Bosnia Press Statement
By the North Atlantic Council Secretary General, following the North Atlantic Council Meeting of 25 July 1995
Following the London Conference last Friday, a specific warning was issued that any attack by the Bosnian Serbs on Gorazde would be met with a substantial and decisive response. Last Saturday, the North Atlantic Council met and, in the light of the gravity of the situation, directed the NATO Military Authorities immediately to prepare plans to implement this warning.
Today, following intensive work by the NATO Military Authorities, the North Atlantic Council has approved the necessary planning to ensure that NATO air power would be used in a timely and effective way should the Bosnian Serbs threaten or attack Gorazde. We have also invited the NATO Military Authorities urgently to formulate proposals on how this planning could be applied to the other Safe Areas, in view particularly of the current very serious situation in Bihac.
The planning we have undertaken is built upon the Council's decisions of August 1993 and April 1994 and falls under the authority of existing UN Security Council resolutions. Over the past few days, I have had contacts with Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali and after the Council tonight I made the first reports over the phone regarding the decisions and I have immediately sent to Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali a detailed summary of our decisions so that he has the opportunity with his experts to study immediately the contents of the decisions made by the NAC. NATO will now be working urgently together with the UN to ensure the necessary coordination.
For reasons that I hope you will understand, I do not want to go into operational details. Suffice it to say that NATO's planning is designed to ensure that military preparations by the Bosnian Serbs which are judged to present a direct threat to Gorazde, or direct Bosnian Serb attacks on Gorazde, will be met with the firm and rapid response of NATO's air power. The planning provides for NATO and the UN to take the necessary decisions to launch significant air strikes in the event of such actions. There is a strong feeling among Allies that such operations, once they are launched, will not lightly be discontinued. In the face of the inherent risks, the Alliance is determined.
Let me underline once again NATO's strong support for the continued efforts of the international community, including those of the Contact Group, to bring peace to the former Yugoslavia through the diplomatic process. The ultimate aim of a negotiated, political settlement cannot be attained unless the current offensives against the UN safe areas cease and all side desist from further military action. It is the hope of the North Atlantic Council that today's decisions will contribute to stopping the current offensives and restarting the peace process.
NATO continues to support the presence of UN forces in the former Yugoslavia, which is essential to help relieve the human suffering and support the search for a peaceful settlement. Today's decisions are intended to underpin that presence.
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