Bosnia combatants agree on the structure for civilian authority Muslims, Croats resolve most issues

rebel Serbs not addressed

November 11, 1995|By LOS ANGELES TIMES

DAYTON, Ohio -- Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic called it "the day of our determination, the day of our hope" yesterday as his government agreed to relinquish most civilian governmental authority to a refurbished Muslim-Croat federation.

Although the federation has existed on paper for 20 months, the pact signed by leaders of Bosnia's warring factions at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base sets out its structure for the first time.

It assigns to the federation responsibility for education, police, courts, energy, industry, traffic, commerce, agriculture, health and refugees in territory controlled by Muslim and Croatian forces.

The agreement leaves the central government with responsibility for foreign policy, foreign trade, currency, air-traffic control and several other international functions.

As an annex to the pact, Muslims and Croats agreed to reunite the divided city of Mostar, sched- uling citywide elections for April.

Secretary of State Warren Christopher described the federation agreement as "an essential building block for peace."

U.S. officials said the pact seems to resolve most disputes between the Muslims and Croats, but it leaves unsettled the status of the rebel Bosnian Serbs, who are blamed for most of the atrocities in Europe's bloodiest war in a half-century.

However, a senior Clinton administration official said that U.S. and European mediators hope to kick the talks "into fourth gear" over the weekend in an effort to reach an overall agreement by the end of next week.

Although many details remain unsettled, the senior official said, "Right now all these guys are acting like they want a deal."

In a meeting with Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, Mr. Christopher called for a negotiated settlement of the controversy over Eastern Slavonia, the last slice of Croatian territory held by rebel Croatian Serbs.

Mr. Tudjman has threatened to retake the territory by military means if the dispute is not resolved by the end of this month, and Croatian troops were reportedly moving toward the enclave.

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