Bosnia peace 'blip' smoothed by Holbrooke

The irresistible force behind the Dayton peace plan, the belligerent US diplomat Richard Holbrooke, left here for Belgrade yesterday, confident that the process is back on track following the Bosnian Serbs' decision to restore contacts with Nato's peace force.

The rupture in relations had been ordered by General Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb commander indicted for war crimes, following the arrest by the Bosnian government of two senior Serb officers suspected of massacring civilians. The order was honoured by his minions more in the breach than the observance, and was formally revoked on Saturday night by the civilian Serb leadership, on orders from Belgrade.

Mr Holbrooke, who bludgeoned Bosnia's factions into submission last year, was sent back to the region to cajole the parties into full compliance with Dayton. "I think this is going to get straightened," he said as snow fell on Sarajevo airport. "Admiral Smith [the Nato commander] called it a bump in the road. We agree with him."

After talks with President Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia, Mr Holbrooke is due to return to Sarajevo this morning. According to a US official, his aim in Belgrade was to discuss with Mr Milosevic how best to handle the expected indictment by the international war crimes tribunal of General Djordje Djukic and Colonel Aleksa Krsmanovic, arrested by Bosnian forces on 30 January.

They were visited in jail yesterday by John Shattuck, the State Department's senior human rights official. He said: "The conditions under which they're being held are very much up to international standards. They seem to be being well treated. They had no specific complaints about the conditions. Both of them are receiving medical assistance and one of them was visited by his wife yesterday, as permitted by the court." Four other Serbs detained by the government were released on Saturday night.

Mr Holbrooke said the arrest of suspected war criminals - criticised by some Nato officials as unhelpful to the peace process - did not conflict with implementation of the deal. "Those are both parts of the Dayton agreement," he said.

However, members of Nato's Implementation Force (I-For) are critical of the emphasis placed on war crimes. "Without diminishing the importance of the work of the war crimes tribunal, their moral crusade is premature, because it's very damaging to the peace process," an I-For official said after Gen Djukic's arrest. "It's making things very difficult for us."

That was not the message Mr Holbrooke brought to his meeting with President Alija Izetbegovic of Bosnia. There was no pressure for an early release, said Vice-President Ejup Ganic. "My understanding is that the American government is pleased that we are holding two persons that are accused war criminals. They support us."

I-For has sought to distance itself from the issue of war crimes, despite its mandate to arrest suspects indicted by the tribunal if they cross peace-keepers' path. A Nato spokesman, Lt-Col Mark Rayner, admitted that I-For troops had not been issued with the names or photographs of any of the 51 suspects at large, arguing that this would constitute a "man- hunt".

"If [Nato] comes across them in the natural course of their duty they may detain them if practicable - if they see them, if they recognise them. If they don't, they can't," Col Rayner said yesterday. "If you tell a soldier on one hand that you are not here to hunt down indicted war criminals and on the other hand you give him a photograph which helps him do just that, that would send a confusing message."

Susan Sarandon described David Bowie as
peopleSusan Sarandon reveals more on her David Bowie romance
sportDidier Drogba returns to Chelsea on one-year deal
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film
filmFifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage in US
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Louis van Gaal would have been impressed with Darren Fletcher’s performance against LA Galaxy during Manchester United’s 7-0 victory
The new dawn heralded by George Osborne has yet to rise
voicesJames Moore: As the Tories rub their hands together, the average voter will be asking why they're not getting a piece of the action
Dejan Lovren celebrates scoring for Southampton although the goal was later credited to Adam Lallana
newsComedy club forced to apologise as maggots eating a dead pigeon fall out of air-conditioning
Arts and Entertainment
Jo Brand says she's mellowed a lot
tvJo Brand says shows encourage people to laugh at the vulnerable
Life and Style
People may feel that they're procrastinating by watching TV in the evening
Rhys Williams
commonwealth games
Isis fighters travel in a vehicle as they take part in a military parade along the streets of Syria's northern Raqqa province
Arts and Entertainment
Southern charm: Nicolas Cage and Tye Sheridan in ‘Joe’
filmReview: Actor delivers astonishing performance in low budget drama
Life and Style
fashionLatex dresses hit the catwalk to raise awareness for HIV and Aids
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior Risk Manager - Banking - London - £650

£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...

Commercial Litigation Associate

Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...

Systems Manager - Dynamics AX

£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...

Service Delivery Manager (Software Development, Testing)

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...

Day In a Page

Backhanders, bribery and abuses of power have soared in China as economy surges

Bribery and abuses of power soar in China

The bribery is fuelled by the surge in China's economy but the rules of corruption are subtle and unspoken, finds Evan Osnos, as he learns the dark arts from a master
Commonwealth Games 2014: Highland terriers stole the show at the opening ceremony

Highland terriers steal the show at opening ceremony

Gillian Orr explores why a dog loved by film stars and presidents is finally having its day
German art world rocked as artists use renowned fat sculpture to distil schnapps

Brewing the fat from artwork angers widow of sculptor

Part of Joseph Beuys' 1982 sculpture 'Fettecke' used to distil schnapps
BBC's The Secret History of Our Streets reveals a fascinating window into Britain's past

BBC takes viewers back down memory lane

The Secret History of Our Streets, which returns with three films looking at Scottish streets, is the inverse of Benefits Street - delivering warmth instead of cynicism
Joe, film review: Nicolas Cage delivers an astonishing performance in low budget drama

Nicolas Cage shines in low-budget drama Joe

Cage plays an ex-con in David Gordon Green's independent drama, which has been adapted from a novel by Larry Brown
How to make your own gourmet ice lollies, granitas, slushy cocktails and frozen yoghurt

Make your own ice lollies and frozen yoghurt

Think outside the cool box for this summer's tempting frozen treats
Ford Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time, with sales topping 4.1 million since 1976

Fiesta is UK's most popular car of all-time

Sales have topped 4.1 million since 1976. To celebrate this milestone, four Independent writers recall their Fiestas with pride
10 best reed diffusers

Heaven scent: 10 best reed diffusers

Keep your rooms smelling summery and fresh with one of these subtle but distinctive home fragrances that’ll last you months
Commonwealth Games 2014: Female boxers set to compete for first time

Female boxers set to compete at Commonwealth Games for first time

There’s no favourites and with no headguards anything could happen
Five things we’ve learned so far about Manchester United under Louis van Gaal

Five things we’ve learned so far about United under Van Gaal

It’s impossible to avoid the impression that the Dutch manager is playing to the gallery a little
Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform