution before it and in appropriately addressing an issue that could have very serious consequences for the region.
The actions by the so-called Krajina Serb forces in Croatia can be tolerated no longer; upon its adoption, the draft resolution should be implemented fully and immediately. My delegation is also pleased by the fact that this draft resolution will further strengthen the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Republic of Croatia on a day when we have learned that the self-proclaimed Knin authorities have rejected the mini Contact Group plan for the economic integration of Croatia’s occupied territories.
Croatia will continue to play its constructive role in the peace process so long as the international community continues to uphold its commitment to Croatia in full compliance with the relevant Security Council resolutions — but Croatia will not wait for ever.
This draft resolution is but one important commitment, like the commitment related to resolution 769 (1992), which would impose mechanisms to control Croatia’s international borders.
The continued violations of Croatia’s borders, such as the grave violation of resolution 820 (1993) and of the border-monitoring mission arrangements of the International Conference on the Former Yugoslavia, contribute to the escalation of activities in the Bihac region by providing fuel for the war machine now attacking Bihac. Croatia demands that the illegal transshipment of fuel and goods stop immediately.
In closing, let me once again express my delegation’s gratitude for the Council’s timely and appropriate action.
First, we are not convinced that the draft resolution before the Security Council was necessary in order to allow for the appropriate response to the recent attacks upon the safe areas in Bihac. From our — by now very disillusioned — perspective, this appears to be another attempt at delay by some, an effort to put off action until some future violation — when some new excuse could be found for inaction.
Frankly, members of the Security Council, it will be very easy to relieve us of our scepticism. Just act as the entire world has expected you to act for two weeks. The basis for action has already been given, and the airports, aircraft, artillery and infantry of the so-called Krajina Serbs continue to violate the Bihac region and to be a threat to the civilian population of that region as well as to the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR).
Nor should we ignore the fact that these violations by the so-called Krajina Serbs are, most directly, also violations of the no-fly zone, of the supposedly demilitarized status of the United Nations Protected Areas in the Republic of Croatia, and of the territorial integrity of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
On this last point, an attack on UNPROFOR, our civilian population, our army, or anywhere within the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina would be, in every instance, a violation of our territorial integrity requiring the necessary response to such aggression as a threat to international peace and security, regardless of whether or not it involved a safe area.
The present draft resolution cannot be interpreted as tolerating cross-border attacks against our Republic by focusing only on violations of — that is attacks upon — the boundaries of a safe area. The international boundaries of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina cannot be given lesser legal priority under the Charter of the United Nations than the boundaries of a safe area.
Secondly, consistent with those legal principles, we must understand that any cross-border attack against any civilian or UNPROFOR target within the Bihac region would be responded to under the draft resolution before the Council. Let me hark back to the language of resolution 824 (1993), in which the Council
“Declares that the capital city of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo, and other such threatened areas, in particular the towns of Tuzla, Zepa, Gorazde, Bihac, as well as Srebrenica, and their surroundings” — I stress “their surroundings” — “should be treated as safe areas …”. (resolution 824 (1993), para. 3)
Thus, it is clear that it was the Council’s intention to defend civilian centres and their surrounding areas, and not to have resolutions 824 (1993) and 836 (1993) interpreted as demarcating, within Bihac and its surrounding areas, a small part of the city that is protected, while surrounding villages and towns are implicitly made fair game.
We have been informed today by the Secretary-General’s representatives that today’s plane attack against Cazin would in fact be covered by the current draft resolution. We welcome that view and express our confidence that other United Nations representatives on the ground will not engage in the arbitrary drawing of lines to define the blessed and the damned of the civilian population. The intent of the Security Council is clear here.
Thirdly, we strongly urge that the Council adopt further measures that may be necessary to improve the situation, provide the necessary practical support for UNPROFOR forces already within the Bihac area, and put an end to measures inconsistent with the peace process. To this end, consistent with resolutions 770 (1992), 824 (1993) and 836 (1993), the Council should ensure that measures are followed through to stop the blockage by the so-called Krajina Serbs of humanitarian assistance and of UNPROFOR reinforcements and supplies.
