The Battle To Save Mostar

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MOSTAR: More than two years after the European Union assumed control of the city of Mostar, hoping to make it a model for the reintegration of Bosnia, Muslim and Croat leaders agreed today on a plan for governing the city, in spite of anything but model relations between the city's two largest populations. The two sides negotiated an end the Croatian boycott of the June 30 local elections that gave a Muslim-led coalition a majority of the city's council. The Muslims have agreed to a Croat mayor; Croatians have agreed to lift their boycott only after a constitutional rules on their challenge of the June elections. The catch is, the court doesn't exist yet. So the two sides have agreed to share power until the court can rule - within the next sixty days. TIME's Alexandra Stiglmayer in Sarajevo says the agreement may not lead to an effective government. "The Croats will boycott the city council in other ways. They simply do not want an undivided city." At least an agreement would buy a minimum of two months of valuable time. International mediators, determined to preserve the Dayton peace accords that ended years of war in Bosnia, fear that unless the Croats can be convinced to honor the Mostar election, a dangerous precedent would be set jeopardizing the integrity of Bosnia's September elections. Says Stiglmayer: "Mostar has a huge impact for the rest of the Muslim-Croat federation -->