Fate of Sarajevo complicated by Croat and Muslim fighting

Click to follow
The Independent Online
(First Edition)

MUSLIM, Serb and Croat leaders were locked in a second day of talks on the future of Sarajevo yesterday as they came under pressure to agree on a plan to place the city under UN administration. But initial discussions brought only 'a ventilation of their differences', according to an observer.

'What's going on here is a serious search for solutions,' said a spokesman for the mediators. All sides have agreed in principle that Sarajevo should become an open city in which only UN troops will maintain positions and whose administration would be in UN hands.

But sources say the discussions are hindered by two factors. The warring parties need to work out ceasefire lines and territorial boundaries, and the mediators insist the Sarajevo settlement must form part of an overall solution to the war in Bosnia.

A three-man committee comprising Serb, Muslim and Croat representatives failed to produce any agreement by yesterday on the ceasefire and boundary issues, so the matter was placed once more before the Bosnian President, Alija Izetbegovic, and the Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic - the two key players.

But the progress over Sarajevo disguised the scale of the task involved in reaching an overall solution. Serious disputes remaining unresolved yesterday included the fate of Muslim enclaves in eastern Bosnia and the bitter fighting between Muslims and Croats in the land between Sarajevo and the Adriatic coast. The city's future may remain hostage to other complex issues.

The Bosnian delegation appears to have accepted that Sarajevo is to have a special status. In a statement, the delegation said: 'Sarajevo is most probably not going to be part of any republic.' The statement called into question the exact arrangements for the future Muslim republic in the proposed 'Union of Republics'. Government sources said Mr Izetbegovic preferred the idea of an open city run by the UN to a Sarajevo known only as the capital of a Muslim mini-state.

Twelve people were wounded, five seriously, when the Sarajevo suburb of Dobrinja came under a surprise bombardment last night.

No 'Berlin Wall', page 7

Uneasy resonances, page 20