Bosnian talks fail to stop shelling

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The Independent Online
THE LEADER of Bosnia's Serbs called yesterday's EC-sponsored talks in London the last chance for peace in the war-torn territory, but there was little sign of a breakthrough among the three warring factions last night, write Annika Savill and agencies.

Leaders of Bosnia's Serb, Muslim and Croat communities held separate talks with Lord Carrington, the EC mediator, at Christie's, of which Lord Carrington is chairman. Radovan Karadzic, the leader of Bosnia's Serbs, began the day of talks by offering a unilateral ceasefire and said the Serbs were ready to guarantee a land corridor for the transport of humanitarian aid.

Before meeting another EC mediator, Jose Cutileiro, Mr Karadzic said he hoped the Muslim representative, Bosnia's Foreign Minister, Haris Silajdzic, would find time for the first face-to-face talks. 'This is the last chance and we must not leave London until we get an advancement in our talks.' More talks will be held today.

But Mr Silajdzic said he would not sit at the same table with Mr Karadzic, saying: 'The Jews did not sit with Hitler.'

Mr Silajdzic said he had proposed in talks with Mr Cutileiro that there should be equal representation in Bosnia's government for its ethnic groups. 'If (the) government has 12 ministers they should be divided equally. There should be four Serbs, four Croats and four Muslims and others will be included too, such as Jews,' he said. But Mr Karadzic said: 'We must transform Bosnia-Herzegovina into a sort of confederation like Switzerland.'

Serb forces shelled and machine-gunned Sarajevo and six other Bosnian towns yesterday. The strategic border town of Slavonski Brod in Croatia was hit by artillery for the first time in months. At least eight soldiers were killed when 15 howitzer shells fired from Bosnia across the River Sava hit a sports stadium where troops were on parade.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Sadaka Ogata, will today ask John Major for political support in arranging a conference on the Yugoslav crisis. The aim is to get EC countries to open their borders to refugees, to give more cash for relief efforts and provide resources to front-line countries accommodating refugees.

Further reports, page 12

(Photograph omitted)

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