September 12, 1995
Web posted at: 5:30 p.m. EDT (2130 GMT)
From Correspondent Christiane Amanpour
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (CNN) -- The sky over Bosnia still is crossed by NATO war planes as they continue to bomb Serb positions. Far below, in the Sarajevo streets, citizens voice doubts about an unknown: the future of their country.
The latest NATO targets are ammunition depots north of Sarajevo. Allies hope the attacks will force Bosnian Serbs to withdraw heavy weapons from around the city. Meanwhile, Russia continues its condemnation of the raids, claiming innocent civilians are being killed.
A number of the NATO bombing missions have been flown from the aircraft carrier USS Roosevelt. That ship will leave the Adriatic Wednesday, its mission taken over by the carrier USS America. See related story.
Bosnia and the city of Sarajevo are seeing benefits from the NATO bombing. However, many Sarajevans find a new peace proposal difficult to accept.
At the opening of Bennetton in Bosnia, people try out the store's "United Colors" and ponder the future of their disunited country. Rafet Hadzic used to be a military commander. Today he's a personnel manager. "We are very tired of war," said Hadzic. "We just want peace, to work, to live with our families, to travel."
NATO bombs falling on Serb targets a few kilometers away have already brought benefits to Sarajevo. The shelling has subsided, streets are packed and stores are stacked with cheaper goods, but these benefits arrive at a high price -- the bombing has come late.
The Bosnian president told his people the world still doesn't want to help them on the battlefield, rather at the peace table. So, he explained, he accepted a bitter compromise in order to end the war.
Government officials are trying to put a brave face on a U.S. initiative which maintains Bosnia's pre-war borders but contains two parts, one for the Bosnian Croat federation, another for the Serbs.
Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic said the plan rewards Serb aggression, "but what else can we do?" he wondered. "I think what is unacceptable is to spend 10- to 20,000 young lives to be in the same position this time next year."
In a Sarajevo cemetery, as they tend to those who have already died in three and a half years of war, many wonder why they fought so long. Bosnian historian Mustafa Imamovic believes the current initiative is neither fair nor just, but "all sides are tired of this war."
"I think this deal will just be a break until the final outcome, because diplomacy now is simply registering facts on the ground," said Imamovic. He argued that NATO isn't fighting for any side in Bosnia. just saving its own face.
"All it might help the Bosnian government get is the best deal it can get," he reflected. "Forced to take the best."
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