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CROATS TAKE AIM AT SERBS NEAR DUBROVNIK

The Dubrovnik area came under artillery fire Monday as Croats tried to push Serb guns out of range of the medieval walled city on Croatia's coast.

The Muslim-led Bosnian army was carrying out its own offensive in central Bosnia and appeared to meet stiff Serb resistance.As allied Croatian and Bosnian government troops moved to capitalize on recent gains over the Serbs, the United States and Russia were struggling to find new ways to end the war in Bosnia.

U.S. Undersecretary of State Richard Holbrooke was expected in Sarajevo on Tuesday to discuss a new peace plan that reportedly calls for land swaps in Bosnia. He also was to meet officials in Belgrade, capital of Serb-dominated Yugoslavia.

National Security Adviser Anthony Lake presented the U.S. proposal Sunday to Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, who said after the meeting in southern Russia that the two countries had narrowed their differences over end-ing the war.

Kozyrev said both sides wanted to put together a summit of the presidents of Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia.

Russia has been angered by what it sees as U.S. and German support for an Aug. 4 Croatian offensive that crushed Serb forces in southern Croatia.

The U.S. proposal, according to news reports, may include the threat of more NATO bombing of Bosnian Serb positions and of troops from Muslim countries joining the Muslim-led Bosnian army, if the Bosnian Serbs reject the plan.

Croatian troops, meanwhile, pursued their offensive to knock out Serb guns that can reach Dubrovnik from the Serb-held Bosnian town of Trebinje, 15 miles to the northeast.

U.N. military observers in the area reported that the Croats were firing artillery shells from Gruda, six miles south of Dubrovnik, in the general direction of Trebinje.

AP reporter Shawn Pogatchnik said from Dubrovnik he could hear a lot of shelling southeast of the city, around Gruda, both outgoing Croat shells and incoming Bosnian Serb artillery fire.

If Croats are successful in dislodging Bosnian Serbs from Tre-bin-je, it would put Dubrovnik out of range to all but the Serbs' most powerful guns for the first time since the city was bombarded in the fall of 1991.

Sporadic artillery exchanges were reported in the wider Dubrovnik area, where a general alert was proclaimed Monday, U.N. spokeswoman Susan Angle said.

Croatia's HINA news agency reported seven brush fires south of the city said to be caused by Bosnian Serbs firing incendiary shells. The fires disrupted water, power and phone links.

In central Bosnia, the Bosnian government troops have been slowly advancing around the Serb-held town of Donji Vakuf since Saturday.