Interim Solution for Sarajevo Leads to Map Discussions

By Ron Scherer, writer of The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, August 18, 1993 | Go to article overview

Interim Solution for Sarajevo Leads to Map Discussions


Ron Scherer, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


SARAJEVO symbolizes the complexity of dividing Bosnia-Herzegovina between warring Croats, Muslims, and Serbs.

The capital is so important to all three factions that the international negotiators in Geneva have suggested letting the United Nations run the city for at least a year while the three factions consider a solution. It appears the suggestion, made by Lord David Owen of the European Community and Thorvald Stoltenberg of the UN, may be accepted.

The three sides agreed in principle on Aug. 16 to make Sarajevo a UN-administered area. But as John Mills, a spokesman for the mediators, says, "Nothing has been signed, nothing is in concrete." Instead, a smaller working group from the three parties is hashing out the details of jurisdiction.

The Bosnians seem to be interested in the interim solution since it prevents a partitioning of the city. Serb nationalist leader Radovan Karadzic has talked about dividing the city, with his faction getting some of the suburbs and half of the city center.

UN administration "means there is a still a chance Sarajevo could be the capital of a Bosnian state," says Janusz Bugajski, associate director of East European studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

WHILE the working group tries to flesh out the details, the negotiators continued difficult negotiations on the future boundaries of the three ethnic ministates that will be loosely joined together.

Muslim President Alija Izetbegovic met with Mr. Karadzic on Aug. 17 to discuss the future of Muslim enclaves such as Gorazde and Srebrenica, both of which have been surrounded by Bosnian Serb forces in the eastern part of the former Yugoslav republic. Bosnian Croat leader Mate Boban also held talks with Mr. Izetbegovic Aug. 17 on the borders of the three ethnic republics.

"This could go on for several weeks," Mr. Bugajski says. "We are talking about key cities, communication lines, the most productive parts of the country. …

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