Bosnian Serbs Spurn U.N. Envoy’s Plea on Behalf of Peace Proposal

From Associated Press

Bosnian Serb leaders on Saturday rebuffed a top U.N. official’s plea to accept an international peace plan.

Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic said after meeting with U.N. envoy Thorvald Stoltenberg that maps calling for Bosnian Serbs to settle for 49% of the republic “cannot be accepted.”

Bosnian Serbs currently hold 70% of Bosnia.

Stoltenberg met with Bosnian Serb leaders at their headquarters in Pale on Saturday after holding talks Friday in the capital of Serb-dominated Yugoslavia with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic.


Officials at U.N. headquarters in New York characterized Stoltenberg’s trip as an urgent mission to persuade Bosnian Serbs to accept an international peace plan they repeatedly have rejected.

Milosevic, widely regarded as the instigator of Bosnia’s war, is trying to force Bosnian Serbs to agree to a peace plan, hoping his efforts will lead to the lifting of international sanctions against Yugoslavia.

Bosnia’s Croats and the Muslim-led government have accepted the plan, which would give their federation 51% of the country.

The Bosnian war began in April, 1992, when Serbs rebelled against a vote by Muslims and Croats, who together formed a majority in Bosnia, to secede from Yugoslavia.


In other developments:

* Explosions and machine-gun fire erupted Friday night around Sarajevo’s Jewish cemetery, one of the most hotly contested fronts in the Bosnian capital. There was no clear indication of what started the fighting, and no word on casualties.

Sarajevo’s airport partially reopened Saturday, after both sides reassured the United Nations. Flights have been canceled for most of the past three weeks because of shooting at aircraft.

* U.N. spokesman Maj. Rob Annink reported three more abortive efforts by Bosnian Serbs on Friday to remove heavy weapons from U.N. collection points around Sarajevo. One such effort on Aug. 5 led to a NATO air strike.


* Croatian President Franjo Tudjman warned the U.N. Security Council in a letter that his country would not tolerate persistent attacks from rebel Serbs in Croatia, such as the shelling of the Dubrovnik airport Thursday.

A cease-fire agreement 2 1/2 years ago ended six months of war between Croatia and the republic’s Serbs that killed 10,000 people, but efforts to negotiate a more comprehensive peace have stalled.