Tudjman reins in attack

Balkan turmoil: Croats pledge not to launch assault on East Slavonia after US warning 8 New hope for besieged Muslim town

CHRISTOPHER BELLAMY

Defence Correspondent

Croatia will not attack Eastern Slavonia, the last Serb-held area of the country, while peace talks are in progress, President Franjo Tudjman assured the US peace envoy Richard Holbrooke yesterday.

President Tudjman's assurance followed warnings from President Bill Clinton that any action by Zagreb to recapture Eastern Slavonia could derail US-brokered peace talks on Bosnia, due to take place at Wright-Patterson air base, Ohio, at the end of the month.

Recently, Mr Tudjman has made statements similar to those he made before the capture of Krajina, and there have been suggestions Croatia may try to retake the area before the UN mandate in Croatia expires on 30 November.

But Mr Holbrooke said he had seen no evidence Croatia was planning to attack Eastern Slavonia, following its victories in Krajina in August. "I am assured 90,000 Croatian troops have been demobilised and there's been some shifting around of units," he said. "I do not view that as military activity directed at Eastern Slavonia."

Meanwhile, the mystery of the two French airmen shot down over Bosnian Serb territory on 30 August during Nato air strikes deepened after the Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, said they had been abducted from hospital by "persons unknown", an allegation dismissed as "grotesque" by the French Foreign Minister, Herve de Charette.

Photographs of the two airmen, who bailed out when their fighter-bomber was shot down near the Bosnia Serb headquarters, Pale, later appeared in Paris-Match. The French authorities said they were very worried about the fate of the airmen and the prognosis was "not looking good".

Assuming Captain Frederic Chiffot and Lieutenant Jose Souvignet survived their capture - and the photographic evidence suggests they did - the Bosnian Serbs would have little to gain by killing them.

French sources fear they could be pawns in a power game between Serbia's President, Slobodan Milosevic, and Mr Karadzic, who claimed the pilots might have been kidnapped by a rebel Serb group or by Muslims. "The longer time goes by the more worrying this affair becomes," a French official said yesterday. "They could be dead and Karadzic could be belatedly trying to cover it up."

In Sarajevo it was confirmed that two Bosnian Serb journalists detained by government forces last month are dead. The Bosnian Serb news agency reported on Wednesday that the two Serb journalists had been killed in prison.

n Washington - President Clinton said that he was confident Congress would ultimately back his plan to send up to 20,000 US troops to help implement a peace agreement in Bosnia, Reuter reports.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
peopleJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Business Systems Analyst (Retail)

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Up to 20% bonus: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: An...

Technical BA - Banking - Bristol - £400pd

£400 per hour: Orgtel: Technical Business Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £400pd...

Head of Digital Marketing,London

To £58k Contract 12 months: Charter Selection: Major household name charity se...

Lead Hand - QC

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Lead Hand - QCProgressive are recruiting...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice