EUROPEAN Community foreign ministers agreed in The Hague Tuesday to open a peace conference with the six Yugoslav republics this Saturday. But the new fighting set back hopes of an end to the clashes involving Croatian forces, Serbian guerrillas, and the Serbian-led Yugoslav Army."The fact that the [cease-fire] commitments have not been fulfilled, that new acts of destruction and cease-fire violations are being made ... creates new dangers and risks in an already dangerous situation," President Mesic said on state television. "I call on all opposing sides and individuals to observe the provisions of the cease-fire agreement at once, unconditionally and without delay." Under the cease-fire brokered by the EC, Croatian forces and units of the Army are supposed to disengage and guerrilla units are to lay down their arms. But no mechanism for enforcing the truce has been put in place. The EC's 12 foreign ministers, meeting Tuesday, agreed to send an advance team of two dozen unarmed observers Wednesday to monitor a cease-fire between Croatian forces and army-backed Serbian nationalists.
Cease-fire fails At least 14 people died in eastern Croatia Tuesday in the worst violation of a European Community-sponsored cease-fire in Yugoslavia, hospital officials said Wednesday. Ten bodies were brought to a hospital in Osijek during the night. Four people, including a 13-year-old girl, were known to have been killed earlier in fighting which included a heavy mortar bombardment of the town center. Croatian security forces and the Yugoslav Army each blamed the other for the outbreak of violence in the town, close to Croatia's border with its archrival Serbia. At least two more people were killed in clashes in the breakaway Yugoslav republic during the night, Croatian radio said on Wednesday. Sporadic fighting continued despite a warning by Yugoslav President Stipe Mesic Tuesday that violations of the shaky cease-fire could have reverberations across Europe.
Germany may be close to recognition Germany could recognize the breakaway republics of Slovenia and Croatia soon if fighting in Yugoslavia does not stop, Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher said Wednesday. Stepping up Bonn's pressure on Belgrade, Mr. Genscher told parliament that Germany would not stand by much longer as the Yugoslav army fought against the two republics. In a warning to the Yugoslav army command, Genscher said: "The hour of this recognition nears with every shot your cannon and tanks fire. We will not be able to stand by and watch any longer." Genscher said he hoped a peace conference called by the European Community for next Saturday in The Hague could take place but added: "Whether it comes off depends on developments in [the next few] days." Genscher held out the prospect of German economic aid for the two breakaway republics and trade sanctions against Belgrade.