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Britain Warns U.S. against Lifting Bosnia Embargo

Los Angeles Times
LONDON

Britain warned the United States on Monday that it will remove its peacekeeping troops from Bosnia if the United States insists on lifting the arms embargo currently in operation against the Muslim-led Bosnian government.

Britain said, however, that it will not attempt to veto any American move at the United Nations to end the sanctions but rather will abstain, on the grounds the United States would go ahead with such an action unilaterally.

Following a vote by the U.S. Congress, the Clinton administration has set a deadline of Oct. 15 for the Bosnian Serb rebels to accept an international peace plan that gives them only 49 percent of the geographical area of the country or see the weapons embargo lifted.

The Serbs overwhelmingly rejected the peace plan in a referendum last month.

"If the U.N. was to decide to start supplying arms to one of the combatants in this war," said Britsh Defense Secretary Malcolm Rifkind, "there is no way in which U.N. forces could remain in Bosnia on a bipartisan basis."

Britain and France, which have the most troops serving under the U.N. peace-keeping mandate in the former Yugoslavia, have opposed a lifting of the arms embargo, arguing that it would only intensify the war.

Lifting the embargo would reunite the Serbs, Rifkind said, and invite Russian hostility.

German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel declared: "Lifting the embargo would give rise to incalculable risks and should only be considered as a solution of last resort. It should not be imposed unless we are sure our peacemaking efforts have failed."

Clinton Inaugurates National Service Program for Youth

Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON

President Clinton inaugurated his national service program for youth Monday, swearing in thousands of young recruits across the country who will work in schools and hospitals and help clean up the environment.

The program, dubbed AmeriCorps, was approved by Congress last year to allow youths to earn college tuition or to pay off tuition loans by performing community service.

"Service is a spark to rekindle the spirit of democracy in an age of uncertainty," Clinton told hundreds of recruits gathered on the White House lawn in a ceremony beamed by satellite to thousands of others.

The ceremony, attended by first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Vice President Al Gore and leading congressional sponsors of the national service legislation, was delayed several hours and later moved to the front of the White House from the larger South Lawn because of the crash earlier of a small aircraft on the grounds of the executive mansion.

Fulfilling a key pledge of Clinton's presidential campaign, AmeriCorps is a domestic version of the Peace Corps, which was created by President Kennedy, the chief executive whom Clinton most admires.