THE WHITE HOUSE OFFICE OF THE PRESS SECRETARY
For Immediate Release August 2, 1993
Statement by the Press Secretary
We welcome NATO's decision today in Brussels to prepare for air strikes against the Bosnian Serbs if they continue to strangle Sarajevo. At an emergency meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Brussels today, our NATO allies gave their support to the American initiative to relieve the siege of Sarajevo and to promote a peaceful settlement to the conflict in BosniaHerzegovina.
President Clinton wrote to NATO Heads of State and Government on July 30 to express his view that the Serbs' efforts to strangle the city of Sarajevo -- through continued artillery attacks, military offensives, and cut-offs of food, water and fuel -- had reached a critical point, threatening a humanitarian disaster and undermining prospects for the negotiations. He proposed the use of air strikes, if necessary, to relieve the siege of Sarajevo and to promote a peaceful settlement at the Geneva talks -- in effect, putting NATO air power in the service of diplomacy. Secretary Christopher wrote his NATO counterparts the same day explaining the details of the U.S. initiative and seeking the Allies' support at an emergency session of NATO's supreme body, the North Atlantic Council (NAC).
At today's NAC meeting, the Allies confirmed the U.S. view that the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and particularly in Sarajevo, was unacceptable. They warned the Serbs and other parties to the conflict that NATO would take effective action in response. The Allies specifically agreed to commence immediate preparations to undertake air strikes against the Serbs and other responsible parties in Bosnia-Herzegovina if the strangulation of Sarajevo and other areas continues. NATO's military authorities were instructed to devise options for air strikes on an urgent basis. It was agreed that such strikes would be carried out within the framework of existing UN Security Council resolutions, and in full coordination with UNPROFOR in order to ensure the safety of UN personnel performing their important humanitarian mission. Military authorities were also asked to draw up appropriate command and control and decision-making arrangements.
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Text of NATO Resolution
The North Atlantic Council:
order to review progress in the Geneva negotiations and the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina, especially around Sarajevo and the other safe areas, and to consider in consultation with the UN authorities, and taking account of any report from the Co-Chairman of the ICFY, whether military action by Allies, referred to in paragraph 4 above, is necessary.