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Bosnia: UN Security Council Extends Peacekeeping Mission

United Nations, 4 July 2002 (RFE/RL) -- The UN Security Council voted early this morning to extend until 15 July the mandate for UN peacekeeping mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina, which had been due to expire at midnight. The United States had threatened to veto extending the UN mission in Bosnia over its demand for immunity for its peacekeepers from the new International Criminal Court (ICC), which came into force on 1 July.

"The council felt that more time was needed to consider the propositions that have been put to it about the relationship between this peacekeeping mandate and the International Criminal Court. And obviously discussions will be going on in other places, while we think about how to move forward, and it will be brought back to the council."

The extension will give the 15-member security council 12 days to end the dispute.

Earlier, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan warned in a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell against putting the entire UN peacekeeping system at risk over what he said are exaggerated U.S. fears of vulnerability to the ICC. Annan said to his knowledge no peacekeeper in UN history has "been anywhere near the kind of crimes that fall under the jurisdiction of the ICC."