From Operation “Maritime Monitor” to “Allied Force”: Reflections on Relations Between NATO and the United Nations in the 1990s

  • Mats Berdal


In June 1992, NATO formally committed itself to support international peacekeeping by making its resources available “on a case-by-case basis” at the specific request, not of the UN, but of the then CSCE.1 Yet, within little more than a year of that decision, NATO assets were employed in several parallel missions in support of UN forces deployed in the former Yugoslavia. These support activities soon came to include the enforcement of a maritime embargo in the Adriatic and a “no-fly-zone” over Bosnia-Herzegovina, as well as the provision of “protective airpower” for the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR) in Bosnia.2 For two organisations that throughout the Cold War hardly had had anything to do with one another, the speed with which relations between NATO and the UN developed in the period between 1992–1995 was striking indeed. Still, relations between the two organisations were far from trouble-free, and in 1995, during the so-called Dayton peace process, the UN’s role in the region was significantly reduced as NATO assumed the chief burden of implementing the Bosnian peace settlement.


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  1. 2.
    For a detailed account of the early evolution of NATO-UN relations in the former Yugoslavia, see Dick A. Leurdijk, The United Nations and NATO in Former Yugoslavia (The Hague: Netherlands Atlantic Commis-sion/Clingendael, 1994).Google Scholar
  2. 18.
    Sir David Hannay, ‘The UN’s Role in Bosnia Assessed’, Oxford International Review VII, 2 (Spring 1996), p. 9.Google Scholar
  3. 29.
    B. Boutros-Ghali, Unvanquished: A U.S.–U.N. Saga (New York: Random House, 1999), p. 89.Google Scholar
  4. 31.
    Laura Silber and Allan Little, The Death of Yugoslavia (London: Penguin Books, 1995), p. 319.Google Scholar
  5. 40.
    Adam Roberts, ‘NATO’s “Humanitarian War” over Kosovo’, Survival XLI 3 (Autumn 1999), p. 117–8.Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2001

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  • Mats Berdal

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