August 27, 1995
KNIN, Croatia (CNN) -- Empowered by its recent successes, Croatia's president said the nation may hold back its troops for up to four months while U.S. diplomats attempt to get the Serbs to accept a peace settlement.
Croatian Foreign Minister Mate Granic said the recent Croat buildup around the port city of Dubrovnik was merely a show of force, intended to keep Serb forces in their place. "We wanted to show strength, not go further," he said. "The balance of power has changed, and we have a much better chance of a final, fair settlement now."
Granic's statement referred to the successful Croat sweep of the Krajina region, formerly held by rebel Serbs. During a tour of the region, Croatian President Franjo Tudjman told foreign journalists that his country will allow the United States' initiative three or four months before it conducts further campaigns against the Serbs.
Granic outlined the U.S. initiative, saying it includes the mutual recognition of Yugoslavia and the seceded republics, Croatia and Bosnia. It also encompasses a plan for the peaceful reintegration of Eastern Slavonia, currently held by Serbs. Furthermore, the U.S. initiative would call for an even division of Bosnia, with land swaps to create more defensible borders. The land division has been accepted by the Muslims and Croats, but not by the Serbs.
Granic said he hoped the Serbs would recognize the danger of a war in Eastern Slavonia, which could be the next area of violent activity. "We don't plan any action now in Eastern Slavonia or above Dubrovnik," he said. "We will make every effort for a peaceful solution since there would be many victims in a new war."
On Monday, U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke will meet Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic in Paris for talks on the peace proposals. Izetbegovic, who has his own 12-point peace plan, says any settlement must maintain Bosnia's sovereignty, even though Serbs possess 70 percent of the country.
Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic has alternately said that he wanted 64 percent or 57 percent of Bosnia. Izetbegovic has been holding out for 49 percent, a number originally put forth in the 1994 "Contact Group" peace plan from the United States, Russia, Germany, Britain and France. Meanwhile, Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic hesitates to recognize the Bosnian government in its current incarnation.
Many analysts believe that Bosnian Serbs will cling to their possessions, and even Holbrooke said the chances for a resolution are slim at this point. "In Bosnia, the worst- case scenario usually takes place," he said on ABC's "Good Morning America."
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