Bosnians threaten boycott

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The Independent Online
THE PEACE conference on Bosnia received a further blow yesterday, after warring Bosnian and Serbian leaders threatened to boycott further peace talks in Geneva. Sarajevo experienced some of the most intense mortar shelling that the Bosnian capital has seen.

Alija Izetbegovic, the Bosnian President, accused Serb forces of not abiding by an agreement to place their heavy artillery around several cities under United Nations supervision. Mr Izetbegovic said: 'Talks in Geneva would be absurd while the present situation continues.' Serbian forces were still attacking Sarajevo, Gorazde, Mostar and other towns 'with occasional intervention by aviation,' he added. Cyrus Vance, the co- chairman of the UN conference on Bosnia, said he was 'shocked' by the Bosnian President's decision, but another Bosnian leader, Ejup Ganic, backed the boycott and accused Serbia of sending a further 100 tanks to beef up Serb forces in Bosnia.

At the same time, the leader of the Bosnian Serbs, Radovan Karadzic, said Bosnian Serbs would pull out of the peace process altogether if the UN enforced a no-fly zone over Bosnia. Mr Karadzic complained that the ban, aimed at halting Serbian bombing raids on Bosnian cities, would 'upset the strategic balance'.

In northern Bosnia, Muslim and Croat forces succeeded in forcing the closure of the strategic corridor which links Serb-held lands in Bosnia and Croatia with Belgrade. In eastern Bosnia, fighting between Muslim guerillas in the hills and Serbs who have occupied the urban centres raged throughout the region, especially around Visegrad. In Sarajevo, the Bosnian health ministry warned that outbreaks of cholera and typhus were on the way.