Bosnia map angers factions

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The Independent Online
THE MAP, unveiled after weeks of secret negotiations by diplomats from the contact group, received at best a lukewarm response from Bosnia's warring parties.

It requires the Bosnian Serbs to surrender about a third of their military gains, and it ends the Muslim-led Bosnian government's dreams of reconquest. In the east, many Muslim towns and villages 'cleansed' by the Serbs will remain part of the self-styled 'Serbian Republic', although some will be put under the control of the European Union. To the west, the Serbs will keep Banja Luka and Prijedor, but will lose strategic gains along the Croatian border.

The road from Zvornik (now Serb, to be placed under United Nations protection) through the glorious Drina valley in eastern Bosnia offers a grim view of desolate Muslim villages, the houses razed, the mosques destroyed. The Bosnian government is to keep control of its three enclaves in eastern Bosnia - Srebrenica, Zepa and Gorazde. But Visegrad and Rogatica will remain in Serb hands, under UN control.

'The solution, especially in eastern Bosnia, has serious deficiencies,' Haris Silajdzic, the Bosnian Prime Minister, said yesterday. He was also angered by the cartographers' proposal that towns near Banja Luka, scene of some of the worst 'ethnic cleansing' of the war, should remain in Serb hands. In Prijedor (pre-war population 44 per cent Muslim, 42.5 per cent Serb), thousands of Muslims lost homes, possessions, lives. Mr Silajdzic complained: 'Some genocide areas like Prijedor are going to be controlled by those who committed those crimes.'

Bosnian Serbs, disgruntled at the suggestion that they should hand back land, will oppose particularly Bosnian gains west of Brcko and north of Doboj (both of which are to be UN-controlled). This would narrow the vital Posavina corridor which links Serbia to Serb-held land in Bosnia and Croatia.

'The proposal reeks of an absolute American dictate and looks like it has been forced upon the other four foreign ministers,' said Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb leader. But he promised to consider the plan, which now appears to have some chance of survival.

(Maps omitted)