Former Yugoslavia (September 1994)
by Humanitarian Practice Network September 1994

The optimism of the summer, when Sarajevo saw a return to a semblance of normality, has been steadily eroded.

A combination of Western frustration at the lack of progress at the Geneva Peace Talks and greater willingness by UNPROFOR to deploy NATO airstrikes in confronting the Bosnian-Serbs has resulted in restricted movements by convoys and a tightening of the Bosnian-Serb pressure on Sarajevo, including the cutting of basic services to the city and increased sniper activity.

To increase pressure on the parties to settle, but particularly the Bosnian-Serbs, the UN Security Council has threatened to lift the arms embargo currently enforced on the Bosnian Government linked to a simultaneous withdrawal of UNPROFOR.

The UN Secretary-General has approved a withdrawal plan which would take two months and would require the deployment of additional UN forces to cover the withdrawing troops.

In the event of such a scenario there would probably be a full scale resumption of hostilities between the Bosnian Government forces and the Bosnian Serbs but unlike in 1993 the former would be better armed and relatively stronger.

The implications of such a scenario for humanitarian agencies currently operating within the UNPROFOR/UNHCR framework would be bleak.