Serbs Participate as Talks Resume on Peace in Bosnia
A CRUCIAL round of peace negotiations on Bosnia-Herzegovina was expected to begin yesterday at the United Nations, and for the first time a high-ranking Serbian official planned to attend.
Serbian Foreign Minister Javanovic Vladislav has accompanied Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic to New York. His presence there follows talks in Paris last week where Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic said "he would support the peace process and try to bring these talks to a successful conclusion," said Fred Eckhard, spokesman for the mediators.
"The tactic now is encouragement," said one envoy, in reference to Serbia's participation in the talks. If Bosnian Serbs sign the peace pact, some council diplomats are in favor of a phased lifting of sanctions imposed against Belgrade.
The key issue is a controversial map splitting the country into 10 semi-autonomous provinces based in part on ethnic lines. Only Bosnia's Croats have approved this part of the peace plan.
Mr. Karadzic contends that the map would reduce his control of Bosnia from the 70 percent of the territory now occupied by Bosnian Serbs to about 43 percent. Before the war Serbs were spread over 60 percent of the country.
Bosnia's Muslim president, Alija Izetbegovic, is expected to sign the map. Although he has voiced his opposition to it, the general feeling in Sarajevo is that these talks could be the last.
If Mr. Izetbegovic signs the plan, Mr. Karadzic will be under greater pressure to follow suit. If Karadzic leaves New York without signing, international pressure against Yugoslavia will increase, UN sources say, including more sanctions. Standoff in Srebrenica
Bosnian Serbs ignored a pledge by their leader and continued yesterday to prevent a UN aid convoy from reaching the besieged Muslim town of Srebrenica.
Radovan Karadzic had promised Tuesday to let the convoy through to the eastern Bosnian town whose population has swollen to 60,000 as refugees fled surrounding towns. The convoy remained stuck at the Serbian border town of Mali Zvornik.
Gen. Philippe Morillon of France, the commander of the UN troops in Bosnia, remained in Srebrenica as a deterrent to potential Serb attacks. Tens of thousands of refugees from the Serb advance are crowded into Srebrenica, many living on the streets in freezing temperatures without adequate clothing. Relief officials say the only food these refugees have had has come from the US airdrops, which continued for a 17th consecutive night Tuesday.
Meanwhile, fighting continued in earnest in eastern Bosnia, where government forces cut a corridor linking Serbia to the Bosnian Serbs' headquarters in Pale near Sarajevo.
The UN also confirmed Tuesday an air attack on eastern Bosnia in violation of a UN-imposed "no-fly zone." The UN force said in a statement that three single-engine propeller planes each dropped three bombs Saturday about five miles from Srebrenica.
It did not identify the planes' origin, but said all three flew to Serb-dominated Yugoslavia afterward. Lord David Owen, the chief US mediator, said the UN would probably again consider "military enforcement of the no-fly zone." Shells Fall on Sarajevo
Bosnian Serbs and government forces exchanged heavy artillery, tank, and mortar fire yesterday near Sarajevo's airport, UN spokesman Maj. Pepe Gallegos said. The fighting broke out in a government-held suburb that borders the airport.
Major Gallegos said he did not know what touched off the fighting or what the objective might have been. But the suburb, Butmir, is a key government position along the southwest edge of the airport, sandwiched by Serb positions. Sarajevans have used Butmir as a staging point for nightly crossings of the airport in and out of the besieged capital.
In a series of pushes in recent weeks, Serb forces have captured chunks of other western Sarajevo suburbs. The fighting around Butmir came a day after a sharp increase in sniping and shelling around Sarajevo.