The Council should also foreclose all flows of fuel to the Krajina Serbs from the border of Serbia and Montenegro through the occupied areas of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Republic of Croatia. This is blatantly a violation not only of the Council’s own resolution 820 (1993) but also of the peace process. The recent Bihac experience has clearly shown us that the so-called Krajina Serbs are acting as one with the so-called Bosnian Serbs in pursuing the war and rejecting peace. It is estimated that the Serbian forces within the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina need anywhere from 5 to 15 truckloads of fuel per day to pursue their war effort. According to the reports of the Border Monitoring Mission of the International Conference on the Former Yugoslavia, anywhere from 15 to 20 fuel trucks are in fact being allowed every day across the Serbian and Montenegrin border. This fuel is sufficient for both the so-called Bosnian Serbs and Krajina Serbs to carry out the very military attacks that the Council is seeking to confront with the draft resolution before us.
It is my understanding that the Council is ready to proceed to vote on the draft resolution before it. Unless I hear any objection, I shall put the draft resolution to the vote now.
There being no objection, it is so decided.
favour=15 against=0 abstain=0 absent=0
Argentina, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Djibouti, France, New Zealand, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Russia, Rwanda, Spain, United Kingdom, United States
There were 15 votes in favour. The draft resolution has been adopted unanimously as resolution 958 (1994).
I shall now call on those members of the Council who wish to make statements following the voting.
The air attacks launched by Krajina Serb forces in the Bihac area over the past two days are totally unacceptable. This resolution, which my delegation submitted yesterday following the first such attack, is needed to close a gap revealed by those attacks. It is in line with the approach the Council has received from President Tudjman and the Croatian authorities, for whose cooperation we are most grateful.
The suggestion that this resolution is a delaying device merely discredits and demeans the person who has made that allegation. The resolution is clear and straightforward. It simply extends the provisions of resolution 836 (1993) in relation to the use of air power onto Croatian territory. That resolution provided for the use of air power in support of the United Nations Protection Force’s mandate in respect of the safe areas within Bosnia. It made no allowance for what has now happened: an attack on a safe area from outside Bosnia.
The resolution mirrors in every way paragraph 10 of resolution 836 (1993), and the procedures to implement it will similarly mirror those set in place to implement that resolution. It makes possible the extension of the geographical scope of existing procedures for the use of air power. It does not create new ones.
My delegation is pleased that the Council has acted promptly on this resolution. We hope the Krajina Serbs will get the message.
My delegation welcomes the adoption of resolution 958 (1994), which extends to Croatian territory the possibility of using air power to enable the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) to carry out the mandate entrusted to it in the Council resolutions relating to the safe areas in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Just as we wish to see an end to the offensive military actions, the acts of provocation and the resulting escalations, so likewise we believe that the attacks on the safe areas must not be allowed to go unanswered. The credibility of the Security Council’s decisions and of UNPROFOR’s activities is at stake. We must be able to ensure the security of UNPROFOR and the protection of the populations of the safe areas, in accordance with the provisions of the resolutions we have previously adopted.
As everyone knows — and I would like to recall this now — yesterday the UNPROFOR Commander asked for an appropriate response, with the use of air strikes, to the aerial bombardment of Bihac. My Government takes the view that resolutions 836 (1993) and 908 (1994) make it possible to respond favourably to General de Lapresle’s request. We regret that none of the options proposed by the UNPROFOR Commander was adopted.
France believes that, in situations that clearly show the existence of aggression against a safe area and that clearly show who is the aggressor and who is the victim, the response called for by UNPROFOR should be put into effect as soon as possible. The resolution that has just been adopted will contribute to this.
The Russian delegation voted in favour of the draft resolution that has just been adopted because we hold the position that the order which has been established for the use of air power in Bosnia and Herzegovina and surrounding areas and which has now been extended to the territory of Croatia, with a view to ensuring the protection of the Bihac safe area, fully corresponds to the rules for the use of air power in the other safe areas. It is important that this resolution confirms that the appropriate measures will be taken under the guidance of the Security Council and in close coordination with the Secretary-General and UNPROFOR. In this context, I would also like to stress that the use of air power by United Nations forces, in appropriate cases, should be an impartial one, regardless of who might be the violator. We hope that the adoption of this resolution will be a signal to all the parties and to all those involved in the Bihac area to put an end to the escalation of military confrontation in order to ensure that the cease-fire is attained immediately.
I would also like to stress that my delegation has repeatedly drawn attention to the dangerous development of the situation in the Bihac area. Unfortunately our fears have been confirmed: the aggressive, provocative action by one side has produced a reaction by the other, and because of that the flames of the Bosnian war have been fanned even more. In this connection, it is important that the main principle of the safe areas be fully and consistently implemented; they are intended for the protection of the civilian population and cannot be used for offensive military action or for preparations for such action. The best solution would be the demilitarization of the safe areas.
We consider it especially essential to mention the main lesson to be learned from the tragic events in the Bihac area. It is, beyond any question, that there is no alternative to a political settlement in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We are firmly attached to the Contact Group’s unanimous opinion on this score, which is set out in the documents they have jointly submitted. Any attempts at military solutions, including provocative or offensive actions, will inevitably turn against those initiating them.
I should like to express the hope that all those to whom this is addressed will draw the appropriate conclusions with regard to their behaviour throughout the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, so that the Security Council will not, in the near future, and as an emergency, have to react to a new escalation of military action in other parts of that country.
The Argentine Republic fully shares the concern that the Council expressed in the presidential statement issued yesterday, which referred to the deterioration in the situation in the Bihac area of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The escalation of hostilities now taking place not only is detrimental to the general situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina but also threatens to cause greater imbalances in the Republic of Croatia. In these critical circumstances, we believe it is essential to work on the basis of unity of action in the Security Council. It is for this reason that, in the face of recent attempts to define the situation in terms of the increasing violence in the Bihac area, the Security Council has once again felt bound to take firm and harsh measures. The Argentine Republic condemns the violation of the international border between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina by military elements whose purpose is to destabilize both countries.
It is particularly serious that air power has been used in the Bihac area, including extremely harmful bombs. This represents a flagrant violation of the resolutions of the Council and of the Charter of the United Nations. The inordinate levels of hostilities in this region make the possibility of a settlement more remote and demonstrate the illusions of certain leaders in seeking to establish ephemeral territorial control by means of force, in violation of international legitimacy. We are thus particularly concerned that Sarajevo is once again being subjected to attacks and deprivation.
Since the beginning of the crisis, the Security Council has tried, through the deployment of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR), to provide an impartial framework that would facilitate a solution and alleviate the situation of the civilian population. We therefore firmly condemn the fact that the proponents of war are maintaining their hostile attitude towards UNPROFOR, affecting its functioning and endangering its security. We believe that it is now more than ever vital to permit the fulfilment of the mandate of UNPROFOR, not as an objective in itself but on the understanding that it is an instrument created by our Organization to assist in the settlement of the conflict.
The Argentine Republic supports the resolutions the Security Council is adopting today on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and takes the view that they are of particular importance at the present time. Circumstances have once again demonstrated the need to carry out an in-depth analysis of the minimum definitions of the safe areas regime. The Secretary-General, in this context, has issued a report (S/1994/555), which contains valuable proposals which we should consider and analyse. Defining the basic rules of interaction vis-à-vis such areas would lead to improvements for the populations living there, since they are the primary objective of the creation of the safe areas. Safe areas should remain free of armed attacks and be respected by all parties; hence no activities of a military nature should take place in those areas.
Furthermore, the proposal to demilitarize Sarajevo, under guarantees from this Organization, deserves consideration as a means of providing security for that city in the context of the restoration of peace. At the request of the Government of the Republic of Croatia and in the context of the hostilities, which threaten to escalate the violence to new proportions, the Security Council has felt bound to decide to extend to that country the authorization contained in operative paragraph 10 of resolution 836 (1993) of the Security Council.
In conclusion, to the Serb leaders of Bosnia who are reluctant to accept the agreement presented by the Contact Group we reiterate our appeal that they at last choose the peaceful and diplomatic path of settlement and abandon their attempts to achieve military solutions to the present conflict.
We remember only too well how difficult it was, back in April this year, in similar circumstances, when the safe area of Gorazde was under attack. At that time, it was not until the tanks were actually in the streets of the city that the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) were galvanized into deterrent action by the use of air power, which had been promised in resolution 836 (1993). We believe that that situation must not be repeated, and we are therefore very pleased that this resolution has been adopted today by consensus.
