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Bosnia may put rail cars back on track

Serbs, Croats and Muslims agreed Saturday to resume rail traffic across Bosnia, drawing praise from high-ranking international officials.

If implemented, the deal signed by representatives of the Serb substate and Muslim-Croat federation, which share Bosnia, would contribute to freedom of movement, a pillar of the 1995 Dayton peace accord.The agreement foresees immediate resumption of rail traffic between the two Bosnian substates and the reopening of negotiations on restructuring of the country's rail system.

"Today, we are at the beginning of putting the railway system in this country back on track," said Jacques Klein, the U.S. diplomat serving as a deputy high commissioner of the country.

"It's what the people want, it's what businesses need," he said.

The Bosnian war stopped most trains in 1992. Since it ended, Bosnian Serbs have insisted on a separate railroad company, while the Muslim-Croat federation has sought a united operation. Saturday's agreement was due in part to new moderates in the Bosnian Serb government.

The international community has invested $14.7 million for repairs to tracks, junctions and bridges on the main railway lines across Bosnia.