Countdown to crisis in a divided city

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The Independent Online
The crisis in Mostar centres on international efforts to reunite the city, forcibly divided into Croat and Muslim sectors since 1993, and ensure the success of the Dayton peace settlement for Bosnia. Here is a summary of recent events.

1991 - Pre-war census puts Mostar's population as 35 per cent Muslim, 34 per cent Croat, 19 per cent Serb, 10 per cent "Yugoslav", 2 per cent other.

April 1992 - War breaks out in Bosnia. Croats and Muslims defend Mostar together against attacks by Serb-led Yugoslav army.

July 1992 - Bosnian Croats, backed by Croatia, form separatist state of Herzeg-Bosnia with Mostar as capital.

Spring 1993 - Muslim-Croat war breaks out. Croats expel Muslims from western Mostar and set up detention camps outside city.

February 1994 - Muslim-Croat truce. Mostar is divided into Croat-controlled western sector and smaller, ruined Muslim-held east. Virtually no Serbs left.

March 1994 - Muslim-Croat federation of Bosnia established under US auspices.

July 1994 - European Union given mandate to administer Mostar and re- integrate Croat and Muslim sectors. First administrator is Germany's Hans Koschnick.

November 1995 - Dayton agreement stipulates abolition of Herzeg-Bosnia and reunification of Mostar through elections to city council.

February 1996 - Koschnick proposes dividing Mostar into six cantons, three Muslim and three Croat, with a large mixed administrative area in city centre. Croats react violently, storming EU headquarters in Mostar.

June 1996 - Elections give Muslim-led coalition narrow majority on city council. Croats reject results and boycott council, claiming fraud at polling stations abroad.

July 1996 - EU declares election valid, saying fraud was too small to affect results. Croats warned to join city council by 4 August or EU will leave Mostar.

31 July - US officials extract Bosnian Croat pledge to abolish Herzeg- Bosnia and set up common institutions with Muslims for governing federation.

2 August - President Franjo Tudjman of Croatia fails to assure President Bill Clinton that Bosnian Croats will join Mostar council.

3 August - At EU-sponsored talks, Bosnian Croats refuse to meet deadline for joining council.

4 August - Negotiations restart after expiry of deadline, but no progress. Carl Bildt, international High Representative for Bosnia, demands more pressure on Tudjman to make Bosnian Croats give in.

5 August - Last-ditch talks in Mostar as EU considers whether to end its mission in the city.