New Zealand believes that the situation in Bihac represents a major and very dangerous escalation of the conflict. We are seeing air attacks across an international border by planes from the so-called Krajina Serbs. We are seeing attacks by missile across an international border, involving random missile attacks into civilian areas. We believe that this creates a qualitatively different situation on the ground. It is therefore appropriate that today’s resolution clarifies resolution 836 (1993) and makes it clear that deterrent action may be taken against the so-called Krajina Serb forces in response to the unacceptable attacks that they have launched. We believe that it applies to attacks in and around the safe area.
We note that the Government of Croatia and the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina have called for this action by the international community. We think that the important thing today — and I want to underline this — is not that this resolution has been adopted, but that action pursuant to it be taken, and be taken quickly.
Spain has been following with increasing concern for a number of weeks now the intensified fighting that has been taking place in various parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in particular in the Bihac pocket.
The most striking new occurrence of the last few days has been the open participation of the Krajina Serbs in the conflict taking place in the Bihac pocket, in violation of international borders, and also, as has been noted, the escalation in the use of military means, such as missile attacks and aerial bombardment. All this causes us grave concern, both because of the danger of an extension of the conflict and also because of the negative impact on the prospects for a negotiated settlement to the situations in Croatia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
For this reason, my delegation joined the sponsors of the draft resolution that we have just adopted, which has become resolution 958 (1994). In our view, the violation of international borders is unacceptable, as are the open participation of the Krajina Serbs in the Bosnian conflict and the use of certain military means such as napalm and cluster bombs — a use which we strongly condemn.
By the resolution we have just adopted, the Security Council has paved the way for the United Nations to resort to the air power of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to carry out aerial attacks in the territory of Croatia, whenever that becomes necessary in order to defend the personnel of the United Nations Protection Force and to support its mandate in the safe area of Bihac and its vicinity.
As provided in operative paragraph 11 of resolution 836 (1993) of 4 June 1993, the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) have to work in close cooperation to determine the methods to be followed and the means to be used and to report to the Security Council through the Secretary-General.
The operating schemes already established between NATO and the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR), based on the double-key system and the criterion of a rapid and proportionate response, should be applied to this new situation as well.
I cannot conclude without expressing our appreciation to the Government of Croatia for the prudence and restraint it has demonstrated in recent days, and also for permitting the over-flight and use of Croatia’s air space by NATO aircraft if the Krajina Serbs persist in their attitude.
I should like once again to pay tribute to the men and women of UNPROFOR and, especially today, to the Bangladesh contingent serving in the Bihac area in the particularly difficult conditions prevailing there at the present time.
The Chinese delegation is deeply concerned and disturbed at the recent aggravation of the conflict in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, especially the bombing and shelling of the Bihac safe area, which has resulted in civilian casualties and endangered the safety of UNPROFOR personnel.
We urge the parties concerned to respect the sovereignty and the territorial integrity of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to immediately cease fire and hostilities in and around Bihac, in order to prevent a further escalation of the conflict.
The Chinese delegation voted in favour of the resolution just adopted because it is aimed at protecting the safe area of Bihac and the safety of the civilians therein as well as ensuring UNPROFOR’s successful implementation of its mandate.
However, we wish to place on record our reservations concerning the mandatory actions authorized by invoking Chapter VII of the Charter in the resolution. We are of the view that the Security Council should be extremely prudent and cautious regarding the use of air power in Croatia. Air power should be used only for the purpose of self-defence — to protect the safety and security of UNPROFOR personnel and the civilians in the safe area. It should not be abused for any punitive and pre-emptive purposes. Moreover, in the use of air power, strict measures should be taken to avoid harming innocent civilians.
I wish to reiterate here that the Chinese delegation has consistently held that peaceful negotiation and consultation are the only appropriate means through which a lasting solution, acceptable to all parties, can be found on a fair and reasonable basis regarding the conflict in the former Yugoslavia, including Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia.
We therefore once again urge the parties to the conflict to cooperate with the international community and UNPROFOR and settle their dispute by peaceful means.
We also hope that the international community will intensify its diplomatic and political efforts to create a favourable environment in the former Yugoslavia for peaceful negotiations to further the process of a comprehensive political settlement there. It should avoid taking any action that might further aggravate tensions.
The escalation of violence in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in and around the safe area of Bihac poses new challenges for the international community as it tries to respond in a prompt and effective way to a complex and dangerously worsening situation.
