The Bosnia Crisis: Belgrade and Zagreb agree to swap PoWs

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The Independent Online
BUDAPEST (Reuter) - Yugoslavia and Croatia said yesterday that they had agreed to exchange their prisoners of war on 14 August. A total of 1,500 prisoners will be released at Nemetin, near Osijek, Franjo Greguric, the Croatian Prime Minister, said after he signed the agreement with Milan Panic, his counterpart from the rump Yugoslavia, following talks held under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The prisoner exchange will be implemented on the basis of lists prepared by the ICRC in prison camps, Mr Greguric said. No agreement was reached on the reopening of the Belgrade-Zagreb motorway and the mutual recognition of the two states, the other issues on the agenda.

Mr Greguric said the Croatian side had come to Budapest primarily to achieve the release of prisoners, and recognition would depend on a number of conditions. 'The Serbian-Montenegrin forces should be pulled back from Dubrovnik to create appropriate space for that,' he added.

Mr Panic said he wanted to recognise Croatia. 'I was ready to do it today,' he said. 'I also proposed to open the (Belgrade- Zagreb) road tomorrow. They refused.' Once called the Road of Friendship and Unity, the motorway is now a deserted concrete strip between the two capitals used only by United Nation peace- keeping convoys.

Mr Panic, asked about Serb- run detention camps, said his authority did not extend to Bosnia: 'I am not responsible for Auschwitz, Cambodia or Bosnia.' Mr Panic said he was sceptical about a planned regional peace conference, scheduled for 26 August in London. 'I think we expect too much from London,' he said, adding that the parties should settle their problems at home, either in Zagreb or Belgrade.