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BOSNEWS digest 423 -- 06/10/95

Bosnia-Herzegovina News Directory

From: Nermin Zukic <n6zukic@sms.business.uwo.ca>


NEWS UPDATE: TWO-MONTH BOSNIAN CEASE-FIRE AGREEMENT ANNOUNCED

U.S. negotiators have forged a cease-fire agreement in Bosnia, President Clinton announced today in Washington. The ceasefire, to last for 60 days, is supposed to begin throughout Bosnia on Oct. 10. Under the agreement, all military operations are supposed to halt, including sniper fire and laying of mines. In addition, all prisoners are supposed to be treated "humanely." The UN, not NATO, would oversee compliance and report violations, according to Associated Press. "NATO will go in when there's an actual peace settlement, and not until then," National Security Council aide Alexander Vershbow told AP. BBC reports that the ceasefire is contingent on restoration of natural gas and utilities to Sarajevo, and allowing civilian traffic in and out of besieged Gorazde. Serbs cut power and water to Sarajevo in May, and residents are struggling to cope with unusually cold weather without heat, light, or running water. In Gorazde, where Serbs are still blocking virtually all humanitarian convoys, aid workers report severe food shortages. Under the agreement, peace talks among Bosnian, Croat, and Serb officials would begin in the U.S. around Oct. 25, but be conducted through intermediaries. An international peace conference would be held later in Paris. Serbia's President Slobodan Milosevic has been negotiating on behalf of Serb nationalists in Bosnia, whose top military and civilian leaders are under indictment by an international war-crimes tribunal for genocide. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke called Clinton with news of a cease-fire agreement today after meeting with Bosnian President Izetbegovic in Sarajevo.

There have been more than 40 cease-fire agreements during the 3.5-year Bosnian war, National Public Radio (U.S.) notes; all have collapsed. "We need to be clear-eyed about this," President Clinton admitted. "It matters what the parties do, not just what they say." Nevertheless, he called the cease-fire agreement "an important moment" in the region's "painful history." The most recent previous try at a cease-fire, early this year, ended when Serb nationalists refused to stop attacking Bihac despite initially quieting their guns elsewhere in the country. In addition, Serb fighters reneged on their pledge to allow the free flow of aid to besieged Bosnian enclaves. That failed cease-fire was partially arranged by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. U.S. officials hope this latest cease-fire will succeed where others have failed, following NATO's willingness to use some force in the region, the Bosnian government's strengthened territorial position, and pressure from Milosevic on Serb nationalists in Bosnia.

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