January 18, 1996 in Nation/World

Soldiers Expected To Meet Deadline

Compiled From Wire Services

Although they left burned and looted homes behind them, government soldiers bowed to peace plan terms and were pulling back Wednesday from a bitterly contested front line in north-central Bosnia.

NATO officials said the withdrawal here was going ahead of schedule, and they expected forces all over Bosnia to meet a midnight Friday (3 p.m. PST) deadline to pull back from former confrontation lines.

However, another step in the U.S.-brokered peace accord - the release of all prisoners of war - probably won’t be met by the Friday deadline.

Bosnian Foreign Minister Muhamed Sacirbey demanded Wednesday that the Muslim-led government must have unimpeded access to Serb-run prisons and suspected mass grave sites.

The government’s insistence that up to 20,000 missing persons must be accounted for has already thwarted plans to release hundreds of prisoners of war this week and made it even less likely the Friday deadline will be met.

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