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.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmSo what makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Maths Teacher

£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Science Teacher (mater...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for an ...

Maths Teacher

£22000 - £37000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: A West Yorkshire School i...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week