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BRITAIN / BOSNIA AID BY ANDRE DE NESNERA/ LONDON

From: yanni@ix.netcom.com (Ioannis Bousnakis)

DATE=8/21/95

TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT

NUMBER=5-30917

TITLE= BRITAIN / BOSNIA AID

BYLINE= ANDRE DE NESNERA

DATELINE= LONDON

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:

INTRO: THE CHAIRMAN OF A SMALL BRITISH CHARITY HAS CALLED ON THE UNITED NATIONS TO CHANGE ITS MANDATE AND PROTECT ALL RELIEF CONVOYS -- NOT JUST THOSE UNDER U-N AUSPICES. AS V-O-A CORRESPONDENT ANDRE DE NESNERA REPORTS FROM LONDON, THE APPEAL COMES AFTER TWO BRITISH RELIEF WORKERS AND THREE U-S PEACE NEGOTIATORS WERE KILLED ON THE DANGEROUS MOUNT IGMAN ROAD, LEADING INTO SARAJEVO

TEXT: THE BRITISH CHARITY "BOSNIA AID OF OXFORD" HAS BEEN WORKING IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA FOR MORE THAN THREE YEARS. IT HAS DELIVERED MORE THAN ONE-THOUSAND TONS OF FOOD AND MEDICINES TO SARAJEVO AND OTHER MORE REMOTE AREAS OF THE COUNTRY.

IN ADDITION TO SUPPLYING AID, THE SMALL BRITISH CHARITY IS HELPING REBUILD A MENTAL HOSPITAL IN A VILLAGE NOT FAR FROM SARAJEVO, IN TERRITORY CONTROLLED BY THE BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT. BUT TIM WINTER -- CHAIRMAN OF "BOSNIA AID OF OXFORD" -- SAYS THE MENTAL HOSPITAL IS REGULARLY SHELLED AND MACHINE-GUNNED BY BOSNIAN SERBS.

                    /// WINTER ACTUALITY ///

WE GET ABOUT TEN TO 15 SHELLS -- FAIRLY HEAVY ONES -- EVERY DAY. IT IS WHAT IS KNOWN COLLOQUIALLY IN BOSNIA AS "RECREATIONAL SHELLING,," IN AS MUCH AS THE PLACE HAS ABSOLUTELY NO STRATEGIC VALUE. BUT IT DOES, OF COURSE, TERRIFY NOT ONLY PEOPLE LIKE MYSELF WHEN I AM THERE, BUT ALSO THE POOR MENTAL PATIENTS. THERE ARE 400 PEOPLE THERE, AND, WHENEVER A SHELL GOES OFF, THEY SCREAM AND THEY DIVE UNDER THEIR BEDS OR HIDE IN CUPBOARDS AND IT IS A VERY DISTRESSING SITUATION ALL AROUND.

                     /// END ACTUALITY ///

THE VILLAGE WHERE THE MENTAL HOSPITAL IS BEING REBUILT IS LOCATED AT THE STARTING POINT OF THE MOUNT IGMAN ROAD -- THE MAIN LAND ROUTE FOR SUPPLIES INTO SARAJEVO. THAT ROAD IS ALSO REGULARLY SHELLED BY BOSNIAN-SERB TROOPS. WITHIN THE PAST WEEK, TWO BRITISH RELIEF WORKERS AND THREE U-S PEACE NEGOTIATORS WERE KILLED AS THEY TRAVELED ON THE TREACHEROUS MOUNT IGMAN ROAD.

MR. WINTER IS CALLING FOR THE UNITED NATIONS TO CHANGE ITS MANDATE AND PROVIDE PRIVATE CHARITIES SUCH AS "BOSNIA AID OF OXFORD" WITH THE SAME PROTECTION GIVEN U-N RELIEF CONVOYS.

                   /// WINTER ACTUALITY ///

UNFORTUNATELY, THE BRITISH U-N BATTERIES WHICH WERE DEPLOYED TO PROTECT THAT ROAD ABOUT THREE-WEEKS AGO ARE AUTHORIZED TO PROTECT ONLY OFFICIAL U-N CONVOYS AND PRIVATE CHARITIES SUCH AS OURSELVES ARE GIVEN NO PROTECTION. SO, YOU NOW HAVE THE ABSURD SPECTACLE OF BRITISH TROOPS BEING PROHIBITED FROM DEFENDING BRITISH AID WORKERS. AND, AS WE SAW LAST WEEK THIS POLICY HAS NOW CLAIMED BRITISH LIVES AND WE ARE URGENTLY PRESSING THE FOREIGN OFFICE AND THE UNITED NATIONS TO EXTEND ITS MANDATE FOR MOUNT IGMAN IN ORDER TO PROTECT VEHICLES FROM THE SERBIAN ATTACKS.

                      /// END ACTUALITY ///

MR. WINTER HAS NOT YET RECEIVED A RESPONSE. IN THE MEANTIME, HE HAS PROHIBITED ALL HIS DRIVERS FROM GOING ANYWHERE NEAR THE MOUNT IGMAN ROAD.

                   /// WINTER ACTUALITY ///

UNTIL SOME U-N ENGINEERS WIDEN IT AND STRENGTHEN IT AND PUT A PROPER SURFACE ON IT -- AND THE UNITED NATIONS TROOPS -- THE BRITISH AND THE FRENCH WHICH ARE ON MOUNT IGMAN -- ACTUALLY START PROTECTING THE N-G-O'S, THAT IS THE NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS AS WELL AS THE OFFICIAL U-N VEHICLES. I CANNOT BELIEVE THE WESTERN POWERS, AS INCARNATED IN THE UNITED NATIONS, CANNOT PUT A PROPER SURFACE ON A 10-MILE ROAD IN BOSNIA. IT SHOULD NOT BE BEYOND THEM.

                      /// END ACTUALITY /

MR. WINTER SAYS -- IF CONDITIONS ON THE MOUNT IGMAN ROAD DO NOT IMPROVE -- MANY RELIEF ORGANIZATIONS WILL THINK TWICE ABOUT USING THAT ROUTE. THOSE WHO WILL SUFFER THE MOST, SAYS MR. WINTER, ARE -- ONCE AGAIN -- THE PEOPLE OF SARAJEVO. (SIGNED)

NEB/ADN/WOD/RAE

NEB/ADEN/

21-Aug-95 10:37 AM EDT (1437 UTC)

NNNN

Source: Voice of America

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