Russian gas began trickling into Sarajevo Tuesday and electricity lighted up part of the city, prompting the United Nations to declare that conditions were set for a delayed cease-fire to begin.
The truce, brokered by the United States, had been scheduled to begin one minute after midnight Monday. But full restoration of utilities was a condition for its implementation, and late Monday the government postponed the cease-fire because that provision wasn't met.But by Tuesday afternoon, U.N. officials declared that the conditions were met for the cease-fire to take effect at 5:01 p.m. MDT. "Utilities are restored," U.N. spokeswoman Myriam Sochacki said.
It was up to the Bosnian government to agree, she said. There was no immediate comment from the government. But Hasan Muratovic, Bosnian minister for relations with the United Nations, said earlier if the United Nations declared conditions had been met "we will proclaim full implementation and our army will receive an order for total cease-fire."
The decision to postpone the truce followed two days of deadly shelling that provoked retaliatory NATO airstrikes.
The Bosnian government, its Croat allies and the rebel Serbs pledged to respect the cease-fire once it takes effect. But heavy fighting continued Tuesday, and more than 1,000 non-Serbs were expelled from Serb-held territory as both sides battled for land and bargaining power in anticipation of a truce.
Bosnian Serbs turned on one power line to Sarajevo late Monday, providing electricity to parts of the besieged city, but most residents remained in darkness. Repair work continued on a second power line.
Russia only began pumping natural gas to Sarajevo at midnight after Serb and Bosnian representatives signed documents assuring the Russian state gas monopoly that the lines were in adequate condition because the two former Yugoslav republics agreed to pay $100 million for gas used the past 3 1/2 years.