Relief flights to Sarajevo delayed

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The Independent Online
(First Edition)

SARAJEVO (Reuter) - Western countries, unconvinced by promises that aid flights to Sarajevo are safe from rocket attack, have delayed the resumption of a vital humanitarian air bridge to the Bosnian capital.

A UN spokesman in Geneva said yesterday that Germany, Canada and Norway, who are among 19 countries taking part, wanted their planes fitted with electronic anti-missile devices first. Installing the equipment could take until 1 October, the spokesman, Ron Redmond, said. Other countries have not yet replied to an appeal from the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to fly again.

The delay dashed the UNHCR's hopes that the airlift could resume normal operations by mid-week after promises by Muslims, Croats and Serbs that planes would not be attacked. Flights were suspended on 3 September after an Italian aid plane was shot down over Croat and Muslim-held territory near Sarajevo.