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Croatia's Role in Bosnia-Herzegovina

Regarding the editorial, "Croatia's Sellout," July 10, the contention that local self-organization of Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina constitutes "betrayal of Muslims" that is "difficult to overstate" contradicts even the President of Bosnia-Herzegovina himself.

On July 8 in Helsinki, Mr. Alija Izetbegovic and the Croatian President Franjo Tudjman jointly stated the commitment of their respective countries to territorial integrity of Bosnia-Herzegovina as guaranteed by the United Nations charter and CSCE documents.

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Rather than blame Bosnian Croats and Mr. Tudjman, the US and the West should acknowledge their own responsibility for the perceived fragmentation of that country: Had the West provided timely and effective political and military assistance, the Bosnian government might not have failed to provide protection, social infrastructure and leadership.

The refusal by many in the West, including some United Nations officials, to side with the legitimate government of Bosnia-Herzegovina, a UN member state, has not been helpful. The overt resolve by the US administration not to commit ground troops to Bosnia shows to ethnic Croats that the Sarajevo government does not enjoy genuine international support.

To back a government without credible strategy, military muscle, and effective foreign support, is too much to expect from anyone. Yet it is the Bosnian Croat forces that saved the Sarajevo government from total military defeat. It is time for the West either to help that government or to stop pointing the finger. Stanimir Vuk-Pavlovic, Rochester, Minn.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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