Yugoslav factions head to new peace talks
Bosnia's rival factions began leaving for London yesterday for a new round of peace talks after a night of fighting in Sarajevo and other regions. Meanwhile, trainloads of refugees fleeing the carnage in Bosnia-Herzegovina arrived in Germany.
No casualty figures were available yesterday after rebel Serbs and Muslims and Croats exchanged artillery and small arms fire in several sectors of the Bosnian capital, as well as the republic's east and north. Hardest hit in Sarajevo appeared to be Dobrinja. Serbs pounded the suburb near the airport in "one of their worst artillery attacks" ever, said Bosnia's Muslim-controlled BH news agency.
The Yugoslav news agency Tanjug also reported that a Serbian delegation left for London for talks chaired by European Community special envoy Lord Carrington. The talks, expected to include Serbian, Muslim, and Croat delegations, are to start today.
Previous rounds have achieved little progress in ending the war that began after Bosnia's Muslims and Croats voted on Feb. 29 for independence from Serb-dominated Yugoslavia. Italy sends troops to Sicily to fight Mafia
Italy airlifted troops to Sicily yesterday to fight the Mafia, but the government assured Italians the move was not a prelude to the militarization of the southern island.
"This is not a militarization of Sicily. The job of public order is not being taken over by the military," Prime Minister Giulio Amato said.
Mr. Amato's Cabinet, galvanized by the car bomb killing of top anti-Mafia judge Paolo Borsellino, mobilized 7,000 troops on Saturday to go to Sicily in the biggest use of the armed forces against organized crime there in 40 years.
The decision was made six days after Borsellino and his five escorts were killed in Palermo and two months after the Mafia killed Giovanni Falcone, another leading judge.
The first troops flew in from mainland bases on Saturday night. All 7,000 - about half from crack paratroop and mechanized brigades - were expected to be in place by Thursday. Some 3,000 could stay indefinitely. The others would rotate for periods of 40 days, Defense Minister Salvo Ando said.
The soldiers will help to defend strategic places which might be subject to Mafia attacks, such as airports, roads, courts and railway stations. They will search for hidden weapons and Mafiosi at large and will have the power to make arrests. Greece to ratify Maastricht Treaty this week
The Greek Parliament looks set to ratify the Maastricht Treaty this week.
The government is taking no chances and has showered the public with ads exalting the treaty as "Greece's chance in Europe."
Unlike the Danes who rejected the agreement for closer economic and political union in a referendum, the European Community's poorest member can't wait to endorse it.
Most major political parties vowed to ratify the treaty, which will be discussed in the 300-seat Parliament for five days beginning today. Only the Greek Communist Party said its seven deputies would oppose ratification.
The late-night Friday vote could produce the biggest majority in the recent history of the Greek Parliament. Albania holds local elections
Albanians went to the polls yesterday in the first local elections since the anti-communist Democrats swept to power in national elections in March.
The mood in the capital, Tirana, was quiet despite a heated pre-election campaign in which the major forces were the Democratic Party, which is the biggest anti-communist force, and the Socialist Party, the renamed communists.
The polls are the first test of public opinion in the tiny Balkan state since the March elections, when the Democrats won 92 out of 140 parliamentary seats.
The Democrats have expressed confidence they will win while the Socialists have said they aim to take half of the vote.
"The elections mark a very important date in the history of democracy in Albania. They will create the possibility for almost fully democratic government," Sali Berisha, Albania's first democratically elected president, told reporters after casting his vote.