CNN Balkan Conflict News

Rebuilding efforts in Bosnia on hold

Peace must come first, officials say

September 23, 1995
Web posted at: 11:45 p.m. EDT

From International Correspondent Jackie Shymanski

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina -- It's going to take billions of dollars to put Sarajevo and Bosnia-Herzegovina back together again. Donor countries have announced their intention to foot some of the bill should there be a peace settlement.

"When peace comes, that's when the reconstruction starts," said Brian Atwood of USAID. "It's essential the reconstruction be well planned and that we're ready on day number one."

That day may be months away. For now, attempts to repair three-and-a-half years of war are tentative.

Before the rebuilding can start in earnest, there has to be a lasting peace settlement. Negotiations are set to resume next week. Like the massive repair job here, making peace is going to be hard work.

Getting the fighting to stop is proving difficult. Bosnian government troops continue their offensive in the north. There's not much talk of a cease-fire.

"So long as there is no peace, there's a war," said Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Siljadzic.

Sarajevo Peace talks are likely to be tough, too. Perhaps the toughest negotiations will be over the Bosnian capital. The Bosnian government insists it should stay whole, but Bosnian Serbs control several suburbs.

"We think the greatest problem is Sarajevo, which is not in the Contact Group plan at all," said Bosnian government minister Hassan Muratovic. "They did not define it other than two percent for us, one percent for the Serbs. There's no map."

The only defining lines for Sarajevo are the front lines. Carving out a peaceful co-existence here will be toughest of all.

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