US general apologises for gay Dutch troops slur

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An American general has apologised for his claim that the presence of homosexual troops was responsible for the Dutch army's failure to prevent the 1995 Srebrenica massacre.

John Sheehan, a former US General and Nato commander, caused outrage two weeks ago when he alleged that open homosexuality in the Dutch ranks had so damaged military morale that the country's army was powerless to prevent genocide in Bosnia.

He claimed, before a US Senate hearing, that Henk van den Breemen, the Dutch chief of the defence staff in 1995, had told him of problems related to gay troops.

Without explicitly referring to gay Dutch military, General Sheehan acknowledged that a weak United Nations mandate for troops was the problem facing peacekeepers.

A spokesperson for the Dutch Ministry of Defence said General Van den Breemen was satisfied with the apology.

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