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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bosnian Peace Plan Gets A Cool Initial Reception

GENEVA -- Mediators from major powers presented Bosnia's factions Wednesday with a "peaceful ultimatum" to stop fighting, but a Moslem leader suggested his side -- now on the offensive -- would like a better deal. Bosnia's Moslem Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic said the peace plan had "serious deficiencies," but later his President Alija Izetbegovic said it would likely sign -- even if only because it was certain the Bosnian Serbs will reject it. The leader of the Moslems' Bosnian Serb foes, Radovan Karadzic, denounced it as an "American dictate." He said his side would use the two weeks set by the mediators "to consider all implications of what has been offered and adopt a clear-cut stance on it." The proposals from a five-nation "contact group" -- the United States, Russia, Britain, France and Germany -- center on a division of Bosnia giving 51 percent to a Moslem-Croat federation and 49 percent to the Serbs. First reaction to the plan came from Silajdzic. He told reporters the map they had drawn up, especially in eastern Bosnia, "has serious deficiencies and some genocide areas like Prijedor are going to be controlled by those who committed those crimes." Silajdzic said many other similar towns in the east including Zvornik, Rogatica and the historic Drina River port of Visegrad would remain in Serb hands although the plan demands a large-scale pull-back by the Serbs. Silajdzic declined to predict what the formal response would be when the parties return to Geneva on July 19. But diplomats said it seemed the Moslem-Croat alliance would probably accept the plan. Croat leader Kresimir Zubak, president of the Moslem-Croat federation which now exists alongside the Bosnian government of Moslem President Alija Izetbegovic, said a political settlement was in the interests of his community. The comments from Karadzic, who met the contact group after the Moslem and Croat leaders, left open the possibility that the Serbs might try to push back the July 19 deadline for a response. They have done so when presented with earlier plans. On arrival in Geneva on Tuesday, Karadzic said what he knew of the plan made it "impossible to accept." But diplomats said he was likely to face strong pressure to agree to it from Serbia's President Slobodan Milosevic. Milosevic is due to have talks Wednesday with Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, who has championed the peace blueprint.