1. Archive

EC ministers back to drawing board over Bosnia peace plan

Rival forces in Bosnia fought for territory Sunday as European Community ministers prepared to face failure and accept the republic's division into ethnic mini-states.

Fighting between Muslims, Croats and Serbs, oblivious of a truce their commanders had signed Tuesday, flared across a belt of central Bosnia. Still, the United Nations thought it safe to reopen Sarajevo airport to relief flights after a six-day closure.

But in a setback for the relief effort, Bosnian Serbs at the border with Serbia halted the first U.N. aid convoy for a month for the besieged Muslim enclave of Gorazde.

The convoy, which set out from Belgrade, was due to reach Gorazde today with 80 tons of food and medicine for about 70,000 trapped and starving Muslims.

Meanwhile Sunday, EC foreign ministers were meeting in Copenhagen on the eve of a summit and faced the grim reality that their policy for ending the war in Bosnia had failed.

EC mediator Lord Owen and U.N. envoy Cyrus Vance had drafted a plan to retain a single state in the former Yugoslav republic. The proposal collapsed last week when the leaders of Serbia and Croatia announced they would draw up plans to carve three ethnic states out of Bosnia.

Owen said efforts now have to focus on creating a mini-state for the Muslims within Bosnia and on ending conflict before winter.

U.N. peacekeepers balk at delivering Somali aid

MOGADISHU, Somalia _ Only a handful of U.N. peacekeepers showed up Sunday to escort food convoys to southern Mogadishu, slowing U.N. efforts to get its relief mission back on track.

Distribution to that part of the city has been suspended since a rebel ambush on June 5 left 24 Pakistani U.N. soldiers dead and 58 wounded.

The United Nations responded with an air and ground assault to cripple the militia of warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid, who has been accused of orchestrating the attacks. The U.N. has issued a warrant for the arrest of Aidid, who remained in hiding Sunday.

Eleven international aid agencies had hoped to deliver food to 17 of the 35 distribution sites around the city Sunday, including eight in the southern half.

They expected Pakistani troops to escort the convoys. But only a handful of officers showed up, saying they only had planned to scout the sites to ensure their troops safety.

Frustrated aid agencies said they would try again today.

Inkatha's Buthelezi,

ANC's Mandela to meet

CAPE TOWN, South Africa _ African National Congress President Nelson Mandela and Zulu chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi, leaders of warring black political factions in South Africa, agreed Sunday to their first one-on-one meeting in more than two years.

Anglican Bishop Michael Nuttal and Methodist church leader Stanley Mogoba said Buthelezi, leader of the conservative Inkatha Freedom Party, and Mandela would meet in the Johannesburg area Wednesday.

Fighting between ANC and Inkatha supporters in black townships have led to the deaths of many of the 9,000 people killed in political violence over the past three years of apartheid reform.

The meeting was brokered by Nobel Peace laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

The two men are likely to discuss violence, freedom for ANC members to recruit in Inkatha areas and Inkatha's demand for the disbanding of the ANC's armed wing, said an ANC official.

Azerbaijan rebel leader moves toward capital

BAKU, Azerbaijan _ Rebel leader Surat Huseynov's fighters closed in on the Azerbaijani capital on Sunday, and sent a delegation into Baku to negotiate with the government.

In another sign of Huseynov's increasing influence, the rebel leader assisted government troops fighting Armenian separatists near the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Since launching his rebellion two weeks ago, Huseynov has seized about half of the country and on Friday drove Abulfaz Elcibey, Azerbaijan's first democratically elected president, from the capital. Huseynov has demanded the resignations of Elcibey and the government.

Parliament chief and former Communist Party boss Geidar Aliev, who was left in charge of the government, said Huseynov wants a top post.

Aliev accused Huseynov of attempting a coup. But a spokesman for the rebel leader said he would only assume power peacefully.

Huseynov, 34, was demoted from colonel by Elcibey earlier this year in a dispute over the five-year war over Nagorno-Karabakh.

Azerbaijan has fought Armenian separatists from Nagorno-Karabakh, a mainly Armenian enclave in western Azerbaijan. Several thousand have died and tens of thousands have been left homeless. In past year, Armenians have advanced onto Azerbaijani territory outside Nagorno-Karabakh.