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THE WEEK AHEAD

SARAJEVO : Crumbling Yugoslavia

February 25, 1992

More than a test of support for independence, a referendum in Bosnia-Herzegovina on Saturday and Sunday will gauge the commitment to peace of the Yugoslav republic's three ethnic groups.

With Bosnian Muslims, who account for 44% of the population, and Croats, making up 18%, already declaring support for independence, it's seen as a foregone conclusion that most will back an appeal to the European Community for diplomatic recognition.

But hard-liners of the Serbian community--about 31% of the republic's 4.5 million citizens--have threatened an uprising if severed from the Yugoslav alliance uniting them with Serbia. The weekend vote will show whether they value union with Belgrade enough to risk war.

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