Bosnian Serbs issued fresh threats against United Nations peacekeeping forces Sunday in a defiant response to a NATO air strike and the imposition of tighter sanctions by the Security Council.
The head of the Bosnian Serb army, General Ratko Mladic, in a veiled threat to the U.N. troops, told their commanders he could not take responsibility for the safety of U.N. operations on his territory.The main U.N. relief agency said food stocks in Sarajevo, which has been denied aid convoys and U.N. relief flights by Bosnian Serb actions, would run out soon.
"We have stocks of food for about two weeks," said Kris Janowski, spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.
Mladic's statement, in a letter to the U.N. military commander in former Yugoslavia, French General Bertrand de Lapresle, was the latest in a series of threats after Thursday's NATO air strike on a Bosnian Serb tank.
The Serbs, piling pressure on the U.N. Protection Force (UNPROFOR) have forced the closure of Sarajevo airport by refusing to guarantee safety for U.N. aircraft landing or taking off there.
U.N. troops at the airport were on heightened alert after a Bosnian Serb officer warned that all aircraft would be fired on, a U.N. spokesman said. "A Serb liaison officer threatened any U.N. plane would be shot," said Major Koos Sol.
UNPROFOR officers were not sure if senior Bosnian Serb commanders were behind the threat issued by the local officer. But they expressed deep concern about the continued closure of the airport.
The Bosnian Serbs have halted U.N. military and aid convoys, withdrawn permission for U.N. helicopter flights over their territory and prevented peacekeepers from checking that they have removed banned guns from an exclusion zone around the city.