Balkan Update

July 28, 1993

Direct talks between the three warring sides opened in GENEVA. There was no word on how long the talks were likely to last.

As the meeting convened, Serb forces intensified their assault around the capital, SARAJEVO, and the northern town of BRCKO. A French peacekeeping unit was caught in a barrage at the capital, but it was unclear if it was deliberately targeted.

NATO was still waiting for the United Nations to give the green light to provide air cover for U.N. forces in Bosnia. A NATO spokesman in BRUSSELS said the planes were ready to go.

In Croatia, the U.N. military commander in former Yugoslavia said Croatian forces were burning houses and crops before withdrawing from the MASLENICA bridge region under a mediated accord with rebel Serbs. A Croatian military spokesman blamed Serb forces for any wanton destruction.

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