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Wednesday, November 19, 1997 Published at 12:33 GMT

Despatches: Europe
BBC Despatches
From Sarajevo

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata is meeting the Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic in the town of Banja Luka. It's the beginning of a three-day visit to Bosnia for Mrs Ogata. She flies on to Sarajevo on Wednesday afternoon for high level meetings with officials of the Muslim Croat Federation. Mrs Ogata will also be looking at examples of the UNHCR's minority return programme in which people displaced by the war are to be re-housed in their original villages. Fergus Nichol reports from Sarajevo.

"Mrs Ogata will be using this meeting with Biljana Plavsic to convey the UNHCR's view that the Bosnian Serb authorities need to do more to get the minority return programme running effectively. Some 37,000 refugees and displaced people have returned to their original homes across Bosnia Hercegovina but that figure applies overwhelmingly to people going back to areas controlled by their own ethnic groups and of that 37,000 only around 2000 have gone back to Bosnian Serb territory. The UNHCR is now pushing hard -- with American support -- for more minority returns, bringing the tens of thousands still displaced back to areas administered in many cases by their former enemies. But profound communal mistrust remains in both halves of Bosnia Hercegovina and international mediators are having to resort increasingly to financial incentives to encourage a warmer reception for returning displaced minorities."

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