The Bush administration says it will do its part to ensure stability in the Balkans. Officials are keeping a close watch on negotiations in the United Nations Security Council that could determine the fate of the U.N.'s peacekeeping force in Bosnia.
The United States is threatening to end the U.N. peacekeeping mandate in Bosnia unless American personnel are exempt from prosecution by the new International Criminal Court.
White House Spokesman Ari Fleischer says the Bush administration will not back down. "The United States is working very hard through the United Nations and bilateral conversations to try to reach agreement to give our peacekeepers the immunities that we seek and they deserve," he explained.
But Mr. Fleischer makes clear no matter what happens at the U.N., the U.S. will find a way to ensure stability in Bosnia. "Our peacekeepers and military people in the field are well-prepared to do what we ask them to do," he said. "So it is not a questions of withdrawal; it is a question of mandate."
President Bush said Tuesday that his administration would try to work out the impasse at the United Nations. But at the same time, he reaffirmed his strong opposition to the new permanent war crimes tribunal, saying it will never receive U.S. support.
The Bush administration has long maintained the court poses a threat to U.S. sovereignty, and that American soldiers and diplomats could be brought before the tribunal for politically motivated reasons.