One week ago the Security Council met to review the latest series of events in Bihac and issued a firm warning to all parties and others concerned to refrain from hostile action and to respect the international border between the Republic of Croatia and the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This warning was not heeded.
The continuing fighting in Bihac in violation of the city’s status as a safe area has now become enmeshed with disrespect for the territorial integrity of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Such events further endanger the lives of innocent civilians and carry the risk of spreading the war, constituting a major setback to present international efforts directed at solving the Bosnia crisis by peaceful means. They can only meet with our utmost condemnation.
As we follow these very worrisome developments, however, we must translate our concern into an urgent reactivation of efforts to put an end to the fighting on the basis of the Charter, the relevant Security Council resolutions and the settlement proposed by the Contact Group.
The delegation of Brazil continues to encourage those more closely in touch with the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina to intensify their diplomatic efforts to deal with the prevailing difficult circumstances. We believe that the concerted action by the Contact Group in the past month has helped to create a framework for a negotiated settlement in spite of the obstacles it has encountered. Brazil has been fully supportive of the initiative and we are convinced that the Contact Group’s role as mediators remains extremely important.
In the light of the gravity of the situation in the former Yugoslavia, the international community must speak with one voice. The United Nations must continue to work to alleviate the suffering of the civilian population while trying to prevent the conflict from escalating and promoting whatever progress is possible on the diplomatic front.
As to the resolution we have just adopted, the delegation of Brazil would like to place on record that, while we concur with the need for a technical adjustment to resolution 836 (1993) in order to protect the safe area of Bihac, it is a matter of concern to us that the extraordinary recourse to the use of air power is being extended to another country.
We reiterate our reservation on the use of the expression “all necessary measures”, which seems to be becoming a standard expression of the Council associated with military force to the detriment of diplomatic efforts.
As to the operative part of the resolution, it is our understanding, as confirmed by its sponsors, that the requirement contained in paragraph 11 of resolution 836 (1993) for the Member States cooperating with UNPROFOR to report to the Council through the Secretary-General applies also to this resolution.
As we deplore this new series of attacks and follow developments closely, the delegation of Brazil reaffirms its readiness to continue working towards consensual efforts to help keep a reign on the overall situation in Bosnia. W e call upon all parties and others concerned to promptly reach a negotiated solution, notwithstanding the distressing conditions of the present situation.
Only a solution to the conflict that rests on the logic of peace, and not on the logic of war, can be durable.
As we are all aware, the situation in the Bihac area, designated by the United Nations as a safe area has become very grave owing to the combined attack of the Croatian Serbs across the border of Bosnia and Herzegovina and with the Bosnian Serb forces.
In its last statement before the Council, my delegation predicted that Serb forces and leadership would resort to outrageous and confrontational behaviour in a bid to throw the Contact Group mediators and the Council into disarray, unable to do firmly what we had announced we could do in such circumstances.
The involvement of Croatian Serbs into Bosnia, a move which certainly tipped the balance in the confrontation between the Bosnian Government forces and the Bosnian Serbs, is bad enough. To accompany such a direct challenge with aircraft, missiles and napalm bombs while at the same time allowing the Bosnian Serbs passage through Croatian territory, is totally unacceptable. The shelling, bombing and firing into the United Nations-declared safe area of Bihac that have been reported are likewise unacceptable. We can only wonder why in this conflagration the timely call for a strong air response against these forces as a show of resolve and determination on the part of the United Nations has not been heeded by UNPROFOR.
The total contempt contained in these actions for the “safe-area” declaration, the no-fly zone resolution and Bosnia’s territorial integrity is stunning, even if predictable and expected.
As we know, events are moving and changing at an ever accelerating rate. We will soon lose the ability to restrain any of the players from seeking to benefit or strengthen their positions by acting unilaterally, thus forcing the hand of the United Nations and everyone else. The multi-pronged attack on the Bihac safe area has become yet another litmus test of the will and intentions of the United Nations and the Contact Group. Others will certainly be drawn into the conflict, making prospects for settlement even more remote.
As a first step, a weapons-exclusion zone around the Bihac safe area must be declared and strongly enforced. In addition to being a no-fly zone, this zone must exclude aircraft, missiles, anti-aircraft guns, tanks and all other heavy weapons. The weapons-exclusion zone around Sarajevo must also be enforced. It is an embarrassment to have the presidential building shelled in a so-called “safe area”.
