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Diana takes anti-land mine crusade to Bosnia

But Britain's tabloids concentrate on love life

August 8, 1997
Web posted at: 2:56 p.m. EDT (1856 GMT)

In this story:

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (CNN) -- Leaving behind speculation about a new romance, Princess Diana on Friday took her crusade against land mines to Bosnia.

Up to 70 people a month in Bosnia are injured by land mines left over from the 3 1/2-year war that split the country. Efforts to remove the explosives are dragging.

The princess, trying to forge a role as a roving humanitarian ambassador, arrived in Sarajevo on Friday and, during a three-day Bosnia visit, planned to visit victims of mines and meet rehabilitation specialists.

In the afternoon, she traveled in a vehicle of a Norwegian humanitarian organization to the northern Muslim town of Tuzla.

There, the princess spoke for 45 minutes with Franjo Kresic, a former soldier who lost both legs above the knees in a land mine blast during Bosnia's 1992-95 war. The meeting was closed to the press.

Kresic, who is 47 and married with two daughters, is completely blind in one eye and mostly blind in the other. He is regarded as a hero in Tuzla for his efforts to rebuild his life. With the help of municipal officials, he has been given a ground-floor apartment and opened a small business.

Diana emerged from his home, smiling and waving at neighborhood children who gathered to greet her.

Dodi and the princess

While her trip was meant to focus worldwide attention on the issue, at home it only seemed to put the spotlight on a minefield of a different sort -- her personal life.

Britain's tabloids only fleetingly mentioned her Bosnia visit, being more interested in reporting a new man in her life.

On the morning of her departure, British tabloids were full of speculation about Diana's friendship with divorced, polo-playing film producer Dodi Fayed, 41, and said the divorced princess had been seen entering his luxury London apartment for a dinner date.

The Daily Mail's front page headline read: "Diana -- it's a real romance," while The Sun said: "Romantic meal in new love's London flat -- then farewell kiss before Bosnia."

British newspapers

"Diana: I'm so in love," shouted the Mirror.

"The term 'playboy' may have been invented for him," said Evening Standard correspondent Gervasae Web. "He is the son of a very wealthy man."

Fayed's father, Mohammed, is an Egyptian tycoon who owns London's world famous Harrod's department store. The father is embroiled in a political scandal and has been turned down repeatedly in his bid for British citizenship.

"If I were the royal family I'd be pulling the remaining hair out by now," said Web. "From their point of view it is not the most suitable relationship." Diana's 15-year marriage to British royal heir Prince Charles ended in divorce last year.

Diana's anti-mine crusade

The 36-year-old princess was invited to Bosnia on a "private visit" by the Washington-based Land mine Survivors' Network to highlight the plight of land mine victims.

Diana was not expected to visit Serb-controlled territory, where anti-British feeling is running high following an operation by British special forces to arrest two Serbs wanted for war crimes. One of the suspects was shot dead during the arrest.

It is the second time she has visited a former war zone on her anti-mine campaign.

The first trip, to Angola in January, brought home to many around the world the terrible toll inflicted on civilians by the millions of anti-personnel mines left behind by war.

Bidding war for pictures

As the princess toured another war zone, Britain's tabloid newspapers were in a bloody battle of their own -- a high-priced tug of war over paparazzi photographs reportedly showing Diana and Fayed cavorting in the Italian Riviera.

Newspapers have already printed pictures of them on a boat enjoying a summer holiday.

The new pictures reportedly show the couple kissing.

Correspondent Siobhan Darrow and Reuters contributed to this report.


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