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No secret arms going to Muslims, NATO officials say

International officials using aerial and ground surveillance to try to thwart any secret arms buildup in Bosnia said Friday they are unaware of any weapons being sneaked to the country's Muslim forces.

The Muslim-led army is benefiting from a U.S.-backed rearmament program and, according to NATO sources, has used funds from friendly countries to buy high-technology equipment, including anti-tank and anti-aircraft missile systems.The purchases are permitted as long as they are ultimately used by a joint Muslim-Croat force that the international community envisions for Bosnia. U.S. and European nations want the force to be equal in fighting capacity to the Bosnian Serb force.

According to a New York Times report today, the Muslims are secretly adding more arms and training with an eye to attacking and defeating the Serbs. The report came amid local media speculation about the possibility of renewed fighting once the NATO-led peace force in Bosnia withdraws.

But officials from the NATO operation, charged with enforcing the Dayton accord, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which monitors arms control efforts, said they had no evidence of illegal arms shipments.

"We are not aware of any secret weapons coming in," said David Foley, the OSCE spokesman.

The international groups use aerial and ground surveillance to monitor weapons and ammunition across Bosnia, and they allow each of the three ethnic factions to investigate the others' arsenals.