UNTV Special Report on the NATO airstrike on a Bosnian Serb position outside Sarajevo. Includes interview with General Rose and Michael Williams.
Footage from a press conference in which Michael Williams, Spokesman for the SRSG, explains recent events: Bosnian Serb soldiers forcibly removed four heavy weapons from a Weapons Collection Point within the Sarajevo Heavy Weapon Exclusion Zone at 03.50 hours this morning. In response General De LaPresle, Force Commander, acting under the authority of Yasushi Akashi Special Representative to the Secretary General, resolved that “all available means within the mandate, including NATO air support, must be deployed to react to this deliberate violation while adhering to the principle of proportionate response”.
UNTV Special report giving the background to last week’s events. Interview with Lieutenant General Rose, Commander of UNPROFOR forces, in Bosnia Herzegovina. He says that they had received a letter from a Bosnian Serb commander saying that they needed these weapons. Interview with Michael Williams who says that three or four days beforehand, the Bosnian Serbs threatened to take the weapons and they were warned that by breaking the terms of the current agreement there a was strong likelihood that a NATO airstrike would be used in response.
Rose says that they told the Bosnian Serbs that there were ways for them to get their weapons back but in no way could they do so by force. Williams emphasises that UNPROFOR is trying to protect the fragile peace but its mandate, delivered by the Security Council, gave clear authorisation for the use of force. Williams explains that a FREBAT helicopter tracked the weapons but it came under sustained small arms fire and was unable to continue. An airstrike was then used to destroy a Bosnian Serb anti-tank weapons system within the Exclusion Zone. This was a restrained response. Rose says that the weapons were then returned. He says that there was no danger of collateral damage and the airstrike had sent a clear message to both sides not to forcibly remove heavy weapons from collection points. UNPROFOR’s aim is not to disarm either side, but to maintain conditions in which peace can be negotiated with minimal violence by both sides.