UN talks on Mt Igman founder

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The Independent Online
UN NEGOTIATORS yesterday failed to persuade the Bosnian goverment to withdraw troops from a UN- patrolled demilitarised zone on Mount Igman, west of Sarajevo. They said the UN hoped to resolve the issue today. In a meeting, the two sides came close to agreement, but differed over interpretations of the peace- keepers' role in the conflict.

During three hours of talks the Bosnian Vice-President, Ejup Ganic, told Yasushi Akashi, the UN envoy to the former Yugoslavia, that the soldiers would leave Mt Igman when the UN agreed to secure a road out of the city.

His government reportedly wants the UN to station troops along the Igman road to deter Serbian gunfire and enable the resumption of civilian traffic.

At present, those who use the road do so with extreme caution. 'The purpose of the demilitarised zone was to create stability to allow the routes to be used,' Mr Ganic said. 'The Serbs are firing day and night on those routes.'

The Nato ultimatum, issued in February, bans the use of artillery and heavy- calibre machine guns from a 20km (12-mile) exclusion zone around Sarajevo.

The shelling has stopped. Mr Ganic's complaint is that Bosnian Serb forces are still using heavy machine-guns within the zone.

He urged the UN to enforce existing agreements more firmly rather than broker new deals. 'I told Mr Akashi, if you apply strictly the 9 February agreement and prevent the shooting we are ready to be out in a few hours,' he said. 'We want the shooting to be stopped around Sarajevo. That is the core issue.'

NEW YORK - Bosnia's UN ambassador, Muhamed Sacirbey, yesterday suggested that the UN should consider a court martial for Lieutenant- General Sir Michael Rose, the UN commander in Bosnia, for failing to act against Bosnian Serbs besieging Sarajevo, Reuter reports.

The Security Council is not expected to take any action on the request, diplomats said.