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Negotiators try to revive Dayton peace accord

February 18, 1996
Web posted at: 8:45 a.m EST (1345 GMT)

ROME (CNN) -- Balkan leaders, international negotiators and NATO generals resumed an emergency summit Sunday that aims to re-energize the Dayton peace accord.

U.S. negotiator Richard Holbrooke, who brokered the accord, said top NATO generals would be at Sunday's talks to reinforce alliance commitment to the peace accord.

Diplomatic sources say a one-and-a-half page document could be adopted by the end of the summit, expected to conclude Sunday with a news conference chaired by Holbrooke; Carl Bildt, the international community's high representative; and Italian Foreign Minister Susanna Agnelli.

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Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic planned a mid-morning courtesy call on the Italian president before leaving. They will not attend the final news conference.

Holbrooke said, contrary to some press reports, the talks produced nothing concrete Saturday.

"I know there have been a lot of press reports that we agreed on something last night or that we broke down. Neither is true," he said.

Holbrooke described the summit as "intense," but without an agreement at this point.

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"We are in the middle of an intense negotiation. We're trying very hard," Holbrooke said. "One thing that is clear is that everyone is committed in principle to making Dayton work, but the actual specifics are still under very intense discussion."

The weekend summit was hastily arranged by Holbrooke in the hope that the same high-pressure tactics used to hammer out the accord can help revive it. It is the first major international conference on Bosnia since the peace pact was signed in December.

On Saturday, negotiators met for 6.5 hours. A senior official with the Serbian delegation said the Bosnian government's takeover of Serb-controlled parts of Sarajevo were a key topic on Saturday.

Bosnia is insisting that its police be allowed into parts of Sarajevo, technically under Bosnian rule but still occupied by Serbs, by February 22, a month before the date set by Bildt, the official said.

Holbrooke was exerting pressure on the Serbs to accept the government demand and the Serbs were resisting, he said.


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Reuters news service contributed to this report.

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