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Peace Lands in Bosnia, Just Ahead of 60,000 Troops

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PEOPLE on the Serb-held side of Sarajevo first started noticing the tram a few months ago. Just across the front line they saw the traditional orange cars of Sarajevo's streetcar system working again, but one of the cars was painted bright yellow.

The yellow car, Serbs say, is the only one they will be allowed to ride in when all of the city is turned over to the Muslim-led Bosnian government. It's unclear how the rumor started, but it spread to the point where local Serbs began asking Western correspondents who live here if it is true.

With 20,000 American troops on their way to Bosnia after the signing of the US-brokered peace accord in Paris yesterday, the biggest impediment to peace appears to be rumors and innuendo. The weeks that have passed since the agreement was initialed have produced little of the intransigence and backtracking that observers feared.

Peace, for the short term at least, has enveloped the majority of Bosnia's population.

In an apparent protest of the peace signing yesterday, four shells were fired into the capital. But UN officials say fears of defiant Serbs in Sarajevo reigniting the fighting here, or of Bosnian Serb terrorist cells springing up, appear overblown. Sarajevo residents are cautiously optimistic that the war is over for now. UN officials predict the peace will hold here for at least the next year because three ethnically pure states have been formed, and all the sides are exhausted.

The failure of efforts by Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and Gen. Ratko Mladic to scuttle the peace deal, along with their release of two French pilots this week, indicates that Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic is in control in Bosnian Serb territory. Mr. Milosevic, who is eager to end the war and revitalize Serbia's devastated economy and international image, seems unwilling to tolerate any attempts by Serbs to hold on to the Serb-held land around Sarajevo and in Eastern Slavonia, which he gave away to Croatia in Dayton, Ohio.


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