BOSNIAN Serb forces backed away from an agreement to withdraw from a NATO-imposed exclusion zone around the United Nations ``safe haven'' of Gorazde and strengthened their positions nearby, a UN official said yesterday.
The Bosnian Serb army had pledged to honor the terms of a cease-fire in Gorazde, signed with the UN on Saturday, and withdraw soldiers from a two-mile zone by Sunday. But some 150 soldiers remained within the zone, and the Serb forces have strengthened their positions just north of the town.
Although the Serbs had agreed to pull back completely, they now have issued two conditions for their withdrawal from the town, according to UN spokesman Rob Annink: They want Serb civilians to be allowed to leave the Muslim-controlled part of Gorazde; and the Bosnian Army must withdraw from a hilltop position east of the town center.
If the conditions were not met, the Serbs said they would continue to refuse freedom of movement to UN military observers, Mr. Annink said. Lt. Gen. Michael Rose, UN commander in Bosnia-Herzegovina, had tried to encourage the Bosnian Army to ``do their part,'' Annink said. Officially, the UN has insisted that no conditions had been attached to the agreement for the Serb withdrawal.
The Muslim-led Bosnian government has insisted that Serbs comply with the Gorazde cease-fire accord before they enter talks on a temporary truce for Bosnia.
Sergio Vieira de Mello, head of civil affairs for UNPROFOR, was scheduled to hold talks with Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic today in Sarajevo to try to push for talks on an overall truce for Bosnia. Rwandan truce shaky as envoy arrives
A SHAKY truce took effect in the Rwandan capital of Kigali yesterday to allow UN peace envoy Iqbal Razi to visit. But warring parties did not give assurances of his safe passage by road from the north. The civilian head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda, Abdul Kabia, said the cease-fire appeared to be holding despite minor violations.
Mr. Kabia acknowledged that Mr. Razi's visit could still be in doubt. He said the UN was yet to receive rebel and government assurances of safe passage for Razi, who was traveling in a road convoy with military adviser Gen. Joseph Baril.
The party crossed from Uganda early yesterday and began scheduled talks with leaders of the Rwanda Patriotic Front at its headquarters in Mulindi.
A week ago, the Security Council authorized additional troops of up to 5,500 to try to end ethnic massacres and provide relief for hundreds of thousands of people displaced in seven weeks of violence. Relief workers estimate that 500,000 people have perished and more than a million are homeless.
The Organization of African Unity said yesterday that Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria, Namibia, Senegal, Zambia, and Congo had agreed to contribute troops to an expanded UN mission in Rwanda. Those OAU member states made it clear, however, that they were not in a position to provide financial and logistical support.