Pacific Stars and Stripes
24 Aug. 1993. page 2.
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina —- Bosnia’s Bosniak president predicted Sunday the republic’s assembly would reject the latest peace plan to divide Bosnia with its enemies — a snub that would likely bring a surge in fighting.
Just hours after he returned from Geneva — where the proposal was offered last week — President Alija Izetbegovic called the plan unacceptable and indicated his beleaguered government would continue trying to wrest more concessions from Bosnian Serbs and Croats.
Under the compromise package, Serbs would get about 52 percent of Bosnia, Bosniaks 31 percent and Croats 17 percent under a weak central government. Bosniaks, who control only about 10 percent of Bosnia, want at least 40 percent and demand that Serbs aren’t given land where they committed genocide and “ethnic cleansing of Bosniaks.
Serbian and Croatian leaders on Friday accepted the draft plan laid down by international peace negotiators.
Conference spokesman John Mills said the deadline for replies was Aug. 30, and “if they don’t sign the war will continue.”
Despite Izetbegovic’s criticism of the division plan, he held out some hope of flexibility. Izetbegovic said it had some good aspects, including preserving Bosnia-Herzergovina as an internationally recognized state. He also pointed to a reduction in fighting in the last three weeks and an improvement in the supply of aid.
But he said that “at first glance” the bad aspects prevailed.
The plan would let Serbs keep areas where Bosniaks once were the majority but were forced out by Serbs. The Bosniak republic would be land-locked, and the Croat and Serb held lands would border Croatia and Serbia.
Izetbegovic said the plan would be discussed by a Bosnian assembly.
“I will not propose that they vote for such a proposal,” Izetbegovic declared, adding he wanted to continue the negotiating process. But he predicted the assembly would assess the plan as “not acceptable, no matter what I suggest.”