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Bosnia: Pentagon A Long Way From Troop Decision

Washington, 7 November 1997 (RFE/RL) - U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen reiterated the White House view yesterday that there is no consensus in Washington about whether American troops should remain in Bosnia after their scheduled departure date in June.

Cohen told reporters that President Bill Clinton has only taken the first step in developing a policy about what to do after the June deadline. Clinton discussed the issue with leading members of the U.S. Congress this week.

Congress passed a resolution last year that will cut off funds for the U.S. troops in the NATO peacekeeping force in June, when NATO's mission is to end. However, the president can continue to fund military operations in Bosnia if he certifies to Congress that it is in the national interest.

Cohen said there is also a consensus developing that some international presence will be needed in Bosnia to maintain peace there. But he said no decisions have been taken on what form that presence would take and whether the U.S. would contribute manpower, technical resources or both.