UN ponders latest peace deal

As the jet carrying Jimmy Carter left Belgrade on the last leg of his Bosnian peace mission, UN officials in the former Yugoslavia considered how best to implement the ceasefire brokered (amid much scepticism) by the former US president.

Yasushi Akashi, the senior UN envoy, is to visit Sarajevo and the Bosnian Serb "capital", Pale, for talks today on the truce due to begin at noon tomorrow. Alexander Ivanko, a UN spokesman, said in Sarajevo: "Our understanding is that both sides are serious in their pursuit of an agreement on the cessation of hostilities." The Carter visit "created a certain momentum for peace"; the UN must harness this if it is to change the standard pattern in Bosnia, where cease-fires are honoured only in the breach.

The first snows of winter fell on Sarajevo and the UN "safe area" of Bihac yesterday, where fighting had intensified over the past 48 hours. Tuesday had been "probably the worst day in Bihac thus far, at least in the recent past", according to Lieutenant-Colonel Gary Coward, a UN spokesman.

Senior officers are dusting off contingency plans for the monitoring or enforcement of a truce, while civilian officials ponder how best to persuade the parties to see in 1995 with four months of peace. Under the Carter deal, a cessation of hostilities should be negotiated over the next week with the aim of reaching agreement by 1 January.

However, there seems to be some confusion over the specifics of the deal: three separate agreements were signed by Mr Carter during his stay, two with the Serbs and one with the government. "The first impression is that the agreement reached is unclear,"the Sarajevo daily Oslobodjenje said yesterday.

Today Mr Akashi will try to flesh out the deal - possibly, officials say, incorporating elements of a ceasefire proposal he put to the parties several weeks ago. "It kind of dovetails with Carter's, but it's not the same thing," one source said. There appears to have been some tension between UN headquarters and the former US president over the deal.

"I think it's a bit too pro-Serb," said one senior UN official not known for favouring the Bosnian government. Mr Carter did not meet Mr Akashi after his visit to Sarajevo and Pale; instead, one source said: "Carter gave him two crumpled pieces of paper and said `these are the agreements, call me tomorrow if you have any questions'."

None the less, one UN official spoke of "very good prospects" for a genuine truce. Many Sarajevans agreed with Oslobodjenje: "The whole game with Carter was calculated just as the way for Pale to escape diplomatic isolation, and the `mutual agreement' asa way to avoid the Contact Group peace plan."

But the official was more optimistic: "The Serbs have a lot at stake in these agreements. If this fails, their prospects are pretty dim, and that was made clear to them." However, on the negotiations for a political settlement scheduled during the four-month truce, "That's a whole other ball game."

Another UN source said: "Even if there is a tiny, slim chance that there will be some progress because of this, it is at the cost of delivering the Serbs an enormous propaganda coup and giving up some of the pressure on the Serbs to sign the Contact Group plan."

Pale has repeatedly rejected that proposal; now it is committed only to negotiating on the "basis" of the plan, a wording the Bosnian government refused to accept. "There is no real sign both sides are inching towards some kind of settlement," the sourc e added.

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
Getty
News
Women have been desperate to possess dimples like Cheryl Cole's
people Cole has secretly married French boyfriend Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini after just three months.
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Extras
indybestThe tastiest creations for children’s parties this summer
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Paolo Nutini performs at T in the Park
music
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

Graduate Java / C++ Developer

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Graduate Java / C++ ...

Programme Manager - Business Support Transformation, 1 year contract

£550 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Walthamstow...

ERP Business/ Implementation Analyst

£40000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: This is an e...

Demandware Developer

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My Client is...

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor