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New Forum to Bolster Muslim-Croat Federation
'An American Approach' to Insure Federation
(ZAGREB, April 2—Reuters) A U.S. diplomat said on Tuesday a new forum would boost the shaky Muslim-Croat federation in Bosnia and improve contacts between the two sides. Assistant Secretary of State John Kornblum told reporters: "(The Forum) is going to be an American approach which seeks to focus both our efforts and our resources on making sure that the federation is a success."

He did not elaborate on the details of the new body or the range of its authority, but said the basic idea was to promote contacts and cooperation between the two sides on the levels lower than the top one. Agreements between political leaders of the federation have frequently been ignored farther down the chain of authority and have undermined its credibility.

Muslim and Croat leaders made an agreement under international pressure last Sunday which if implemented would make the Federation a functioning government for the first time. Mediator Michael Steiner said the deal differed from its many predecessors because it contains sanctions against those who refuse to cooperate.

Kornblum, who was in Zagreb on his way to Sarajevo, told reporters: "We think good progress has been made in discussions with Mr Steiner and the fedearation leaders in the past few days. The document they have agreed is a very good step forward."

"But, from the American point of view... our goal is to work not just with the leaders and not just through agreements, but also with local leaders and the people who live in various parts of the Federation to make sure that it is a success." Croats and Muslims formed a tactical alliance under the pressure from the United States in March 1994.

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