Bosnian and Croatian leaders began talks here Saturday. Secretary of State Warren Christopher told them they have "a very special moment" to achieve peace.
U.S. officials said the two sides, hoping to lay the foundation of a Bosnian confederation that eventu-ally will include all the warring factions, were serious and "ready to engage." But the officials also said that the divisions are wide and that impasses can be expected "as they try to structure something meaningful."
Christopher noted that a NATO ultimatum and threatened air strikes led Bosnia's Serbs to turn over to U.N. control much of the heavy artillery that had been used to shell Sarajevo in 22 months of war.
Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic said, "There is a good will and a desire on both sides to make progress." The talks continue today.
Russia told to curb inflation
KRONBERG, Germany _ Finance officials of the seven most powerful industrial nations agreed Saturday that economic aid to Russia could continue as soon as it began credible measures to control inflation and budget deficits, but that Moscow still had much to do.
"We urged them to strengthen their efforts to bring inflation under control," Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen said. "We told the Russians that a strong stabilization program is needed to trigger more support from the International Monetary Fund."
Finance Minister Theo Waigel of Germany said the Western countries had agreed to work with the Russian authorities on measures to help the population cope with the consequences of economic change _ unemployment from bankrupt state industries as they are sold or closed, for instance.
But he added that the Russians would have to come up with most of the money themselves.
Two senior Russian officials, Finance Minister Sergei Dubinin and Economics Minister Alexander Shokhin, said they had pledged to bring monthly inflation down from 22 percent to 7 to 9 percent by the end of this year.
Sinn Fein faults British plan
TALLAGHT, Ireland _ Sinn Fein said Saturday it can't accept the Anglo-Irish peace initiative because it demands an IRA surrender before negotiations on Northern Ireland.
Although the IRA's political partner emphasized that the declaration's terms for talks were unacceptable, the party's leader, Gerry Adams, predictably stopped short of wholesale rejection.
The comments dimmed hopes that Sinn Fein would embrace the Dec. 15 declaration by British Prime Minister John Major and Irish leader Albert Reynolds. The pact offers Sinn Fein a gradual role in peace talks if the outlawed Irish Republican Army first calls off its 24-year campaign against British rule.
"As long as Britain remains committed to a part of Ireland, republicans will remain committed to the IRA. There's no getting round this fact, and for the IRA to surrender isn't a solution," said Pat McGeown, a senior Sinn Fein member. "The only way forward is at a negotiating table."
Big MIA search gets started
HANOI, Vietnam _ More than 100 Americans moved into the field Saturday by truck, helicopter and even boat in search of the remains of Americans missing in action.
It was the first such operation since the U.S. trade embargo on Vietnam was lifted Feb. 3 and the biggest since the end of the Vietnam War, covering half of the country's 50 provinces, north and south.
The Americans and their Vietnamese counterparts will investigate as many as 69 cases and excavate up to 18 sites where Americans are believed to be buried or to have been lost in aircraft crashes.