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Putting Serbia on Notice

The front-page article "Serbia Meeting Dims Prospects For Bosnia Talks," Jan. 8, illustrates the world community's ineffectual response to the Yugoslavia crisis. The conflict is heading toward a wider circle of violence that may soon engulf countries outside the former Yugoslavia. Those who advocate continued negotiations with President Slobodan Milosevic are not taking into account the serious threat this presents to our collective security.

What is needed on the part of leaders in Europe and the United States is the vision and courage to stop desperately clinging to the illusion that the crisis can be resolved without forceful and unified action. This illusion has restricted our actions largely to half-measures, which signals Mr. Milosevic and his supporters that their vision of a world ruled by nationalist hatred will go unchallenged.

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We should put Serbia on notice that we don't care to put the fate of our collective security in their hands by cutting off sponsorship for negotiations that only serve to legitimize Serbia's actions. This would not mean that we had given up on resolving the conflict and providing humanitarian assistance for its victims, but rather that we took these things seriously. Brian Humphreys, Portland, Ore.

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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