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Croatia: U.S. Criticizes Failure To Keep Promises

New York, 25 September 1997 (RFE/RL) - The United States yesterday criticized Croatia for failing to uphold commitments it accepted when it joined the Council of Europe last year.

State Department spokesman James Rubin told reporters in New York that Croatia's performance in helping refugees return and cooperating with the international war crimes tribunal has fallen woefully short.

He said that as an observer to the Council of Europe, the U.S. will call attention to Croatia's failure to keep its promises.

He said the U.S. is prepared to work very closely with European allies to convince them of the need to keep the pressure on Zagreb until it meets its human rights obligations.

Member states of the Council of Europe are currently considering a request by the U.S. that the 40-nation body suspend Croatia's membership because of its human rights violations and failure to implement the Dayton peace accords.

But Council officials tell our correspondent that it is unlikely the organization will comply with the U.S. request, made last week.

Rubin made the statement to reporters shortly before the beginning of a meeting of the five-nation contact group on Bosnia. He said the U.S., Russia and European members of the group will focus mainly on developments in Republika Srpska and preparations for parliamentary and presidential elections there.