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Strict Security for Balkans Summit

July 30, 1999

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) _ The city streets are as deserted as they were during the worst of the shelling during the Bosnian war. The reason now, however, is peace _ and security measures required for some 40 world leaders arriving for a summit on Balkan stability.

Officials have put in place a wide range of restrictions for the one-day Balkan Stability Pact summit today. Residents who live on the motorcade route to the summit location have been told to close their windows and keep off their balconies.

Everyone in the city of 350,000 has been told they cannot take out their trash.

``For security reasons, most of the trash containers have been removed and citizens are urged to try to keep their trash home for two days until the extraordinary situation is over,″ said Ahmet Djip, an official at the Sarajevo trash collection agency.

All air, car and bus traffic in the Bosnian capital has been stopped. Residents also were told to keep off the streets except in the dead of night, the only time the bakeries will be permitted to deliver bread.

Not that anyone would want to go out during the day anyway.

Almost all the city’s shops are closed. Many Sarajevans took advantage of the state-mandated holiday Friday to head to the beach for a long weekend.

The security regulations may be harsh, but the city’s mayor said Sarajevo is doing the best it can to create a secure environment for the hastily called summit. Because of doubts about the war-scarred city’s ability to handle so many world leaders, organizers only firmed up plans to hold the summit in Sarajevo earlier this month.

``In usual circumstances, you need a couple of months to prepare for a summit or top conference,″ boasted Mayor Rasim Gacanovic. ``We in Sarajevo are masters of improvisation. We are ready to do everything in 14 days.″

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