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Bosnia: Contact Group Concerned About Serb Political Crisis

Bonn, 3 July 1997 (RFE/RL) -- The five-nation Contact Group on the former Yugoslavia today expressed "serious concern" about a political crisis in the Bosnian Serb entity.

In a statement, the Contact Group said the crisis has direct effects on implemention of the Dayton peace accord and the prospects for democracy throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina. The statement also calls for the extradition of indicted war crimes suspect and former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic. Members of the Contact Group include the United States, Russia, Britain, France and Germany.

The statement comes as Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic battles pro-Karadzic hardliners based in Pale for political control. Plavsic has said that she would, if necessary, dismiss Prime Minister Gojko Klickovic and Interior Minister Dragan Kijac to enforce her rule as president. She has also accused Karadzic of being involved in wartime smuggling.

Commanders of the Bosnian Serb army last night issued a statement saying they will respect Plavsic's authority as commander-in-chief. But correspondents say those loyal to Karadzic are prepared to launch a vote in the Bosnian Serb parliament tomorrow to remove Plavsic. And observers say police forces in Republika Srpska are believed still loyal to Karadzic.