Bosnian Muslims capture strategic mountain heights: Serbs warn of retaliation against Sarajevo if offensive continues Bosnian Muslims capture strategic mountain heights

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The Independent Online
BOSNIAN Muslim forces claimed a modest military victory in Sarajevo yesterday after a battle with Serbian forces for control of a strategic mountain. At least 25 people died in the city at the weekend after Bosnian Serbs retaliated against the attack on Mount Trebevic, angrily pounding civilian districts in central Sarajevo.

The Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, announced his forces would enter Sarajevo if the Bosnians refused to call off their offensive, adding that circles in the West supported a quick partition of the war-torn republic between Serbs and Croats. 'If Alija Izetbegovic (the President of Bosnia) insists on pursuing the war, we will have to inflict defeat on them and Bosnia will be partitioned between Serbs and Croats,' Mr Karadzic said on Bosnian Serb television. 'If he pursues the war to the end, the best thing will be to gain a rapid victory as some circles in the West have been suggesting to us,' he added.

Bosnian forces reportedly suffered heavy losses in the assault on Trebevic mountain, south-east of Sarajevo. But UN observers in the city confirmed that the Bosnians had succeeded in wresting control of part of the mountain, which commands views over two roads used by the Bosnian Serbs to maintain their siege of the Bosnian capital. If the Bosnian forces dig in, they will be able to disrupt Bosnian Serb supply lines.

A UN spokesman in the city warned that the recent upsurge of fighting between Muslims and Serbs in Sarajevo and the besieged Muslim enclave of Gorazde in eastern Bosnia had jeopardised plans to set up six 'safe areas' for Muslims.

Sarajevo Radio reported significant Serb advances in Gorazde at the weekend. Under the 'action plan' for Bosnia agreed by the US and European foreign ministers, Gorazde would become a 'safe area'. But until now Bosnian Serb forces have refused to let UN observers into the town. Bosnian Croats at the weekend warned that fighting between Muslims and Croats could soon spread into Sarajevo.

In Belgrade, the rump Yugoslav parliament last night removed from office the Yugoslav President, Dobrica Cosic. Both the parliament's houses supported a motion which condemned President Cosic for violating the constitution and stripped him of the presidential title. Deputies accused President Cosic of conducting an independent foreign policy without consulting parliament, and of ignoring its decisions.

Mr Cosic had recently appealed to the Bosnian Serbs to accept the international peace plan to end the war in Bosnia. Mr Milosevic made the same appeals to the Bosnian Serbs. But the powerful Serbian President, the most important politician in Yugoslavia, now appears to have ditched Mr Cosic under increasing pressure from the Radical Party. Deputies from Mr Milosevic's Socialist Party teamed up with the Radicals in speeches denouncing Mr Cosic. The Radicals, led by the ultranationalist Vojislav Seselj, have continued to back the Bosnian Serbs and now appear to be strengthening their position in Serbia itself. Mr Milosevic is also under severe pressure from UN sanctions which were imposed for Yugoslavia's support of the Bosnian Serbs.

(Photograph omitted)