Negotiating for Peace in Former Yugoslavia

In the editorial "Peace Where There Is None," Oct. 21, you criticize Lord Owen and Cyrus Vance for advocating partition of that unhappy nation along ethnic lines. It is right to say that such partition would be a mistake; it couldn't be more wrong, however, to say that it is part of the negotiating strategy being pursued by the two co-chairmen in the Geneva Conference on the Former Yugoslavia.

From the outset - and this is a matter of public record - Messrs. Vance and Owen discarded the so-called cantonization idea, precisely because it could lead to an ethnic carve-up of the country and further enforced population transfers.

Owen and Vance succeeded in bringing the three warring parties to Geneva for intensive negotiations but have consistently resisted any two-way deals cut at the expense of a third party. On Oct. 21, in a meeting with Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic, they received a pledge of government participation in three-way talks on the demilitarization of Sarajevo.

The Geneva talks are based on the premise that the sovereignty and independence of Bosnia and Herzegovina are fundamental, and that its borders may not be changed by force. Vance and Owen will have it no other way. Herbert S. Okun, Geneva Deputy to Mr. Cyrus Vance International gridlock

Regarding the column "The World From ... Sarajevo," Oct. 14: The plight of the people of Bosnia - a Muslim country without oil - is causing endless ripples of embarrassment to the United States government.

The cabal of Bosnia's neighboring European governments is about to burst at the seams with frustration. The United Nations, with all of its genuine concern, is found lacking the mandate to stop the bloodshed. The Muslim world in turn is seething with indignation, so much so that a number of Arab and Muslim governments are seriously considering retaliatory military action.

The peace-loving people of the world are by now convinced that Serbia's campaign of "cleansing" Bosnia of its Muslim people should be summarily stopped. Unfortunately, Serbia is not Iraq and Bosnia is not Kuwait, and it is becoming impossible to muster international consensus as to what to do next. This being the situation, public opinion in Arab and Muslim countries is seriously calling for a declaration of war on Serbia.

It is expected that such an act of war will coalesce the embarrassment of the US government and the indignant Arab and Muslim world into one cohesive movement akin to that of the collaboration during the Gulf war. Ludwig W. Tamari, Potomac, Md. Bringing democacy to Bosnia

Military intervention in Yugoslavia would be hopeless, not because of the usual reasons of its difficulty, but because it would turn all of the inhabitants of that former country against America.

There is a more effective way in which America could use its diplomatic might in persuading the United Nations to form a commission - Americans, Russians, Germans, British, French - to organize internal elections in the various warring states. Thus, at present the Serb and Croat populations have little chance of expressing themselves because they only hear the side of the ruling party.

Let the United Nations suggest to the leaders of the states at war that they come in and have sufficient time to organize a fair election - the main parties having equal TV time and advertising money, and the actual vote collection supervised by UN personnel.

It is our duty to give the people of the former Yugoslavia a fair whack at a bit of true democracy. J. O'M. Bockris, College Station, Texas

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