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U.N. warns truce may soon collapse

The momentum for peace built on the longest cease-fire in nearly two years is in danger because Western powers are unwilling to send more troops to Bosnia, U.N. commanders said Friday.

The U.N. has called for an additional 10,700 troops _ 4,000 for Sarajevo and the rest to monitor a cease-fire between Muslim-led government forces and Bosnian Croats elsewhere. That would nearly double the U.N. contingent in Bosnia. The plea appears to have fallen on deaf ears.

"Obviously, it's a disappointment," said the U.N. commander for Bosnia, Lt. Gen. Sir Michael Rose. The cease-fire "will start to crumble," he said. "There are people who are ready to go back to war."

Underscoring that, British U.N. troops at a base in central Bosnia came under attack Friday for the second day. Three mortar rounds crashed into a base; there were no casualties.

The Croatian news agency quoted the commander of the unit, Maj. Patrick Darling, as saying he would call in air strikes if the attacks on peacekeepers continue.

Soldiers have been pulled out of positions elsewhere in Bosnia to help enforce the Sarajevo cease-fire. But U.N. forces are being stretched thinner every day and no help is on the way.

Rose said: "All you need to have is one group opening fire for one reason or another and of course everyone starts to become extremely nervous."

The United States has refused to commit any ground troops without a political settlement.

In other developments Friday:

Bosnian Croat and Muslim-led government representatives began talks in Vienna on forming a confederation with ties to Croatia.

U.N. officials reported continued rapes, beatings and killings of non-Serbs in the Serb stronghold of Banja Luka.