Britain bars film stars from blockaded Sarajevo

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The Independent Online
ROME - The actor Jeremy Irons yesterday said the British government had vetoed a planned trip to Sarajevo by 10 film stars and industry figures who wanted to draw world attention to the plight of the beleaguered city.

Irons said he, Vanessa Redgrave, Daniel Day-Lewis and seven other actors, directors and writers had been barred from boarding a UN cargo flight to Sarajevo from Ancona, Italy on the orders of the Foreign Office.

A Foreign Office spokesman said last night: 'We were approached some time ago by this group. We advised them of the strict guidelines which the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has for people looking to travel on UN relief flights. They are very restricted and don't allow for cultural groups to travel. We didn't think that they would meet the UNHCR guidelines.'

Irons said a UNHCR worker had told him the group was on a blacklist and that the UNHCR had been informed via the Foreign Office that Redgrave and her companions should not be allowed on any flight. 'We are sitting around here trying to work out where the order came from. It seems it came from very high up in the Foreign Office,' he said from his Ancona hotel.