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THE WEEK AHEAD

PALE : Referendum in Bosnia

August 23, 1994

Undaunted by mounting pressure to end their siege of Bosnia, Serb nationalist rebels will vote in a referendum in Pale, outside Sarajevo, and other rebel-held territory in Bosnia-Herzegovina on Saturday and Sunday to underscore their leadership's rejection of an international peace plan.

A decisive popular vote against the proposal, which would split Bosnian territory between the rebel Bosnian Serbs and the Muslim-led government, seems certain. Serb leaders fear a war-crimes tribunal could be ordered once the conflict ends, so anti-settlement propaganda has been fierce.

The more nebulous question is where defiance will lead the Bosnian Serbs. Their obstinacy is undermining an alliance with Serbian leaders in the rump Yugoslavia and strengthening support for lifting an international arms embargo that has shackled the Bosnian government.

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