Muslim tycoon in ceasefire pledge
Thursday 29 December 1994
After talks with the UN commander in Bosnia, Lt-Gen Sir Michael Rose, Mr Abdic agreed to respect the nationwide truce, in danger of unravelling because of the battle in Bihac.
"After some discussion, [Rose] got an agreement in principle from Mr Abdic to respect the ceasefire," said Edward Joseph, a UN official in Bihac. But the general's talks with Atif Dudakovic, commander of the Bosnian forces in Bihac, were less fruitful, Mr Joseph said. General Rose "asked them to apply the terms of the ceasefire throughout the pocket - they're still considering this".
General Rose has been trying for weeks to visit the Bihac pocket, where 170,000 civilians and 1,200 peace-keepers were trapped for weeks without sufficient food or medicine. But until this week the Krajina Serbs who hold Croatian land around Bihac had refused him permission to enter the enclave. General Dudakovic's troops, who defeated a year-long Abdic rebellion in August and then marched on Bosnian Serb positions, lost ground in a three-pronged counter-attack in November by the two Serb armies and Mr Abdic.
The Bosnian Serb lines around the town of Bihac, a UN "safe area", have been quiet since the ceasefire began on Christmas Eve, but fighting has continued near Velika Kladusa, a town retaken by Abdic and Krajina Serb forces.
Mr Joseph said the government's main concern was with Serb rebels attacking across the border from Croatia. "Their position has been clear all along," he said. "It's not primarily a problem with Mr Abdic but with the Krajina Serbs."
Neither force is party to the truce; Sarajevo argues that both are acting in concert with the Bosnian Serb leadership in Pale and should therefore respect it. If not, Sarajevo says its forces will be compelled to attack elsewhere, to relieve the pressure. There is some UN sympathy for this position, allied to fears that it might offer the government an excuse to break the ceasefire.
"The root of the problem is [the Krajina Serbs] are crossing the border and attacking Bosnia. We know [General Ratko] Mladic has a lot of influence over them, so some of the blame can be traced back to Pale," said one UN official, referring to the Bosnian Serb commander. Another explained: "The fighting in the north of the [Bihac] pocket is principally a Krajina Serb operation."
Yesterday UN monitors detected 89 detonations in the area of Velika Kladusa, but could not identify their origins. Elsewhere in Bosnia, the ceasefire was generally respected.
In Sarajevo, a 61-year-old woman was wounded by sniper fire on Tuesday; yesterday the warring factions traded gunfire across the front line at the Bridge of Brotherhood and Unity near the city centre.
General Rose is also negotiating a cessation of hostilities, due to start on New Year's Day, between Sarajevo and Pale.
Whether Mr Abdic - and, more importantly, the Krajina Serbs - feel the same way remains to be seen.
But the Muslim tycoon is clearly keen to get back to business: during yesterday's meeting he asked the UN to transport 9,000 live chickens to Velika Kladusa so that he could kick-start his agro-industrial empire.
- 1 President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
- 3 Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
- 5 Game of Thrones is most-pirated TV show of 2014
President of Argentina adopts Jewish godson to 'stop him turning into a werewolf'
Exclusive: Abusers using spyware apps to monitor partners reaches 'epidemic proportions'
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations
Sir Winston Churchill’s family begged him not to convert to Islam, letter reveals
AirAsia flight QZ8501 missing: Search for plane carrying 162 passengers from Indonesia to Singapore suspended overnight
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Millions of Britons struggling to feed themselves and facing malnourishment
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Nigel Farage: Ukip leader named 'Briton of the year' by The Times
Immigrants make UK racist, says Ukip councillor Trevor Shonk
£32000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Manager is required ...
£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Panel Wireman required for small electro...
£25000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An SME based in East Cheshire, ...