Serbs in Croatia, Bosnia to form nation Ethnic leaders defy U.N. sanctions

April 22, 1993|By Dusko Doder | Dusko Doder,Contributing Writer

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia -- In a defiant response to tighter United Nations sanctions and the prospect of allied military strikes on Serbian targets in Bosnia, the leaders of Serbs in Bosnia and Croatia are planning to create a new common state.

A decision has already been made to form a joint parliament, which would hold its first session Saturday.

Yugoslav President Dobrica Cosic and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic have been invited to attend the session at Bosanski Novi, a Sarajevo district recently renamed Novi Grad, but there were no immediate indications that either would attend.

Nikola Koljevic, deputy to Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, said the move was needed to end the fragmentation of Serbs living outside Yugoslavia at a time of great danger.

If Serbian-held territories in Bosnia and Croatia are united, he said, "nobody will be able to force" Serbs to submit to Croatian or Muslim rule.

"International pressures are enormous; Yugoslavia is almost exhausted," Mr. Koljevic said. "Today we have received information about priority targets that are to be hit by NATO planes in their first attack."

Western analysts in Belgrade noted that the alliance is likely to further complicate the quest for a solution to the war in Bosnia.

"Militarily, they definitely need each other," said a diplomat speaking on condition of anonymity. "They are also afraid that Milosevic may cut a deal at their expense" in exchange for the lifting of U.N. sanctions.

The surprise move also reveals what seem to be growing tensions between the Serbs living in and outside Serbia.

In particular, the leaders of Krajina, a Serbian enclave inside Croatia, were alarmed by Serbia's lukewarm response to a recent Croatian military assault on Krajina's southern tip.

Indicative of those suspicions were comments by Aleksa Buha, the Bosnian Serb foreign minister, about the welcome Belgrade extended to Lord Owen, the U.N. negotiator who met yesterday with Mr. Milosevic and Mr. Cosic.

Referring to Lord Owen's suggestion recently that Serbian targets be bombed, Mr. Buha said, "I don't see what there is to talk about with a man who publicly and persistently advocates bombardment of Serbs and who knows that as a negotiator he must be impartial.

"The time has come to ask Great Britain and the European Community to replace Lord Owen with another figure for the possible continuation of negotiations."

Mr. Buha also dismissed a Russian proposal under which the plan devised by Lord Owen and U.N. envoy Cyrus R. Vance for dividing Bosnia into 10 ethnic enclaves would be modified to include a corridor linking Serbian sections of Bosnia.

The Russians have offered to secure the corridor with their own troops.

"We don't need a strange corridor over our own territory," Mr. Buha said.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.