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Bosnia: Mostar City Council Meets For First Time To Elect Mayor

Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina; 14 August 1996 (RFE/RL) - Bosnian Croats and Muslims are holding their first joint city council session today to elect a mayor for the ethnically divided city of Mostar in southern Herzegovina.

The meeting is the first since the two sides settled a crisis that had threatened Bosnia's peace process. HINA, the Croatian news agency, said today's meeting started late because of disagreement over the agenda, and is expected to continue until late this afternoon.

Dragan Gasic, spokesman for the European Union, which administers Mostar, said the 37-seat assembly was likely to elect a mayor "after a lengthy session."

Meanwhile, the European security group charged with organizing next month's Bosnia-wide elections today cast serious doubt on how free and fair they will be.

Flavio Cotti, chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), said freedom of movement is still not guaranteed and refugees are still not able to return to their homes in Bosnia.

In another development, U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher began a summit of Balkan leaders in Geneva to make sure all three former warring factions stick to the peace commitments they made last year. Agence France Presse quotes U.S. State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns as saying that Christopher asked Croatian President Franjo Tudjman to turn over indicted war criminals who have been spotted in his country recently.