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Bosnia: Violence Toward U.N. Staff Ignites Crisis


Sarajevo, 30 August 1996 (RFE/RL) -- A flurry of international meetings is under way to defuse a violent crisis between U.N. police and Bosnian Serb rioters.

General Michael Walker, commander of the land forces of the IFOR peace implementation troops, completed an emergency meeting today in Banja Luka with Bosnian Serb acting president Biljana Plavsic. Walker told reporters afterward that he will meet later today with Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic in the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo.

During the Walker-Plavsic meeting, Bosnian Serb rioters ended their siege of a U.N. police station in the eastern Bosnian town of Zvornik.

U.S. diplomat John Kornblum, who also conferred with Bosnian Serb leaders, also is on his way to Sarajevo to meet with Izetbegovic. Kornblum met yesterday in Zagreb with Croation Foreign Minister Mate Granic, and said afterwards that he believes the Croats will dissolve their self-proclaimed Republic of Herceg Bosnia by tomorrow, the international deadline.

A U.N. official in Tuzla said that the regional commander of U.N. international police, Charlie Hayes, was holding talks today with the Bosnian Serb police chief in Zvornik. Hayes will decide later today whether U.N. staff will return to the town. She said the UN considers the police station attack and the threatening of U.N. staff to be "very serious."
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