Clearly, the Serb intention is to inject further discord into international efforts to bring peace. Their defiance must be firmly dealt with, and they must be made to understand that this behaviour will gain them nothing. The Croatian Serbs must realize as well that their military participation in Bosnia can only lead to their inclusion in enforcement actions.
We therefore welcome the resolution just adopted to extend the provisions of resolution 836 (1993) onto Croatian territory.
The situation in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina continues to remain a cause of concern for the international community. This crisis remains unresolved as a result of the rejection by the Bosnian Serbs of the peace plan presented by the five-nation Contact Group.
The continued defiance of Security Council resolutions has further seriously compromised the prospects of peace in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The latest attacks of the Krajina Serbs in the safe area of Bihac have confirmed this intransigence and added an ominous new dimension to this long crisis. This defiant attitude can only carry with it the potential for further escalation of the war and its engulfing the neighbouring countries, thus threatening regional and international peace.
In this connection, my delegation wishes to express its understanding of and appreciation for the initiative taken by the Croatian Government and to express once again its appreciation for the work done by the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR). We wish to pay particular tribute to the Bangladesh forces which are so effectively carrying out their duties in the most difficult and dangerous circumstances.
Pakistan has been deeply concerned by the blatant attacks by the Krajina Serbs over the last two days, and my delegation voted in favour of resolution 958 (1994) in the full expectation that it would enable UNPROFOR to fulfil its mandate and that the necessary action, through the use of air power, would be immediately effected if the situation so warrants.
I shall now make a statement in my capacity as representative of the United States.
Let me begin by reminding members of the Council why we must continue to meet on the subject of Bosnia. Last July, a peace plan developed by the Contact Group was endorsed by the Council. Since then the Government of Bosnia and Herzegovina has accepted the plan, and so have the Bosnian Croats. Only the Bosnian Serbs have refused. It is the failure of the Bosnian Serbs to sign the peace plan that has caused the fighting in Bosnia to continue and to escalate.
I know there are those who condemn Bosnia for its recent attacks on Bosnian Serb forces in parts of central and western Bosnia. My Government regrets all the continued fighting, but let us not confuse attacks made to recover territory lost to aggression with aggression itself. Let us not confuse the actions of a Government that has declared its desire for peace with that of a faction unyielding in pursuit of war. The Bosnian Government did not start this war, and it is willing to end it. The Bosnian Serbs began this war, and it is they who refuse to sign an agreement to end it.
Now we face a new threshold. In support of Bosnian Serb aggression, the so-called Krajina Serbs are collaborating in an attack on the sovereign territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina. They are presenting the Government of Croatia with a difficult dilemma. The unification of territory held by the so-called Krajina Serbs with the territory controlled by the Bosnian Serbs could cause the Government of Croatia to intervene and thus spawn a new spiral of war.
The Croatian Government has so far shown commendable restraint, but let no member of the Council doubt this: Krajina Serb collaboration with Bosnian Serb aggression could spark a wider Balkan war. Krajina Serb forces have violated an international border. Their attacks from the air and from the land are jeopardizing civilians in Bihac and also the United Nations troops deployed there. The Council has now clarified that the use of air power is authorized to attack targets in Croatia that threaten safe areas in Bosnia or United Nations troops operating in Bosnia.
Yesterday Krajina Serbs attacked Bosnia, and the United Nations Commander for the Former Yugoslavia, General de Lapresle, raised the issue of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) response from the air. My Government believes that an immediate, affirmative response would have been legally authorized by previous resolutions of the Council. This morning another attack, launched from the same airfield at Udbina, struck targets in the Bihac pocket. Once again the tragic result was civilian casualties.
Let us be clear: what we are witnessing is a pattern of activity from the Udbina Airfield that places at risk the safe area of Bihac, civilians in the Bihac pocket and United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) troops deployed there. My Government believes that this pattern of military activity justifies a military response from NATO. Therefore, we welcome this resolution. It makes clearer yet the intention of the Council to prevent bombardments of Bosnia. We would expect that any request for NATO air strikes on Udbina, made today or in the future, would yield a positive response from all concerned.
I now resume my functions as President of the Council.
There are no further speakers. The Security Council has thus concluded the present stage of its consideration of the item on its agenda. The Security Council will remain seized of the matter.