Serbian Socialists drop attack on Panic

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The Independent Online
SERBIA'S ruling Socialist Party yesterday dropped its attack on Milan Panic, the Yugoslav Prime Minister, and told its deputies not to support a parliamentary no-confidence vote against him.

The Socialists had tabled the motion of no-confidence on Monday, saying Mr Panic had sold out Serbia's interests at last week's London peace conference. But after an appeal by Dobrica Cosic, the Yugoslav President, the Socialists said in a statement carried by the Belgrade-based Tanjug news agency that the party leadership was recommending its deputies not to support the motion.

In Bosnia, Serbian commanders said yesterday that they had agreed to place their heavy weapons around Sarajevo and two other towns under the supervision of United Nations monitors. However, the Serbs also said that they retained the right to fire their guns in response to Muslim attacks.

Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb leader, signed the agreement with the deputy commander of the UN force. He promised to group the heavy weapons in several sites around Sarajevo, Jajce and Bihac, according to the Bosnian Serb news agency. But the agency said the accord 'does not exclude the use of arms in the event of the need to respond to enemy attacks'.

Only hours earlier, shells were falling around the UN compound in Sarajevo at the rate of one a minute. An Egyptian colonel and two French officers were wounded in a mortar attack near the UN headquarters on Tuesday evening.

UN officials said battles were also raging around the eastern Muslim town of Gorazde, where the Serbs say they are lifting a five-month-old siege. For the third time this week, the UN postponed plans to send a relief convoy from Sarajevo to Gorazde after both Muslim and Serbian officials warned that the roads were too dangerous.

Gorazde remains tense partly because the Serbs profess to believe that the town's Muslim defenders received weapons from the UN convoy which got through.

Lord Owen, the new European Community mediator, said in Paris that he thought the war would continue for a long time. 'There is, unfortunately, going to be more violence and there will be political setbacks,' he said after talks with President Francois Mitterrand.

BRUSSELS - NATO allies yesterday offered 6000 troops to the UN for protecting aid deliveries to Bosnia agencies report. Last week, the Western European Union, the EC's defence arm, said it would contribute some 5,000 troops for relief escort duty in Bosnia.

It was not clear if the offer of 6,000 NATO troops would be in addition to the WEU contribution. 'My inkling is that it is not additional,' said one NATO source.