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Bildt Says He'll Work With Newly Appointed Bosnian Serb Hardliners


Belgrade, May 20 (RFE/RL) -- Carl Bildt, the top international civilian official in Bosnia, reportedly has agreed to work with newly-appointed Bosnian Serb hardliners toward implementing the Bosnia peace accords. Bildt's spokesman, Colum Murphy, said today that Bildt has secured a promise that Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic would no longer "interfere" in the peace process. Meanwhile, Bosnian Serb Vice President Biljana Plavsic told RFE/RL that Karagzic would not resign. Plavsic, also a hardliner, said that Karadzic had simply transferred some of his duties over to her. In particular, Plavsic would meet with the international community about implementing the peace accords. Bildt and other international officials refuse to deal with Karadzic because he has been indicted by the International War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague. Bosnian Serb television quoted Bosnian Serb parliamentary speaker Momcilo Krajisnik as saying that "insinuations" about Karadzic stepping down from office were "unfounded." Reports of Karadzic's political demise surfaced after Bildt expressed optimism yesterday that Karadzic was on the way out of power. But Bildt also cautioned he had no commitment in writing and said "the details will be played out in the next few days."

Bildt later said that it wasn't relevant which Bosnian Serb personalities were in charge. He said the important issue was the policy line being pursued.

Meanwhile in Sarajevo today the vice-president of the self-declared Bosnian Serb Republic is categorically denying Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is resigning as the republic's president. Biljana Plavsic said Karadzic had simply transferred some of his duties to deal with the international community over to him (Plavsic) and nothing more. Plavsic is also a hardliner. International officials implementing the Bosnia peace accord refuse to deal with Karadzic because he is an indicted war criminal. Bosnian Serb television also quoted Momcilo Krajisnik, the Bosnian Serbs' parliament speaker, saying that "insinuations" that Karadzic was stepping down from office were "unfounded." The reports surfaced after the senior official in charge of implementing civilian aspects of the Dayton peace accord, Carl Bildt, expressed optimism yesterday that one way or the other, Karadzic was on the way out of power. But Bildt also cautioned he had no commitment in writing and said "the details will be played out in the next few days." He later said it wasn't relevant which Bosnian Serb personalities were in charge, the important issue was the policy line being pursued.

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