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Bosnia: Serb President Detained At Belgrade Airport

Belgrade, 30 June 1997 (RFE/RL) - Yugoslavia's independent news agency Beta reports today that Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic was briefly detained at Belgrade airport last night.

Plavsic was questioned by Serbian authorities before being driven to Bosnia's Serb-held border. She was then handed over to Bosnian Serb police, who reportedly held her overnight near the town of Bijeljina. They then allowed her to continue on to Banja Luka this morning.

Plavsic yesterday returned early from an official visit to London to reconcile a rift in the Bosnian Serb government. The rift emerged Saturday when Plavsic attempted to suspend Interior Minister Dragan Kijac for allegedly "usurping her powers." The dismissal was labeled "anti-constitutional and illegal" by the government.

The rift highlights a power struggle between Plavsic and supporters of Radovan Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb leader and war crimes suspect who reportedly controls the Bosnian Serb police. Plavsic, a former hardliner, has recently taken a more moderate line and has encouraged cooperation with international officials.