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Christopher Tells Bosnian Government To Free Serb Prisoners

Washington, Jan. 23 (RFE/RL) - U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher says Bosnia's Muslim-led government has no justification for holding on to Bosnian Serb prisoners and could lose equipment, training and funds unless it frees them.

In a U.S. Public Broadcasting System television interview last night, Christopher dismissed the Sarajevo government's argument that it needs information on thousands of missing Muslims before it will release more prisoners.

Christopher expressed satisfaction, however, with the implementation of the terms of the Dayton peace accord. He said the pullback of the warring sides from confrontation lines has been, in his words, carried out with "good spirit."

Bosnian Prime Minister-designate Hasan Muratovic yesterday defended his government's decision. He said Bosnian Serb claims that they are holding only 150 prisoners are unrealistic and that there must be hundreds or thousands more.

The commander of NATO forces in Bosnia told rival sides to "get on with it" and release all remaining prisoners-of-war. The appeal by U.S. Admiral Leighton Smith was broadcast late last night on Bosnian Serb television.