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Bosnia, Croatia Play Down Problems with Federation
No Results Announced After Meeting of Prime Ministers
(Sarajevo, March 15—Reuters) The prime ministers of Bosnia and Croatia met in Sarajevo on Thursday and tried to play down disputes within Bosnia's Muslim-Croat federation. The federation, a crucial pillar of the Dayton peace agreement, has come under increasingly strains between the Croats and Muslims.

Croatian Prime Minister Zlatko Matesa and Bosnia's Muslim Prime Minister Hasan Muratovic emerged from several hours of talks apparently with no specific results. Matesa, who was accompanied by Foreign Minister Mate Granic, told a news conference that they had discussed economic and transport agreements as well as "excesses" in the federation.

"We agreed that if there is some problem in implementing these projects they are not such big problems that the federation could be put in danger," he said. The prime ministers said their countries were still negotiating an agreement on the use of the port of Ploce on Croatia's Adriatic coast.

Croatia, patron of the Bosnian Croats, has come under international pressure to throw its full weight behind the federation and to ensure compliance from Bosnian Croat politicians. Croats and Muslims, who began the Bosnian conflict as allies, fought a 10-month war before agreeing in 1994 to set up the federation. Under the Dayton pact, Bosnia forms a loose union comprised of the federation and a Serb entity. But the federation has never really got off the ground, with Croat and Muslim political parties unable to agree on power-sharing either at the local or national level.

The prime ministers said their talks covered disputes over Croat police uniforms in the Sarajevo suburb of Ilidza and the establishment of a city assembly for the Bosnian capital. A farcical disagreement over the color of police uniforms worn by federation police patrols in Sarajevo suburbs highlighted the poor state of relations between Muslims and Croats. Muslims rebuffed an attempt by nine Croat policemen to join a Muslim-Croat federation police patrol in Ilidza this week because they were wearing blue uniforms.

The Croats refuse to wear green uniforms used by Bosnian government police because they remind them of Islam. As a compromise the two sides have ordered dark grey uniforms, which have not yet arrived. Muratovic said Zagreb and Sarajevo had decided to form a joint commission to tackle the police dispute and other questions one by one. He said the police controversy was an "interruption" and he asked reporters "not to pour oil on the fire" by playing up divisions in the federation.

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