October 22, 1995
Web posted at: 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT)
GORAZDE, Bosnia-Herzegovina (CNN) -- The city of Gorazde, after the fall of Srebrenica and Zepa, became the last Muslim enclave in eastern Bosnia. Under the cease-fire agreement signed 10 days ago, one road from Sarajevo should be open to civilian and UNPROFOR traffic. But pieces of paper don't reflect reality, and the city remains largely isolated.
To make the journey through Serb territory into Gorazde, located just 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Sarajevo, journalists and aid workers must travel under the protection of the United Nations. U.N. convoys from Sarajevo on Sunday were halted at four checkpoints along the way. At the final stop, French U.N. soldiers were forced to remove a sniper barricade and Serb mines. They carefully replaced the mines after the convoy traveled through.
Civilian traffic still has not been able to proceed along the roads from the Bosnia capital of Sarajevo to Gorazde, Kiseljak and the coast. Some speculate that the holdup in meeting the conditions of the cease-fire agreement will stall peace talks scheduled to begin in Ohio on October 31.
However, Bosnian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mirza Hajric told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Sunday that the talks are expected to take place as planned. According to Hajric, the Bosnian government has been assured that the United Nations will offer to escort civilian traffic to Gorazde before the Ohio meeting, and the United Nations affirmed it would escort the traffic given adequately safe conditions. While the Bosnian government said talks could be delayed if the roads are not opened, it said officials are working through diplomatic channels and expect the issue to be resolved in time.
Conditions in Gorazde remain harsh, bearing the scars of four years of bitter struggle. The city has remained virtually isolated during this time, and arriving foreigners, now a curiosity, attract large crowds.
More than 57,000 people inhabit the beleaguered town, many of them refugees from surrounding villages (740K QuickTime movie). All the houses near the front line have been shelled. In many destroyed buildings, numerous families must seek shelter together.
One woman explained that only one little room in her house remains intact after the shellings by Bosnian Serbs. Even worse, she lost her husband, her son and daughter-in-law to the war. Now she tends to seven orphans (550K QuickTime movie).
Gorazde's people have a strong will to survive, a fortitude demonstrated by the small, home-made electricity generators floating on the river. One man said the generators need constant repair. They provide about 400 watts of electricity, enough to provide light and to allow people to sometimes watch videos. Food is scarce and malnutrition common in the city.
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