Shelling shatters Bosnian ceasefire

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The Independent Online
The Bosnian Serb authorities are endangering the six-week truce by attacking government forces in Bihac and Sarajevo and by denying aid convoys access to the capital, the UN said yesterday. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) suspended the airlift yesterday after Serbs closed the road into Sarajevo to convoys in protest at the arrest on spying charges of Svetlana Boskovic, a Serb working for the UNHCR.

In Bihac, more than 150 detonations were registered along the front line as the Serbs continued an offensive to retake ground captured last month by the Bosnian government from Croatian Serbs.

In Sarajevo, the Serbs fired eight mortar bombs at a Bosnian bunker in the city's Jewish Cemetery. "The Bosnian Serb authorities are playing fast and loose in their interpretation of the cessation of hostilities agreement," said Paul Risley, a UN spokesman."

The attacks were portrayed by the Serbs as a response to government violations, but Mr Risley said they were "evidence of extreme, calculated and deliberate actions" by the Bosnian Serb leadership in Pale. The Bosnian government wants totrade Ms Boskovic for Namik Berberovic, a Bosnian journ alist seized from a UN vehicle by Serbs last month.

The Bosnian Serbs also have been flying small fixed-wing aircraft from Banja Luka this week, risking Nato's ire by flouting the no-fly zone over Bosnia. Yesterday, UN military observers saw three light aircraft taking off from Banja Luka. "Sooner or later this whole thing will collapse," said one UN official gloomily of the ceasefire.

Things are not much better for the peace-keepers in Croatia, where President Franjo Tudjman reaffirmed his decision to expel the UN when its mandate expires at the end of next month. He said that he wanted Nato to monitor Croatia's borders, an invitation the alliance is unlikely to accept.