Owen persuades EC ministers to pin hopes on Panic

THE European Community yesterday drew back from imposing tough new measures against Serbia, after Lord Owen, the EC peace envoy, said he thought the influence of Milan Panic was growing. Mr Panic, the Prime Minister of the rump Yugoslavia - Serbia and Montenegro - is seen as a moderating influence.

EC foreign ministers, meeting in Brocket Hall in Hertfordshire, brandished the threat of further moves to isolate Serbia. They said that there had been progress since the London conference on Yugoslavia last month, but not enough. They said that they wanted to see an international humanitarian court set up to try those guilty of breaching the Geneva Convention.

Lord Owen briefed the ministers after his trip to Sarajevo, Zagreb and Belgrade. Despite an agreement on co-operation to end ethnic conflict, he told ministers that more needed to be done to push Serbia towards peace. A deadline for putting heavy weapons under UN supervision passed yesterday lunchtime and though early indications were that Bosnian Serb forces around Sarajevo had complied, Lord Owen said that in other areas - including the besieged Muslim town of Gorazde - some heavy weapons had been kept back.

The ministers will push forward with plans for a 'no fly zone' over Bosnia, amidst indications that the Italian aircraft shot down last week may have been mistaken by Croatian forces for a hostile aircraft, flown by Bosnian Serbs. They will draw up a draft UN Security Council resolution. Indications from the US that this might include Western air patrols over Bosnia were played down; British officials said that it was more likely that monitors on the ground would police such action.

But Lord Owen asked the EC not to push ahead with more extreme measures. He told the ministers that Mr Panic was growing in stature, a British official said. The evidence for this was his appointment of a new, more moderate foreign minister, and his good relationship with the armed forces and with Dobrica Cosic, the President of Yugoslavia. The ministers decided to close loopholes in existing sanctions by sending monitors to Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria.

A team of EC ministers has just finished a trip to the three countries, and says that application of sanctions has already been made more effective. Total trade has been cut by between a half and three quarters, and oil imports are down by 80 per cent. The result is that unemployment has more than doubled, to over 1,000,000 - about 35 per cent of the working population. Foreign Office estimates put annual inflation at 7,200 per cent.

There is still concern that some goods may be entering from the Adriatic, but no moves were taken to give Western naval patrols the right to stop and search vessels; at the moment, they can only monitor. Nor did the meeting decide to quash Yugoslavia's membership of the United Nations, currently in abeyance pending a decision on the successor state to the former federation. Instead, they said that the rump Yugoslavia cannot participate in the UN. 'We do not want to pull the rug totally from under Panic,' said an official.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Tax Manager / Accountant

£35 - £50k DOE: Guru Careers: A Tax Manager / Accountant (ACA / CA / CTA) is n...

Recruitment Genius: Telemarketing Operative

£6 - £15 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a well e...

Recruitment Genius: Data Scientist

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Full Stack Software Developer - Javascript

£18000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen