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1992 - Mr Major’s Comments on Bosnia

Below is the text of Mr Major's comments on Bosnia, made in an interview on Monday 21st December 1992.


QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked if he had been pushed into a policy on Bosnia against his will].

PRIME MINISTER:

I don’t believe remotely that is the case. We have reacted very cautiously on Bosnia but I think we also have to realise what is happening there. Many of the actions we have seen in Bosnia are quite unspeakable, quite intolerable, and I think we have to reflect that in our policy but I say there is caution and I say that for good reason. Although I think policy is now moving forward, people have to realise the wider issues that are actually at stake in Bosnia. Bosnia itself is very important, so of course is the danger of conflagration spreading either to Macedonia or Kosovo. Were either of those two events to happen, one might have a much wider Balkans war. That is something we need to bear in mind as we develop our policy as we have been doing.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked if he had support from the US if British troops or aid workers were attacked].

PRIME MINISTER:

I am very happy with the discussions I had with President Bush over the weekend. There is still some more work to be done on the nature of the no-fly zone Resolution. I am confident now that there will be and that we will be able to take policy forward. I think for a raft of reasons it is desirable that we should have this particular Resolution and we have been looking at how it will be enforced, the nature of enforcement, the time-scale and those were all matters which we discussed over the weekend.

QUESTION:

[Mr Major was asked if there would be a 15 day warning period to the Serbs].

PRIME MINISTER:

It is certainly our wish that there should be a pause between the passage of the Resolution and its commencement for a whole series of practical reasons to do with the security of the UN humanitarian forces and also the British forces - that is certainly true.

There is no agreement on the period. The 15 days has entered into parlance because that of course was the period that applied in Kuwait, but there are different circumstances in Bosnia and no time-scale has yet been agreed.