Bonn, 10 September 1996 (RFE/RL) - International peacekeeping troops should remain in Bosnia until October 1997 and could be led by a German commander, said German Defense Minister Volker Ruehe.
Ruehe also told the daily "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" today that an extended international peacekeeping mandate was essential to establish military equilibrium in the region between former warring factions. But Ruehe, who has spoken several times about extending an IFOR mandate, ruled out a stay of more than another year.
Other NATO members have kept quiet on the subject. Washington has refused comment until after U.S. elections on November 5.
About 50,000 troops from 34 countries under American leadership are deployed in Bosnia to help implement the Dayton peace accord, which ended 43 months of war last December. IFOR's mandate runs out in December, but there is much speculation over whether some form of security force should remain.