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Bosnia: NATO Forces Take Police Station; Elections To Proceed

Banja Luka, Bosnia-Herzegovina; 27 August 1997 (RFE/RL) - Danish troops of the NATO-led Stabilization Force in Bosnia took over a police station today from Bosnian Serb police loyal to war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic. And a spokesman for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) says postponing Bosnia's local elections next month is out of the question.

The takeover of the police station in Doboj in north central Bosnia occurred shortly before a senior police official loyal to Karadzic opponent Bosnian President Biljana Plavsic was due to arrive.

Doboj is the site of a television transmitter sought by Plavsic in her campaign to halt broadcasts denouncing her policies.

Pro-Plavsic television technicians and journalists in Banja Luka ceased rebroadcasting news from Pale on Sunday and began their own broadcasts.

Karadzic supporters term the move treason.

UN officials say police in three key northwest towns, Banja Luka, Prijedor and Mrkonjic Grad, are loyal to Plavsic.

Bosnian Serb hardliners meeting in Pale yesterday said municipal elections scheduled for next month should be postponed.

They said the "military and security conditions" for holding the ballot scheduled for September 13 and 14 are not in place.

The OSCE is organizing the elections. Its spokesman in Sarajevo, Johan Verheyden, said today the decisions taken in Pale have no validity.

Last month embattled Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic dissolved the parliament and called for early parliamentary elections.

The hardliners say the elections threatens to split the Bosnian Serb entity in two.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the NATO-led Stabilization Force in Sarajevo said today SFOR is considering a request for landing approval at a Bosnian Serb airport for Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic this week.

Yesterday, defiant deputies of the hardliner-dominated Bosnian Serb parliament met in Pale and issued a bundle of directives aimed at undermining the authority of President Plavsic.

The parliament's actions included stripping Plavsic of exclusive authority over the army; ordering the government, police and security forces to draw up a plan to defend the constitutional order; calling for a postponment of September's municipal elections; and demanding that Plavsic's supporters relinquish control of broadcast facilities which they recently took over near Plavsic's base in Banja Luka.

A spokesman for the international community's High Representative to Bosnia, Carlos Westendorp, called the parliament meeting "illegal and illegitimate." Plavsic, who has western backing in the conflict, last month dissolved the assembly and called new elections.

Plavsic yesterday held talks in Banja Luka with two army corps commanders but was apparently spurned by Bosnian Serb army chief Pero Colic and two other corps commanders. Colic went on television after the meeting to denounce attempts to divide the army. He said the army supports no one.