Banja Luka, 8 September 1997 (RFE/RL) - Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic is holding talks with a leading rival today, hours before the scheduled start of a rally in Banja Luka by Plavsic detractors. Serb Orthodox Patriarch Pavle is mediating Plavsic's meeting with Momcilo Krajisnik, the Serb member of the tripartite Bosnian Presidency, and chief aide to wartime leader Radovan Karadzic.
The outcome of the talks at the presidential office in Banja Luka is not yet known.
Earlier, busloads of Karadzic and Krajisnik supporters left the hardliners' stronghold of Pale and headed for Banja Luka where they plan to defy an official police ban and hold a public anti-Plavsic rally.
An estimated 1,600 civilian and military police loyal to Plavsic have been mobilized in Banja Luka to avoid potential confrontation. Major John Blakely of the NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR) in Bosnia has said SFOR will take "whatever steps are necessary" to preserve the peace.
Tension has increased across Bosnian Serb territory over the past few months because of a power struggle between Plavsic and Karadzic.