John Silvester, commander of the international stabilisation force in Bosnia /KFOR/, has come up with an appeal to combine the armed forces of the entities of the Bosnian union -- the Muslim-Croatian federation and the Serbian republic -- into one compact army. The American general said in Sarajevo that Bosnia "cannot afford" maintaining two armies totalling 42,000 servicemen. The American general said he understands that the wounds of a civil war in Bosnia are still bleeding but the rest of the world cannot get the idea why two armies are still required. Local observers note that Western countries continue to pressure the leadership of the Muslim-Croatian federation and the Serbian republic towards starting a process of uniting their armed forces. The West also insists on reducing their numerical strength to 20,000 by 2005. The federation's leaders are ready to begin to talk terms for uniting their armies. Meanwhile, the authorities of the Serbian republic do not like the idea. Now the Muslim-Croatian federation has a 26,000-strong army, on whose upkeep it annually spends about a fourth of its budget. The Serbian republic annually spends about a third to maintain its 16,000-strong army.
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