Bosnian peace talks yield little progress

The Associated Press

DAYTON, Ohio Going all-out for a settlement of the Bosnia war, Secretary of State Warren Christopher ran up against hard stands on territory and the future of Sarajevo yesterday as he held daylong talks with Balkan leaders.

A comprehensive accord did not appear imminent, but the Clinton administration remained unwilling to suspend the talks with a partial settlement.

''We do not anticipate a resolution of all the major issues today,'' State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said. ''Our negotiating team is certainly willing to work with these parties for the next few days or perhaps into next week.''

In ruling out a partial accord, U.S. negotiators are determined to settle tough issues of territory, separation of forces, an election and a new Bosnian constitution.

''We are not looking to tie up a few loose ends and leave town a day or two from now,'' Burns said. ''We are not looking to have some kind of bare-bones agreement where you fill in the important details later or answer all the difficult questions later.''

As night fell and Christopher trudged on with his mediating, Burns told reporters: ''There are number of very important differences that remain on the major differences. I don't think they will be overcome today.''

''There has been no closure on any of the issues since we arrived this morning,'' he said. ''I won't even term it progress.''

The White House, meanwhile, released a nine-page letter from President Clinton to House Speaker Newt Gingrich defending his plan to send U.S. troops to Bosnia to help enforce a settlement.

''There will be no peace without America's engagement,'' Clinton wrote. ''If we turn our backs on this responsibility, the damage to America's ability to lead, not just in NATO but in pursuit around the world of our interests in peace and prosperity, would be profound.''

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