All-American boy carries the ball for Bosnia's peace hopes

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The Independent Online
On the eve of the Geneva meeting on a peace plan for Bosnia, all eyes are on Muhamed Sacirbey. Bosnia's Foreign Minister, formerly its man at the UN, is the most televised face of the Sarajevo government.

Mr Sacirbey, 38, left Bosnia when he was seven. He is a US citizen who spent much of his childhood in Ohio and played football for Tulane University.

His excellent English, his savvy and his straight-talking aggressiveness have impressed many in Washington and New York. "Mo Sacirbey is as effective a spokesman and diplomat for his country as exists in the United Nations," according to James Rubin, a spokesman for the chief US delegate, Madeleine Albright.

Some European diplomats, though, have bristled at his attempts to push them toward action. They call his press statements "Sac-attacks".

"Some people think I'm a little too rough on Europe," he acknowledged recently. "But I don't like to be trampled on ... We don't wish to be passive lapdogs. But sometimes I feel that's what is expected of us."

Alexander Solzhenitsyn is off on another Russian train-ride. He plans to spend the first half of this month along the Volga river, in the Penza, Samara and Saratov regions. The 76-year-old author says he wants to learn more about the "rudiments" of self-rule, the problems facing small towns and the situation of Russian refugees from other former Soviet republics. "I shall be touring the country as long as I am vigorous enough," he told the Itar-Tass news agency.

The Nobel laureate rode across Russia in the summer of 1994 on his return from 20 years' exile, saying he wanted to familiarise himself with Russia's people and their problems. Since then, he has lived in a country house outside Moscow, and has a weekly television programme.

Another soon-to-be-divorced national leader is in the spotlight because of his romantic designs. President Alberto Fujimori of Peru is "very romantically interested" in a Japanese art historian, according to the Lima newspaper El Comerico. The woman in question, not named, is said to be the daughter of a Japanese university dean who recently visited Peru and accompanied Mr Fujimori on several working trips.

Mr Fujimori has told reporters that once his divorce from Susana Higuchi is granted he will marry again "to a woman of fine physical and intellectual qualities" who also must have "good legs".