GENEVA -- The presidents of Bosnia-Herzegovina and of the truncated Yugoslavia met face to face yesterday for the first time since the Balkan crisis erupted and promised to reverse ethnic expulsions and punish war criminals.
They pledged to intensify efforts to end fighting in the Bosnian republic, and they urged all parties to the conflict to speed delivery of relief supplies to people in the beleaguered capital, Sarajevo, and to other needy areas.
A statement issued by Dobrica Cosic, the largely titular president of a Yugoslavia that now consists only of Serbia and Montenegro, and by President Alija Izetbegovic of Bosnia-Herzegovina, was agreed to after six hours of negotiations at United Nations headquarters in Geneva with Cyrus R. Vance, the world organization's mediator, and Lord Owen of Britain, who represents the European Community.
The two Balkan leaders called for an urgent end to the Sarajevo blockade and for the city's demilitarization.
To achieve this, they agreed to use the Mixed Military Working Group created by the United Nations, which brings together commanders of opposing factions.
Their statement reaffirmed commitments made at an August conference in London, where the Balkan adversaries pledged to work for peace and not to alter boundaries by force.
Since then, however, fighting has continued around Sarajevo and in other parts of Bosnia, and more people have been forced from their homes because they belonged to the wrong ethnic group or practiced the wrong religion.
Still, diplomats expressed satisfaction with last night's outcome, saying it reflected a growing commitment to a settlement and showed that both leaders were under increased domestic pressure to reach an accord as hardship mounts and winter approaches.