Owen calls for US support

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The Independent Online
LORD OWEN declared yesterday that it was time the United States firmly backed the peace plan for Bosnia drawn up in Geneva, and then put Nato military power behind enforcing it.

Lord Owen, the European Community mediator in the talks, said Washington was needed to persuade Bosnian Muslims to accept the plan after Croats had agreed to it and Serbs had indicated acceptance of some aspects of the proposal.

Lord Owen, and his counterpart Cyrus Vance, are in New York to persuade the United Nations Security Council to back their proposals. They arrived at the same time as the US Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, who will see them later today.

'The United States administration has to decide where it is,' Lord Owen said. 'Is it going to back (the plan) or not?'

Lord Owen and Mr Vance referred the Bosnian plan for Security Council approval last week, after talks between the three sides in Geneva broke down in the face of continued Muslim and Serbian objections. If the Security Council endorses the plan in spite of their complaints, Lord Owen has said he expects the UN to impose the plan on the three warring communities in Bosnia 'by political, economic or military means'. First steps could include imposing a ban on military flights by any of the three sides over Bosnia, and new sanctions against Serbia, seen in the West as chief instigator in Bosnia's 10-month civil war.

Of the three sides in the war, only the Croats have fully backed the Vance-Owen plan, which envisages a decentralised republic of 10 autonomous provinces.

BRUSSELS - EC foreign ministers announced plans to aid victims of mass rape in former Yugoslavia, especially Bosnian Muslim women, and urged the warring sides to end such atrocities, Reuter reports. A report by an EC mission to Bosnia urged the Community to care for rape victims and streamline visa procedures, especially for Muslims who had been raped.