ARTILLERY exchanges in the embattled Bihac enclave yesterday marred the week-long truce across Bosnia, as the UN commander, Lt- Gen Sir Michael Rose, worked to finalise an agreement for a cessation of hostilities due to take effect on New Year's Da y. Thefighting in Bihac pits the government against three allied armies, only one of which is party to the ceasefire that began on Christmas Eve, and threatens the stability of the truce elsewhere.
"There is fighting going on around Bosanska Krupa [held by Bosnian Serb troops] with tanks, artillery and mortars. The tanks for sure would be the Bosnian Serbs," Edward Joseph, a UN official, said from the enclave. "There was shelling to the east of Velika Kladusa [held by rebel Muslims] today. At least 55 impacts were recorded."
Neither the Krajina Serbs, attacking across the Croatian border, nor rebels loyal to the Muslim entrepreneur Fikret Abdic are bound by the ceasefire. Gen Rose visited Bihac on Wednesday, and Mr Abdic promised to respect the truce; the general is due to visit Knin, the Krajina Serb "capital" today in the hope of extracting a similar deal.
The UN commander is keen to flesh out a deal for cessation of hostilities, holding talks with the Bosnian Serb leadership in Pale and the government in Sarajevo. Under a tentative agreement conceived by former US president Jimmy Carter, and delivered by Yasushi Akashi, the UN envoy, the warring factions are to suspend fighting for at least four months, starting on New Year's Day.
The Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, said he was ready to sign a document detailing the cessation of hostilities immediately. …