NATO warplanes bomb Serb targets
By Srecko Latal
30 August 1995.
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — In their most massive attack yet on Bosnian Serbs, wave after wave of NATO warplanes bombed Serb targets around Sarajevo early Wednesday in retaliation for a marketplace massacre [the second markale massacre] that killed 37 people.
Jets roared over Sarajevo at about 2 a.m. (8 p.m. EDT Tuesday), and the first explosions were heard 90 minutes later from the southeast, in the direction of the Bosnian Serb stronghold of Pale.
Observers in Sarajevo also could see bright flashes and hear explosions from the direction of Vogosca, a Serb-held suburb a few miles north of Sarajevo. There is a Bosnian Serb munitions factory in the town.
The sky over Vogosca was red and a huge cloud of smoke could be seen in the predawn light. There appeared to be a large fire burning past a frontline hill north of the besieged capital.
President Clinton, vacationing in Jackson Hole, Wyo., called the attack “an appropriate response to the shelling of Sarajevo.”
“I think it is something that had to be done,” Clinton added.
The Western allies demanded retaliation after U.N. investigators concluded the Serbs were responsible for the mortar attack near a crowded Sarajevo market Monday that killed 37 people.
Flashes of explosives also were seen to the south, and the rumble of artillery could be heard. U.N. spokesman Alexander Ivanko confirmed that the international rapid reaction force, dug in on Mount Igman southwest of Sarajevo, also was in action.
Allies toughen on Sarajevo: U.S. aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt ordered to Adriatic
WASHINGTON (AP) — As a U.S. warship prepared to deploy in the Adriatic, the United States and its allies agreed Tuesday that Bosnian Serbs should be punished militarily for their mortar attack on Sarajevo, U.S. officials said.
At the same time, Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, in an apparent attempt to head off military retaliation, indicated a willingness to negotiate a “comprehensive peace agreement” on the basis of an ongoing U.S. peace initiative.
U.S. officials, while saying they were encouraged by Karadzic’s new stand, said it will nto affect the determination of NATO and the United Nations to punish the Serbs for Monday’s attack.
“I can say that the allies are together,” a senior administration official said. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was “particularly significant” that U.N. commander Gen. Ruper Smith held the Serbs fully responsible for the attack, which claimed 37 lives and left more than 100 wounded.
Under an agreement reached last month, NATO military action in Bosnia is to be coordinated by NATO and U.N. military officials and is not subject to veto by civilian officials at U.N. headquarters.
The scope of the military retaliation agreed to by the allies was not disclosed.
Karadzic made known his stand in a letter to former President Carter, who helped negotiate a truce in Bosnia late last year.
Karadzic’s letter states: “The territorial proposal contained in the U.S. peace initiative will remain the basis for a settlement and will be open for adjustment to benefit the interest of both parties.”
Burns said that while aspects of the letter need clarification, “there are some potentially positive elements in it which we are examining carefully.”
Earlier Tuesday, the Bosnian Serb assembly issued a statement saying the Bosnian Serbs “are ready to conclude a lasting and just peace” based on the U.S. proposal.
U.S. officials viewed that statement as a cynical ploy. But they seemed more hopeful about the chances for peace when copies of the Karadzic letter arrive din Washington on Tuesday afternoon.
The United States and its negotiating partners have proposed a territorial compromise under which the Bosnian Serbs would be required to surrender about a third of the territory they have conquered in more than three years of warfare.
As a U.S. negotiating team continued talks in Paris, the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt’s scheduled port call in Greece was canceled and the vessel was ordered to steam toward the Adriatic Sea.
The Bosnian Serbs must be held accountable,” State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said. “A military response is appropriate,” he added, calling Monday’s attack the “latest example of murderous behavior by the Bosnian Serbs.”
Other officials said the imperative to retaliate was not changed by the Karadzic letter. But Carter told Cable News Network he believes Karadzic’s proposal is worth serious attention.
“As the recent tragic attack on Sarajevo has demonstrated once again, peace will not come easily, but there is good reason to take Dr. Karadzic’s statement and put it to the test and to seek comparable helpful efforts from all the other parties involved to move rapidly to talks,” he said.
Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, R-Kan., used the occasion of the attack to press for his proposal for the withdrawal of U.N. peace-keepers and for an end to the United Nations embargo on arms deliveries to Bosnia.