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10 Years After Winter Games Opened in Sarajevo, More War Dead Buried With PM-Yugoslavia-Arms

February 8, 1994

10 Years After Winter Games Opened in Sarajevo, More War Dead Buried With PM-Yugoslavia-Arms Embargo, Bjt; PM-US-Bosnia, Bjt

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) _ Ten years ago today, Muslims, Serbs and Croats celebrated the opening of the 1984 Winter Olympics. This morning, in the shadow of the Olympic stadium, Sarajevo residents laid to rest more of their war dead.

The stadium has been wrecked by shelling in a 22-month-old war that has killed more than 200,000 Muslims, Serbs and Croats. The stadium is now a base for French peacekeepers.

″The only thing that still reminds me of the Olympics are the crowds of journalists,″ said Sarajevo resident Drazen Laganin. ″The only difference is that I know they will not be writing anything happy about Sarajevo now, just the horror, terror and misery.″

Alija Izetbegovic, the Bosnian president, promised in a letter to the International Olympic Committee that his Muslim-dominated forces would hold their fire during the Winter Games that begin this week in Lillehammer, Norway.

The hard-line leader of Bosnia’s Croats, Mate Boban, quit today in a move that could improve the prospects of peace negotiations that resume Thursday in Geneva. At least that’s what the optimists hope for.

Boban, leader of the Bosnia Croats’ self-proclaimed state of Herzeg Bosna in southern and western Bosnia-Herzegovina, had been associated with a breakdown in a Muslim-Croat alliance against the Serbs.

The Croats have suffered heavy losses in recent fighting with the Muslims in central Bosnia.

Funerals were held today for 20 of the 68 people killed when a shell slammed into a Sarajevo marketplace Saturday. Forty were buried Monday in ceremonies rushed due to the danger of sniping and shelling from Serbs in the hills.

The bitterness at the funerals reflected the repressed anger and furstration over the world’s failure to take action to end the siege of Sarajevo.

As Sarajevo buried the dead from the market massacre, European leaders once again stalled on decisive action to end the Bosnian Serb siege and opted instead to pass the responsibility on to NATO.

The 16 NATO nations plan to meet Wednesday in Brussels, Belgium.

The Clinton administration decided Monday night to ask its NATO allies to authorize air strikes if the Serbs persist in their attacks or if they do not remove their more than 500 heavy guns from high spots around Sarajevo.

European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels could not reach consensus Monday on France’s call to set a deadline for Serbs to end their attacks or face Western bombing runs. The foreign ministers will let NATO decide.

Russia also weighed in, issuing a tough new warning: Any NATO air strikes on the Serbs - Russia’s Orthodox Christian, Slavic brethren - would have serious repercussions for East-West relations.

The NATO allies last year blocked a similar U.S. appeal, partly out of concern U.N. peacekeepers might get caught in the cross-fire.

At Monday’s EU meeting, only the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy favored France’s proposed ultimatum. Other European nations balked, notably Greece, which holds the EU’s rotating presidency and is allied by its Orthodox religion with the Serbs.

In Moscow, Deputy Foreign Minister Vitaly Churkin warned NATO that retaliatory air strikes could ″cast a very dark shadow on our relationship.″

Russia’s rhetoric has hardened since parliamentary elections in December showed the appeal and strength of nationalists, like Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who strongly oppose international efforts against the Serbs.

While fighting was relatively light Monday in Sarajevo - only 34 shells were fired into the artillery-encircled city, there was more fighting elsewhere:

-Power lines in a Croat-held area near Sarajevo were sabotaged this morning, cutting electricity and water to eastern Sarajevo and other areas, U.N. peacekeepers said.

-Serb gunners fired more than 300 shells into the government-held Sapna finger in northern Bosnia, Bosnian radio said.

-Muslims and Croats fought in Mostar, in the south, and in central Bosnia, where a supply route for U.N. aid convoys was cut near Vitez.

Update hourly