Millions Are at Risk in Former Yugoslavia, U.S. Diplomats Warn Winter Compounds Threats from Civil War

Article excerpt

The lives of more than 4.2 million people in former Yugoslavia will be at risk this winter because of fighting, disease, malnutrition or lack of shelter, the State Department said Wednesday.

Michael McCurry, a State Department spokesman, said 2.7 million of those lived in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The rest, he said, included 700,000 refugees in Croatia, 565,000 in Serbia, 82,000 in Montenegro, 27,000 in Macedonia and 45,000 in Slovenia.

Most of those outside Bosnia were not endangered by fighting but were gravely affected by the Balkan war, he said.

About 23 million people lived in Yugoslavia before the civil wars began in 1991.

The estimate of people at risk was more cautious than the estimate issued last year by the CIA stating that 100,000 or more Bosnians would die during the winter of 1992-93 - which turned out to be quite mild and claimed few victims.

McCurry said the new figures "remind us of the importance and necessity of returning to a political dialogue that can help the three parties in conflict in Bosnia resolve their fighting, their differences." International efforts to resume peace talks are stalled.

In Washington Tuesday and in Brussels, Belgium, on Wednesday, U.S. officials rejected proposals by France and Germany to revive peace talks by easing international sanctions on Serbia in exchange for territorial concessions by Bosnian Serbs to the Muslim-led Bosnian government in Sarajevo. Shelling In Sarajevo

Three more children were killed in Sarajevo on Wednesday, and mourners gathered after dark to bury youngsters killed the day before in a mortar attack on a school, The Associated Press reported. …