Copenhagen, March 20 (RFE/RL) - The former
European Union (EU) envoy to the Balkans, Thorvald Stoltenberg, says
NATO must continue its mandate in Bosnia beyond the December 1996
In an interview with our correspondent in Copenhagen, Stoltenberg
said he believes that there will be long-term peace in the Balkans,
but that it is unrealistic to expect to establish democratic
institutions in Bosnia on the current schedule.
Stoltenberg said he considers it imperative that the United States
agrees. He said he expects U.S. President Bill Clinton to keep his
promise to withdraw American troops from Bosnia prior to the
November 5 U.S. presidential elections. But, he said, a new
administration in Washington might continue their mandate. The U.S.
is the only power that can bring long-term peace to the Balkans, he
Thorvald Stoltenberg, a former Foreign Minister of Norway, was EU
mediator in the Balkans for three years. He is currently the
Norwegian Ambassador to Denmark.
In the interview, Stoltenberg said that only the U.S. can
implement the Dayton peace accord, because the EU does not yet have a
coherent foreign policy. He said, however, that the role of Western
Europe should not be minimized. The EU operation kept three-million
people from starving, while UNPROFOR soldiers died in former
Yugoslavia, he said, and the Americans arrived there only when there
was no more full-scale war.
The ambassador said that the U.S. must have known that a
lasting peace settlement cannot be achieved within the time limits of
the Dayton accord. But, he said, considering U.S. internal politics,
setting the time limit for deploying the U.S. troops was unavoidable.
The Dayton accords have deficiencies, Stoltenburg acknowledged.
However, he said, at the time it was worked out, as he put it, "an
imperfect peace was better than a continuing war."America was
successful because it used the promises of reward and punishment.
Europe couldn't or wouldn't do that, he said.