Bosnia mine victims ask Diana to bring world ban

By Caroline Smith

TUZLA, Bosnia, Aug 8 (Reuters) - Landmine victims in Bosnia appealed to Britain's Princess Diana on Friday to help rid the world of mines and said after having dinner with her that they hoped she would spread their message.

Diana met 20 Bosnian mine victims and their families over dinner in the northeast town of Tuzla after a private meeting with Franjo Kresic, a former soldier who lost his leg in a mine blast during the country's 1992-95 war.

"What I saw today was her soul," Kresic told reporters after the meal. "Even if you cannot see very clearly you can very distinctively feel what is underneath. There are very few people in the world who have what she has."

Kresic lost his sight and both legs after an anti-tank mine exploded on Majevica mountain near Tuzla. He can now see after 14 operations and a double eye transplant from Britain.

"I am impressed by the Princess...I hope that her respect and her influence will result in a contribution that will lead to a decision on a final prohibition and destruction of all types of mines," he said.

Looking tanned and fit in a pale blue shirt, blue blazer, cropped jeans and flat suede pumps, Diana beamed as she came out of the hotel, climbed quickly into her car and drove off.

Her trip came at a time when speculation about her love life hit new heights with London tabloids splashing photos of her with film producer Dodi Fayed, son of Egyptian tycoon Mohammed Al-Fayed, who owns London's luxury department store Harrods.

Mostar women break down taboos to rebuild peace

By Caroline Smith

MOSTAR, Bosnia, March 8 (Reuters) - Three determined women in ethnically-divided Mostar are testing the truth of the old cliché that if women ruled the world it would be a better place.

Old friends Zelja, Jelena and Devleta were reunited after nearly four years of war in Bosnia and have committed themselves to try to reconcile the people of a town riven by ethnic hatred.

Zelja is a Croat, Jelena a Serb and Devleta is Moslem.

Sitting in a newly-refurbished meeting house and café in East Mostar they prepared for a weekly meeting of the Mostar Women's Initiative, which has succeeded in bringing together women of all ethnic communities aged from 18 to 80. Here they are slowly rebuilding friendships shattered twice over during the war - first when Serbs captured the town and later when the former Moslem and Croat allies turned on each other in a bitter battle that divided it in two in 1993-94.

The eastern part of Mostar, which was home to most of the town's Moslem population, was flattened by bombardment from Croats in the west.

The ancient, arching Turkish bridge which once spanned the beautiful Neretva river lies in pieces on the river bed, finally falling after months of bombardment, its gaping absence now a symbol of Mostar's division.

But pride in the town seems to mean more to some people than whether they worship in a mosque or a church.

Reuters : RNID : :