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THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release March 2, 1994
           TEXT OF A LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT
                  TO THE SPEAKER OF THE
             HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND THE
           PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE OF THE SENATE

March 1, 1994

Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)

In my report to the Congress of February 17, 1994, I provided further information on the deployment of U.S. combat-equipped aircraft to support NATO's enforcement of the no-fly zone in Bosnia-Herzegovina, as authorized by the U.N. Security Council. The United States has conducted air operations along with other participating nations for these purposes since April 12, 1993. I am providing this supplementary report, consistent with the War Powers Resolution, on the NATO military action conducted by U.S. aircraft in the airspace over Bosnia-Herzegovina on February 28, 1994.

During enforcement operations in the early morning hours of February 28, U.S. F-16 aircraft on air patrol for NATO shot down four Galeb fixed-wing aircraft that were violating the no-fly zone near Banja Luka, Bosnia-Herzegovina. After NATO airborne early-warning aircraft detected the unauthorized aircraft, two U.S. F-16s proceeded to the area and reported visual contact with a total of six Galeb aircraft. In accordance with approved procedures, the NATO airborne early-warning aircraft issued warnings to the violators that they would be engaged if they did not land or leave the no-fly zone airspace immediately. After several minutes passed with no response from the Galebs, the U.S. fighter aircraft again warned them in accordance with approved procedures and, once again, noted no response from the violators to heed the warnings. Soon thereafter, the U.S. F-16s received permission from the NATO Combined Air Operations Center to engage the violators. Just prior to the engagement, the flight leader of the U.S. fighter aircraft saw the Galebs make a bombing maneuver, and then he saw explosions on the ground. We have since received reports confirming that facilities in this area were hit by bombs during this time frame.

Having received permission to engage the violators, the lead U.S. F-16 fired air-to-air missiles and destroyed three Galeb aircraft. One of two other U.S. F-16 aircraft, which had been sent to the area to provide support, fired a missile and downed the fourth Galeb. The two remaining violators left the area.

This action, part of the NATO effort to enforce the no-fly zone, was conducted under the authority of U.N. Security Council resolutions and in full


compliance with NATO procedures. Responding to the bombing of villages and other violations of the ban on unauthorized flights established by the Security Council in late 1992, the Security Council acted

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in Resolution 816 (March 31, 1993) to authorize Member States, acting nationally or through regional organizations, to take all necessary measures to ensure compliance with the no-fly zone. NATO undertook to monitor the no-fly zone to ensure that the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina does not spread to the air.

Since the commencement of no-fly zone operations last April, nearly 12,000 fighter, tanker, and NATO airborne early-warning sorties have been flown. Military personnel from 12 NATO member nations have participated in this effort, which has been highly successful in preventing significant air threats by the parties to the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Although we have no reason to believe that there will be further violations requiring the use of force, U.S. aircraft will continue to serve as part of this important NATO enforcement effort. As always, our forces remain prepared to defend themselves if necessary. U.S. Armed Forces participate in these operations pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief.

I remain committed to ensuring that the Congress is fully informed about significant activities of U.S. Armed Forces in the region. I appreciate the continued support of the Congress for U.S. contributions to the important multilateral effort in the former Yugoslavia.

Sincerely,

WILLIAM J. CLINTON

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