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Croatia: President Says Norac Contacted Him

Zagreb, 14 February 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Retired Croatian General Mirko Norac, who is on the run from local war crimes investigators, has called President Stipe Mesic to say he is willing to report to the court but first wants a meeting with him. Norac went into hiding last week after a court in Rijeka announced it wanted to investigate his alleged role in the killing of Serb civilians when he was a local army commander during Croatia's 1991 war of independence from Yugoslavia.

The court announcement prompted countrywide protests by war veterans who regard him as a hero of the battle against Belgrade and rebel Serbs.

Mesic said on state television that Norac had contacted him late yesterday, and that he was willing to meet the retired general as early as today. Mesic last year sacked Norac and 11 other generals for publicly criticizing the government.