Top U.S. diplomats conferred Thursday with the regional power-broker, Serbian President Slo-bo-dan Milosevic, on a new plan they hope will bring peace to former Yugoslavia.
On the battlefield, Croatian and Bosnian government forces moved on rebel Serbs on three fronts.Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke and other senior officials met Milosevic after earlier talks with Croatian President Franjo Tudjman and the foreign ministers of Bosnia and Croatia.
Unlike many previous peace plans, the U.S. proposal earned initial positive reviews from all sides.
Full details of the plan have not been revealed, but it was expected to include full diplomatic recognition of the borders of Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia; dividing Bosnia roughly in half between Serbs and a coalition of Muslims and Croats, and some confederation between the Bosnian Serbs and Serbia.
The Yugoslav media also said the plan would:
- lift economic sanctions on Serb-led Yugoslavia, imposed for its role in fomenting the wars in Bosnia and Croatia;
- give the isolated eastern Muslim enclave of Gorazde to the Bosnian Serbs and widen their northern supply corridor in exchange for government control of more land around Sarajevo;
- provide international aid for rebuilding Bosnia;
- and threaten penalties in case either side rejects the plan.
If Bosnian Serbs rejected it, then U.N. troops would be withdrawn and replaced by NATO troops, the arms embargo against the Bosnian government would be lifted and NATO would give air support for the Bosnians. If the government rejected the plan, U.N. peacekeepers would withdraw from Bosnia and the arms embargo against all warring sides would be lifted.
Independent Yugoslav media said Milosevic tentatively supported the plan and was urging Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic to do the same.
Milosevic apparently fears if Karadzic rejects the plan again, Serbia may be forced to enter the war openly on behalf of the Bosnian Serbs.
Karadzic, however, warned on Thursday his rebel government would "accept nothing less than full sovereignty and independence" for the self-proclaimed Bosnian Serb state.
Meanwhile, more than 3,000 Croatian soldiers have moved toward the Adriatic port of Dubrovnik in Croatia over the past three days, U.N. officials said. In addition, about 1,100 Bosnian Croat troops were moving west toward Trebinje, a Serb-held town in Bosnia just across the border from Dubrovnik.
Up to 2,500 Croatian and Bosnian Croat soldiers, with heavy artillery, were also said to be closing in on the Serb-held town of Drvar, in western Bosnia.