Bosnian Serbs back further Owen talks

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The Independent Online
SARAJEVO (Reuter) - Bosnian Serbs yesterday supported more talks with Lord Owen on ending Bosnia's civil war in an apparent attempt to buy time against tough new sanctions hanging over former Yugoslavia. A session of the self-proclaimed Bosnian Serb parliament reiterated that it could not accept a peace plan drafted by Lord Owen and his co-mediator Cyrus Vance as it now stands.

But the Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, said after emerging from closed-door talks in the town of Bosanski Novi that the assembly had mandated him to meet Lord Owen 'to finish to attempt to reach a solution acceptable for the Serb side'.

'The minimum guaranteeing the survival of the Serb people in this region is well-known and if it does not happen then this plan is probably dead and we should start thinking about some other solution,' he said. UN sanctions designed virtually to isolate the Serbian-led rump Yugoslavia are due to take effect from Monday unless Bosnian Serbs endorse the Vance-Owen plan, which would divide Bosnia into 10 semi-autonomous provinces largely on ethnic lines.

A United Nations aid convoy delivered food to the east Bosnian Muslim enclave of Srebrenica yesterday after having tents confiscated en route by rebel Serbs. It left the town without any refugees, a spokesman said.

The UN said it had protested to the Bosnian Serb command over the seizure of the tents.