MOSTAR, Bosnia-Herzegovina — Muslims and Croats agreed Tuesday to jointly form a local government in the city of Mostar, averting a major crisis in the Bosnian peace process and paving the way for nationwide elections in September.
European Union mediators said the accord was based on the results of a June 30 local election that the Croats had refused to recognize. A Muslim-led coalition narrowly won that vote.
The deal was struck after three days of negotiations extending well beyond the EU's weekend deadline for agreement. The organization had threatened to scrap its reconstruction mission unless the Croats accepted the vote.
"Of course, there are still plenty of problems in the city, but I think a big step has been taken," Mijo Brajkovic, the Croatian mayor of the western part of Mostar, said.
Bosnian Muslims and Croats fought a bitter 10-month war in 1993-94 while the main Muslim-Serb conflict raged in Bosnia. Some of the worst fighting occurred in Mostar.
In Washington, State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns called the accord "a very, very positive agreement."