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Bosnian Muslim Leaders Protest Plan That They Say Could Split Up Country

By Reuters / January 4, 1993



GENEVA

BOSNIA'S three warring factions began a second day of talks in Geneva yesterday with the Muslim-led government protesting that a new peace plan could lead to the country's eventual break-up.

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President Alija Izetbegovic, reacting to proposals that would cut Bosnia into 10 powerful regions and assign half the country to the rebel Serbs, told reporters he could never accept the ethnic division of the republic.

Cyrus Vance and Lord David Owen, mediators and co-chairmen of the Geneva conference on former Yugoslavia, are overseeing talks to negotiate a durable cease-fire and the demilitarization of Sarajevo.

The three sides, represented by Mr. Izetbegovic, a Muslim; his Croat nominal ally Mate Boban; and Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, were asked to submit any objections to the plan before negotiations resumed yesterday.

Diplomats say the Muslims, who originally proposed 13 autonomous provinces in the new Bosnia, have little to gain from a peace accord in Geneva when foreign military intervention to thwart the insurgent Serbs could be only weeks away.

Mr. Vance and Lord Owen have left no doubt that they see themselves as working to head off growing world momentum towards intervention. They are backed by United Nations Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, and insist that international intervention would wreck all hopes for peace and bring more suffering to Bosnia.