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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.N. Hails Sarajevo Truce, Blames Renegades

SARAJEVO -- The U.N. commander in Sarajevo accused "renegade military units" of trying to sabotage a cease-fire in the city as more peacekeeping troops took up position between warring Moslems and Serbs on Friday.


General Sir Michael Rose said he was "reasonably satisfied" with the cease-fire that began Thursday despite a burst of shelling and machine-gun fire.


Serb and Moslem forces blamed each other for the violations but the U.N. said both sides were guilty.


"A comparatively small number of rounds have been fired since the start of the cease-fire -- as far as I can judge, as many out of the city as into the city," Rose said through his spokesman. "It seems quite extraordinary that renegade military units are attempting to sabotage the cease-fire and thus prolong the suffering of their own people in Sarajevo."


If the truce holds, and Serb forces place guns around Sarajevo under U.N. control, it could avert NATO's threat to launch air attacks on the Serbs.


The Western alliance has demanded the artillery's removal within 10 days but would be unable to strike at the gun positions if they were already under the supervision of peacekeeping troops.


The cease-fire, unusually stable by Sarajevo standards, was hailed by European Union mediator David Owen at peace talks between Bosnian Moslems, Croats and Serbs in Geneva.


"You are seeing the demilitarization of a 20-kilometer exclusion zone in Sarajevo," he told reporters. "You can then go on to discuss the details of U.N. administration and total demilitarization of Sarajevo district."


U.N. sources said the Serbs had turned one cannon, a small rocket launcher and at least one mortar from their arsenal over to peacekeepers at the main Serb barracks outside Sarajevo.


The United Nations Protection Force, or UNPROFOR, wants to gather Serb guns at Lukavica and Bosnian government Moslem heavy weapons at the Tito barracks inside the city.


Bosnian leader Radovan Karadzic disavowed one of his generals who warned that U.N. aid workers would not leave Bosnia if NATO attacked.


He assured the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Sadako Ogata, whose spokesman said in Geneva: "Our relief workers will have free passage in and out of Bosnian Serb territory and their safety continues to be guaranteed."


Serbs stopped three U.N. workers at gunpoint from leaving the Bosnian town of Banja Luka on Wednesday to go to Croatia, but aid convoys were said to be running normally.


NATO threatened air strikes after a mortar killed 68 people in a Sarajevo market Saturday although UNPROFOR said that it could not determine which side was responsible.


Karadzic, who has won a full U.N. investigation of the incident, was confident that it would prove Moslems fired the mortar in what has been called the worst single atrocity of the 22-month.


UNPROFOR spokesman Bill Aikman said Thursday: "This is ludicrous. There is no secret report. We have done extensive analysis and cannot go further than to state the round came from somewhere close to the confrontation line."