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TRUCE HOLDS AS ARMIES LOOK TO PEACE

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The Muslim-led government and its Serbian enemies generally abided by their cease-fire Saturday and took small steps toward working out a longer peace.

Bosnian Serbs sporadically violated the truce in Nedzarici, near Sarajevo's airport, and scattered detonations were heard near the southwestern city of Mostar, said U.N. spokesman Lt. Col. Gary Coward.But those violations were not serious, he said, and elsewhere, "things are looking very, very good."

Fighting was also reported in northwest Bosnia, where Croatian Serbs and rebel Muslim forces mounted "significant" infantry attacks around Velika Kladusa, Coward said. He had no information about casualties.

The attacks did not represent cease-fire violations because the Croatian Serbs and rebel Muslims are not parties to the truce signed Friday. There was no indication the fighting would spread.

The cease-fire brokered by former President Jimmy Carter earlier this week and nailed down by U.N. negotiators foresees a stop in fighting for four months and one week.

Dozens of cease-fires have broken down during the war, which began in April 1992 when Serbs rebelled against the republic's secession from Serb-dominated Yugoslavia. But this one appears to have better prospects.

The government and the Bosnian Serbs appear severely overstrained and need time to regroup and reorganize after weeks of intense fighting in several areas.

And fighting traditionally tapers off during winter months because of the problems in moving weapons and troops in a mountainous country with poor road systems.

The first phase of the cease-fire, from Christmas Eve to New Year's Eve, provides time to work out details of a four-month truce to begin New Year's Day.