Associated Press

August 18, 1994

LES COMBES, Italy (AP) -- Pope John Paul II hopes to go to Sarajevo on Sept. 8, but Thursday his spokesman said the decision to travel to the besieged Bosian capital will not be made until the day before.

"If 24 hours before, the situation changes for the worse, we can't go," Joaquin Navarro told RAI state television in Les Combes, a small Alpine town where the pope arrived Wednesday for his annual summer mountain holiday. He said the pope's schedule for the visit had been worked out, but did not give details.

The Vatican said earlier this month that the pope would make his first visit to the former Yugoslavia in September, stopping in Croatia and possibly in Sarajevo.

The Milan newspaper Corriere della Sera reported Thursday that the pope plans to pray in Sarajevo's cathedral and say Mass in the sports stadium now surrounded by graves of war victims.

John Paul indicated the decision to fly to Sarajevo would not be his.

The one-day trip is "in the hands of God," the pope said upon his arrival in the mountains. On Wednesday, Navarro announced that Sept. 8 had been fixed as the date for a "possible" visit to Sarajevo.

He also confirmed that the pope would visit Zagreb, Croatia's capital, on Sept. 10-11, to mark a local church anniversary.