September 16, 1995
Web posted at: 3:00 p.m. EDT
From Correspondent Christiane Amanpour
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (CNN) -- The Sarajevo airport may be open, but the city is still under siege almost two full days after the start of a 72-hour halt in NATO air strikes.
"Conceptually a siege is lifted when all people have access to all roads to all areas of the city," said U.N. spokesman Chris Gunness. "That is a pipe dream at the moment." (110K .aiff sound or 110K .wav sound)
Although the Bosnian Serbs have allowed the airport and two
roads to reopen, residents of Sarajevo can neither fly nor
drive out of Sarajevo. Transportation is reserved for relief
aid only, and that frustrates Sarajevans.
"If we can't go out and travel there's no sense in saying the city's open," says Omar, a barber. (26K .aiff sound or 26K .wav sound in Serbo-Croatian)
And there's no sense in getting too excited too soon, they say. Humanitarian aid doesn't include running water, gas or electricity. The Sarajevo laundry is located in the river, protected by a bridge and plastic barricades. And snipers aren't moving back their weapons.
Still, some things have changed. Rare fruit piles up at the market. Prices are plummeting -- it's a start. And some residents are optimistic.
"Now we are going to have long Indian summer and we are going to have long spring of freedom," one man said."
But just in case they have to spend a fourth winter under siege, everyone hopes that at least firewood will be cheaper.
While all eyes are on Sarajevo and on the peace negotiations, elsewhere in Bosnia diplomacy is being waged by force on the ground. Allied Bosnian and Croat forces are rapidly gaining land in the west -- insurance in case the Serbs don't want to leave the land they're meant to give up under the peace plan.
Serb forces appear to be putting up little resistance, and, as in Sarajevo, civilians pay the price. Tens of thousands of Bosnian Serbs are on the road again, seeking shelter and safety further from the guns.
Back in the capital, the culture crowd takes in an exhibition of war photos, praying that this is the last year theirs wins first prize.
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ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.