Bosnia Muslims Standing Alone
28 June 1993.
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — Bosnia’s Muslim-led government stood alone today on the battlefront and at the bargaining table, its troops fighting Serbs and Croats and its leadership reluctantly exploring the enemy’s plan to carve the republic into ethnic states.
As the newest round of peace talks were getting under way in Geneva, the Yugoslav news agency Tanjug reported fighting between Serbs and government troops near the northeastern city of Brcko, Bihac, in the northwest and the central town of Trnovo.
Bosniak-Croat fighting also persisted in a strategic cluster of towns in northern and central Bosnia. Tanjug said the most intense skirmishes were around Zepce, Zavidovici, Mostar and Jablanica.
Bosnian radio said Muslim forces also ere facing a combined Serb-Croat onslaught on Maglaj for the second day.
Maglaj, Zepce and Zavidovici form a triangle that controls the main road and access roads to Zenica and Tuzla, two of the few remaining Muslim strongholds.
Croats and Bosniaks were allied against rebel Serbs when the civil war broke out 15 months ago following Bosnia’s secession from Serb-dominated Yugoslavia. But the Bosniak-Croat alliance collapsed several weeks ago – since the leaders of Serbia and Croatia agreed on a plan to partition the country into three ethnic states.
The Muslim-led government opposes the plan, which gives the Bosniaks the least land even though they constitute the majority. It also fears that the Serb state would merge with Serbia and the Croat state would be absorbed into Croatia, another breakaway Yugoslav republic.
In Geneva today, members of Bosnia’s collective presidency sought to slow the pace of negotiations. Presidency member Mile Akmadzic said talks would focus on the principles of ethnic partition but not on setting boundaries.
Akmadzic told The Associated Press that his group would not make any settlement in Geneva and that his group expects to stay no longer than Tuesday.
International negotiators, Lord Owen and Thorvald Stoltenberg, are expected to meet today with Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic and Bosnian Croat chief Mate Boban, who agreed last week that Bosnia should become a confederation of ethnic states.