Bosnian Serbs Withdraw All Concessions
BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) _ The Bosnian Serb parliament withdrew all concessions Saturday after the Muslim-led government rejected a peace plan that would have divided Bosnia into three mini-states.
The Belgrade-based Tanjug news agency said, however, that the self- proclaimed parliament left the door open for an agreement if the Muslims ″immediately accept the peace plan″ offered by international mediators.
The Muslim-led Bosnian parliament on Wednesday rejected the plan, demanding the return of Muslim-dominated areas captured by the Serbs in the war, which has left up to 200,000 people dead or missing.
Under the international peace plan negotiated in Geneva last month, the Serbs would have been given 52 percent of territory, compared to some 70 percent they now hold. The Muslims, now reduced to only 10 percent, would have received some 31 percent, and 17 percent was to be allotted to the Croats.
″The Muslims will not be getting the proposed access to the Sava river″ in northern Bosnia, nor part of the strategic city of Brcko, Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic told Serb-controlled Banja Luka TV.
Karadzic also said the presence of NATO troops on Serb-held territory or its borders in Bosnia ″is out of the question″ and that only U.N. monitors would be allowed.
NATO and the United Nations are considering sending to Bosnia up to 50,000 peacekeeping troops, including about 25,000 U.S. soldiers, in case a Bosnian peace settlement is signed.
In a radio interview, Karadzic said the Serbs would remain in the negotiating process on the plan to divide Bosnia.
Earlier, Bosnian Foreign Minister Haris Silajdzic said he had assured U.N. mediator Thorvald Stoltenberg of his government’s willingness to continue talks.
In Geneva, Stoltenberg and co-mediator Lord Owen of the European Community said Friday they had no immediate plans to resume peace talks.
Veso Vegar, a Croat spokesman, said Friday that at a meeting in the Adriatic port of Neum, the Bosnian Croats had voted to withdraw concessions to the Muslims and to refuse any further discussion of access to the Adriatic, which is vital for the Muslims.
A U.N. spokesman in Zagreb, Croatia, reported some shelling and sporadic small-arms fire in Mostar on Saturday from Bosnian Croat positions.
Bosnian radio reported heavy shelling of Maglaj, Tesanj and other towns in northern Bosnia and of Jablanica southwest of Sarajevo. There was no independent confirmation.
In the last 24 hours, 11 people were killed and 34 wounded in towns held by government troops, the radio said.
In another development, Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic warned Saturday that the local leader of the Muslim-dominated Bihac area, which last week declared its autonomy from Bosnia, wants to create a separate ministate.
But Izetbegovic did not threaten or issue any kind of ultimatum to Fikret Abdic, the rebel leader, who enjoys considerable popularity in the area.
The disputed area, known as the Bihac pocket, is in the far northwest corner of Bosnia on the border with Croatia. It covers about 860 square miles, and officials say 250,000 to 300,000 people live there.
In an attempt to resolve a tense standoff between residents and troops loyal to the Bosnian government, the commander of a French U.N. peacekeeping battalion met on Friday with Abdic and the Bosnian army commander in the area, Ramiz Drekovic, a U.N. spokesman in Zagreb, said Saturday.
An unnamed ham radio operator, speaking on Bosnian state radio late Saturday, said policemen siding with Abdic opened fire and wounded three civilians loyal to Izetbegovic’s government.
The three were shot when they approached a barricade in a village outside Bihac en route for Velika Kladusa to protest against Abdic’s declaration of autonomy, the radio operator said.