Panic faces no-confidence motion

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The Independent Online
BELGRADE (Reuter, AP) - Allies of the Serbian President, Slobodan Milosevic, tabled a parliamentary vote of no confidence in the Yugoslav Prime Minister, Milan Panic, yesterday after the two men clashed politically. The move by 68 legislators of the Socialist and Radical Parties which control the federal parliament, followed public rebukes to Mr Milosevic from Mr Panic at Yugoslav peace talks in London last week.

Although their row prompted forecasts of an early political showdown, the motion surprised the government. A senior Panic aide said he had not known in advance that the motion would be proposed to the 178-member parliament, where it could be debated later this week.

The opposition Serbian Renewal Movement immediately accused Mr Milosevic of trying to eliminate Mr Panic 'in agreement with his political mercenaries'. Western diplomats warned that forcing Mr Panic to resign could seriously destabilise the peace process begun at the London conference co-sponsored by the United Nations and the European Community.

The Yugoslav-born American millionaire took office in July pledging to end the war in Bosnia and reform economic and political life in Yugoslavia.

Supporters of the no-confidence motion said Mr Panic had gone beyond his mandate in London, accusing him of trying to make a deal on mutual recognition between Yugoslavia and Croatia with the Croatian President, Franjo Tudjman, and of ceding to the West a voice in the grievances of Albanians in the Serbian province of Kosovo.

In Sarajevo meanwhile, a grenade crashed into a hillside cemetery during a soldier's funeral yesterday, killing one person and injuring three, as Bosnia's war once again turned on its civilians. It was the second time in a month that mourners at Lions Cemetery, on a hill near Sarajevo's main hospital, came under attack while burying their dead.

Initial reports said four people were wounded, but one of them later died. It was not immediately clear who fired on the cemetery, a frequent target of artillery in the hills surrounding Sarajevo.

On Sunday a shell exploded in a crowded marketplace in the city, killing 15 people. United Nations officials said that they suspected Serbian forces were to blame.

UN officials in Sarajevo said they hoped to send an aid convoy to the besieged city of Gorazde, to the south-east, tomorrow. They cancelled a convoy that was due to leave yesterday because of heavy fighting. It remained unclear exactly what was happening in Gorazde. Serbs announced last week that they were lifting their five- month siege but Muslims claimed to have 'liberated' 80 per cent of the city after fierce fighting.

Alija Izetbegovic, the President of Bosnia, said he would boycott this week's peace talks in Geneva if the 'murderous assault on the Bosnian people in Sarajevo does not cease'. He called Sunday's attack on the marketplace a 'premeditated act of murder'. 'How is it possible to negotiate with people like this?' he asked.

TIRANA - President Sali Berisha of Albania urged Serbia to restore autonomy to the ethnic Albanians of Kosovo, for a to avert possible armed conflict there, Reuter reports.