London, 4 December 1996 (RFE/RL) - The United States and its Western allies condemned the Serbian government today for its failure to adhere to democratic principles. The condemnation came at the opening of an international conference in London to review the peace process in Bosnia.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State John Kornblum, who is the U.S. envoy to the former Yugoslavia, called the state of democracy in Serbia "deplorable." While Serbia is not on the conference agenda, Kornblum said the presence of so many countries in London should be used to "send a very clear signal to Serbia" that Belgrade's actions are endangering the peace process in the region. The Canadian, French and British governments also expressed their concern at Belgrade's recent cancellation of municipal elections and the subsequent demonstrations which are now gripping Serbia.
On the subject of Bosnia, world leaders urged the country's three leaders to abide by the terms of last year's Dayton peace accord or risk loosing vital reconstruction aid. British Prime Minister John Major, who met with the country's three presidents, said more financial aid would be forthcoming from the international community, but only if all three remained committed to "implement all aspects of the peace agreement."
NATO Secretary General Javier Solana said NATO plans to review the size of its international peacekeeping force in Bosnia next June with a view to reducing it substantially over 1997.