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Aid Flights to Sarajevo Are Suspended After Gunfire Hits 2 Planes

<i> From Associated Press</i>

Officials suspended aid flights to Sarajevo after two planes were hit by gunfire Wednesday, and U.N. troops reported new signs that Bosnian Serbs were violating the heavy-weapons exclusion zone around the capital.

A German plane carrying U.N. aid supplies and Germany’s new ambassador to Bosnia, Johannes Preisinger, was hit by three bullets at the Sarajevo airport, U.N. officials said.

But U.N. relief agency spokesman Kris Janowski said later that the German plane was hit five times and that an Ilyushin-76 plane, flying for the American Soros Foundation, was hit once by small arms fire soon afterward.

U.N. officials said there were no injuries or serious damage. It was not clear who fired the shots.

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A two-month truce in Sarajevo has largely held between Bosnian Serbs around the city and troops of Bosnia’s Muslim-led government. But U.N. officials have noted a recent increase in violations of a U.N. ultimatum that ordered Serbs to keep tanks and artillery at least 12.4 miles from the city center.

Tensions are rising in Brcko, near a Serbian corridor, and France has proposed declaring it a U.N.-protected “safe haven.”

Meanwhile, Bosnian Serb Gen. Manojlo Milovanovic accused the United Nations of giving military support to the Muslims and was quoted as saying the Sarajevo truce will be broken unless the alleged aid is stopped.

He accused the U.N. force of allowing 10,000 Muslim soldiers from Sarajevo to deploy at the nearby strategic Mt. Igman area.

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A convoy of about 160 British soldiers and 51 vehicles was allowed to proceed to Gorazde after being held since Sunday by the Serbs about 25 miles from the eastern Muslim enclave. It is to reinforce 500 U.N. peacekeepers already there.

The standoff was the latest in a series of incidents adding to tension in Gorazde, where Serbs recently ended a three-week offensive after NATO threatened air strikes.

Meanwhile, the United States and Russia are calling for an urgent foreign ministers meeting to consider proposals for settling the war in Bosnia.

The meeting is tentatively planned for May 13 in Geneva, with U.S., West European and Russian foreign ministers evaluating the results of their efforts to bring Muslims, Serbs and Croats together.

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