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International Community Welcomes Karadzic's Resignation

Belgrade, July 19 (RFE/RL) -- The international community has welcomed the news today that Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is stepping down from power.

NATO Secretary General Javier Solana said Karadzic's resignation from the Bosnian Serb Presidency and the leadership of the Serbian Democratic Party removes an important obstacle to holding elections in Bosnia in September.

But Solana said justice remains to be done and called for Karadzic, who is an indicted war criminal, to appear before the International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague.

Hans Van Den Broek, the European Union's commissioner for Balkan policy, said the situation would not be satisfactory until Karadzic and his military commander Ratko Mladic, also indicted for war crimes, appeared before the tribunal.

The German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel said Karadzic's resignation was an important step towards stability in Bosnia. But warned that Karadzic must not be allowed to rule indirectly.

France also welcomed the development as did Russia.

But Ejup Ganic, vice-president of the Muslim-Croat federation, said he expected Karadzic to continue ruling by what he called a parallel system of power. Ganic said Karadzic would continue to disrupt the peace process until he was completely removed.