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Bosnians Break Off Talks; Cease-Fire In Jeopardy

A tenuous cease-fire agreement in Bosnia continued to unravel Wednesday after international mediators failed to win Serbian acceptance of a peace plan and the Bosnian government broke off talks with its enemy.

At the same time, international aid workers sounded the alarm over the likely starvation of refugees in the besieged Muslim enclave of Bihac, the recent scene of heavy shelling.

Underscoring the danger of renewed warfare, envoys from the five-nation Contact Group said they emerged empty-handed as they ended two days of meetings with Bosnia-Herzegovina’s Muslim-led government and Serbian rebels based in the nearby town of Pale. Their mission, already 6 months old, was to persuade the Serbs to accept a plan for dividing Bosnian territory.

The government earlier accepted the plan, which would require the Serbs to give up part of the Bosnian territory they have seized in the war. The Serbs have repeatedly rejected it, even though diplomats are now assuring them that the plan is only a “starting point.”

The Bosnian government urged diplomats to impose a two-month deadline on the Serbs for their acceptance of the plan.

Should the Serbs finally say yes, additional negotiations should be limited to one month, the government said.

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