Serbs threaten to quit talks as fighting rages on
Saturday 14 October 1995
The Bosnian Serb leadership threatened to withdraw from the peace process yesterday as its forces were pushed back in the north-west, where the ceasefire appears to have sunk without trace. Thousands of civilians were said to be fleeing Serb-held Prijedor, which seems in danger of falling to the government following the recent losses of Sanski Most and Mrkonjic Grad.
"If the UN and international community don't do everything to stop the Muslims and Croats ... we will consider very seriously stepping out of the peace process and asking Yugoslavia to do the same," said Nikola Koljevic, a senior Serb official. The Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic urged his forces to recapture Sanski Most and defend Prijedor.
Lieutenant-General Rupert Smith, the UN commander in Bosnia, met Mr Koljevic near Sarajevo yesterday to hear the Serbs' complaints. "The Serbs are pretty upset. They say [the Bosnians] are not playing by the rules," a UN source said.
There are two possible reasons for the fighting. The Bosnians claim it will take time to establish orders to cease fire; the Serbs accuse the Bosnians of attacking Prijedor. The second seems more likely.
Four shells landed in the town yesterday during a visit by Mr Karadzic."The whole world is celebrating peace, but we don't have peace," he was quoted as saying. "America has brokered this ceasefire and it is obliged to stop them."
Serb sources reported panic and the flight of civilians to Banja Luka, where a curfew is in place and the situation is tense. The loss of Sanski Most and Mrkonjic Grad has added to pressure on Banja Luka; the fall of Prijedor would be catastrophic for the Serbs and almost certainly mean the end of the ceasefire.
"The area around Sanski Most is of considerable concern, where deliberate fighting appears to be continuing and our assessment would be that around that area there has not been a ceasefire, purely a continuation of hostilities," said Lieutenant Colonel Chris Vernon, a UN spokesman.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees said 40,000 people fled Prijedor yesterday, and that 5,000 had reached Banja Luka. The rest were in Omarska, site of a detention centre where many Muslims were killed by Serbs in 1992.
"The displacement problem [in the Banja Luka area] is gigantic; there is no housing for these people. They are in abominable conditions," Kris Janowski, a UNHCR spokesman, said. "Sarajevo is much more relaxed than Banja Luka. There are cuts in the water supply, the electricity supply and a general fear that the front lines will move again. It's miserable."
The fighting has resulted in a fall in the number of Muslims expelled from the area. "They cannot organise themselves to organise 'ethnic cleansing' when they've got the front line moving," one official said.
Oscar Pistorius trial: Paralympian sick again after photographs of Reeva Steenkamp's body are shown in court
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: US pushes search towards vast expanse of the Indian Ocean
Tony Benn dead: Veteran Labour politician passes away at 88
Arrest made after man is found by the side of the road with his penis cut off
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Focus shifts west as Indian Ocean becomes latest search area for the aircraft and its passengers
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
How climate change helped Genghis Khan: Scientists believe a sudden period of warmer weather allowed the Mongols to invade with such success
- 1 Tony Benn dead: Veteran Labour politician passes away at 88
- 2 Arrest made after man is found by the side of the road with his penis cut off
- 3 Tim Berners-Lee on creating the web: 'I never expected all these cats'
- 4 Gauthier Soho has ranted against 'food blaggers' - so can we really trust online reviews?
- 5 Malaysia flight MH370: Pitbull song lyrics bear uncanny resemblance to missing plane mystery, according to YouTubers
£1 per hour + TBA Daily rate: Randstad Education Reading: Youth Support Worker...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education ar...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Are you a trained Key...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: We are currently look...