Bosnian peace stalled at UN

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The Independent Online
LORD Owen and Cyrus Vance came out of an informal meeting with the UN Security Council last night indicating that their stalled Bosnian peace negotiations would continue at least another two days before any formal discusion of UN moves could take place.

'When the moment is ripe it will be obvious,' said Lord Owen, 'but as the complexity of the issues become more and more apparent the Council members have been stressing the need for a thorough commitment and the need to buttress the agreement with credible implementation.'

The Vance-Owen plan to divide Bosnia into 10 cantons with a loose central government, recommends creating a UN force of 15,000 to 25,000 troops to supervise the division, according to a UN report released last night. It also calls for the creation of an international war crimes court.

The Bosnian factions continued their discussions yesterday with Mr Vance and Lord Owen as mediators, but the prospects for progress were gloomy. There was still no official indication as to when the Clinton administration policy would be announced, but it was expected by Thursday.

President Bill Clinton has indicated that he will eventually back the plan, but wants more territory for the Muslims, an improved relief operation and possible further sanctions against Serbia.

The Croats have endorsed the map, but the firmness of their resolve rests on the Clinton proposals.

The mediators asked Russia and Yugoslavia to press the Bosnian Serbs into accepting the plan. This at least could be viewed as progress. Then, once Washington had pronounced its strategy, the mediators hope that, with minor adjustments to the map, Bosnia's Muslims could be brought on board.