Bosnian Serbs might sign a four-month truce with the government Thursday, their leader said, suggesting that intense U.N. diplomacy to save a crumbling cease-fire had produced results.
Last week, former President Jimmy Carter brokered a two-stage halt to fighting between the Bosnain Serbs and the Muslim-led government.A weeklong cease-fire - which is to end Saturday - is to allow time to nail down a four-month truce. But attacks by Serb allies on government forces have threatened the process.
The leader of the rebel Serbs, Radovan Karadzic, said without elaboration Thursday that "several points" of the longer truce were still being discussed. But "the Serb side might sign the agreement later today," he said.
Karadzic spoke after talks with Lt. Gen. Sir Michael Rose, the U.N. commander in Bosnia, in the Serb stronghold of Pale outside Sarajevo. The United Nations has stepped up efforts to try to make this cease-fire work where numerous others have failed.
On Wednesday, Rose visited the Bihac enclave in northwestern Bosnia, where Serbs from Croatia and rebel Bosnian Muslim rebels have been attacking government forces since the weeklong cease-fire took hold Saturday.
Croatian Serbs and rebel Muslims in the Bihac region are not party to the weeklong truce.
Rose won verbal agreement to a cease-fire from Fikret Abdic, a renegade Muslim warlord controlling 6,000 fighters in the Bihac region. The commander of Bihac government forces, Gen. Atif Dudakovic, told Rose he would have to consult with Sarajevo before agreeing to a truce in the area.