Front line may fix the border

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RIGHT or wrong, the safe havens that United Nations troops maybe be called on to defend as the first step in implementing a Bosnian peace plan reflect the lines won - or lost - in battle.

The UN commander in Bosnia, Lt- Gen Philippe Morillon, said recently he was requesting extra troops to defend the safe havens: Sarajevo, Tuzla, Bihac, Srebrenica, Zepa and Gorazde. Sarajevo, Bosnia's capital, is the responsibility of a mixed UN force - French, Egyptians and Ukrainians. Bihac lies in the French sector. Srebrenica, Zepa and Gorazde, all near the Serbian border, are the responsibility of the mixed Sarajevo group or the Spanish contingent based near Mostar. Only Tuzla, in north-central Bosnia, abuts on the British sector.

The map shows the front lines as they were frozen on 19 May. The announcement by the Serbs that they would cease hostilities on that day appeared to reflect their success in widening the Posavina corridor at the end of April. The Bosnian Serb army began its offensive on the Brcko area on 14 May, using tanks and aircraft, in an attempt to widen the corridor (1).

It has been attacking north and north-west of Zavidovici since 15 May (2). Srebrenica (3) has seen several ceasefire violations. Sniper and mortar fire between Croats and Muslims has continued in Vitez (4) for the last few weeks. Fighting took place in Gorni Vakuf (5) on 15 and 16 May. There is still occasional fighting in surrounding areas.

Fighting between Croats and Muslims continues in the Jablanica- Konjic area (6). Fighting between the Bosnian government army and the Bosnian Croat HVO continued in Mostar (7) from 15 to 17 May with artillery and infantry attacks, and small-arms fire has continued since then. On 14 May the Bijelina bridge on the crucial main road from Mostar to Jablanica was destroyed.

In Croatia, where the Serb-held Krajina area remains the focus of heavy fighting, there were heavy artillery attacks in the Velebit and Mali Alan areas (8). The Krajina Serbs were able to shell the Croatian coast near Zadar, and on 18 May launched heavy artillery attacks on Biograd (9) on the coast, only five miles from the Krajina Serb front line in Croatia. Numerous ceasefire violations occurred in northern areas, in Croatia or on the Croatia-Bosnia border (10).

(Photograph omitted)