October 29, 1995
Web posted at: 6:20 p.m EST (2320 GMT)
From International Correspondent Christiane Amanpour
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (CNN) -- The United Nations hopes opening the main road into Sarajevo will help life return to normal in Bosnia. Sunday, civilian buses, escorted by peacekeepers, made the first trip out of Sarajevo through Serb territory in more than three years. Only a fearless few turned up for the test ride.
"I'm nervous. A little tense," said one young woman, Emina.
There were a dozen passengers and a dozen U.N. escort vehicles. Security was tight. Everyone was searched before boarding, and U.N. soldiers checked their strategy one last time before they left along the main road, straight through the Serb checkpoint.
The convoy barely attracted any attention as it wound through a Serb-held suburb of Sarajevo. Some of the passengers used to live there before the war. "It's not Serb territory. It's ours," Nasef said. "They just hold it."
"It was nice to see the children waving at us," Emina said.
Nasef observed that yes, some were waving, but others were swearing. "I could read their lips," he said.
Over the past few days, the United Nations has slowly been prying open the roads around Sarajevo. Mindful of the danger, the first drivers were given flak jackets. U.N. soldiers rode with them in the cabs. Under the cease-fire agreement, all sides promise to guarantee freedom of movement. But there still are risks.
The slow approach to opening roads in and out of Sarajevo, closed for 42 months, is aimed at building confidence. The United Nations wants as much movement as possible in order to create a good atmosphere before peace talks between Bosnians Serbs and Croats begin in the United States next week.
But wide differences remain between Bosnians and Serbs, and between Croats and Serbs. Croats are voting in parliamentary elections that are widely seen as giving a stamp of approval to Croatia's nationalist policies and recent military victories against separatist Serbs. Meanwhile, talks aimed at preventing Croatia from retaking more of its Serb-held territory have stalled.
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