19 AUGUST 1995, Page 25

Fighting talk

Sir: Charles Moore's claim (Another voice 29 July) that General Sir Michael Rose was, in effect, a defender of the Bosnian Serbs is incorrect and unsubstantiated. Whatever assessment is made of his politi- cal and PR abilities, it is his record as a sol- dier that will be remembered. He was placed in an almost impossible position by a combination of tragic circumstances, which could have been prevented if the international community had been pre- pared to provide adequate resources and commitment at an early stage. The over- ambitious expectations that have been placed on the UN in Bosnia, and the incor- rect information about UN objectives gen- erated by many in the media, were not the responsibility of General Rose.

It is often argued that the Bosnian con- flict is a war of international aggression which the UN has failed to recognise. It is true that many Serbian citizens (with or without official support) continue to pro- vide significant military assistance to the Pale regime, but it is also the case that many thousands of Bosnian citizens have taken up arms against their own govern- ment. The use of military force will not per- suade these people to recognise the legiti- macy of the Bosnian government, and it is high time that this fact was recognised. Nor will it provide the political solution that this conflict so desperately needs.

Malcolm Harper

United Nations Association of Great Britain, 3 Whitehall Court, London SW1