Bosnian Chief May Take Islamic Aid
With expectations low for Geneva talks, Izetbegovic says West's failure to help leaves his nation few alternatives
BOSNIAN President Alija Izetbegovic told Vice President-elect Al Gore Jr. and Clinton transition team officials this weekend that the West had so far "done very little" to help his besieged country and that he may soon accept military help from the Islamic world.
Such help, which seems likely to include troops, advisers, and equipment from countries such as Turkey and Iran, would add a new dimension to the crisis, given centuries of Turkish domination in the region. But because of "the genocide we have suffered I must try to help our people," Izetbegovic told reporters here Friday during a whirlwind visit to the United States.
Underscoring his message, Izetbegovic yesterday flew to Dakar, Senegal, in Turkish President Turgut Ozal's plane to attend a meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference that has been convened to discuss humanitarian and military aid to Bosnia. The Muslim nations are likely to reiterate their call for United Nations intervention in the Balkans. 5,000 troops
But Izetbegovic will also be offered at least 5,000 troops, probably Iranian, who are ready to be sent to Bosnia immediately, according to Turkish sources in Washington. Acceptance of the troops will depend on the progress of the UN peace talks under way in Geneva, sources near Izetbegovic said.
The status of the Geneva talks remains unclear following brutal murder by Serb soldiers of Bosnian Deputy Prime Minister Hakija Turajlic. Turajlic was shot Friday after his UN convoy was hijacked by Serb forces. He was returning from an airport meeting with Turkish officials.
According to members of Bosnia's mission to the US, Mr. Gore, who met with Izetbegovic for 40 minutes on Friday, expressed anger with the Bosnian Serbs and the Serb government in Belgrade and said many in the next administration wanted to "do something" about the crisis.
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