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Bosnia: Bildt Urges EU Not to Concede On Mostar Elections


Sarajevo, August 5 (RFE/RL) -- The European Union must not back down on its insistence that Bosnian Croats accept the outcome of municipal election results in Mostar in Bosnia-Herzegovina and form a government with rival Muslims, international mediator Carl Bildt says.

Bildt, the international community's high representative to Bosnia, told Reuters in Sarajevo today that "we don't want to give in to blackmail on the issue of Mostar."

It is important not to make any concessions on the issue because that "would have very negative consequences for the September (national) elections," he said.

Bosnian Croats and the EU are meeting today to try to find a last-minute solution to the crisis. The EU has said it will end its two-year administration of Mostar if the Bosnian Croats failed to take part in a new, elected administration with Muslims. Election results in June gave Muslims a narrow majority of seats on the city council.

The EU in Brussels postponed a final decision on whether to withdraw from Mostar until Monday evening.

"I would not want to be in the extension of deadlines business. We need to be firm on this issue," said Bildt.

Meanwhile, NATO spokesman Major Brett Boudreau in Sarajevo said that NATO combat troops had stepped up inspections of army barracks on Muslim and Croat sides of the line around Mostar and were monitoring training activities in the region.

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