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

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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