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Serbian President Urges Protection Of 'Serbian Rights' In Balkans

Former Bosnian Serb leader Momcilo Krajisnik (left) and Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic meet in Belgrade.

Serbia's president has urged greater protection for the rights of Serbs in the Balkan region after meeting with a former Bosnian Serb leader who was convicted of war crimes.

The meeting between Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic and Bosnian Serb leader Momcilo Krajisnik on January 11 reflected a resurgence of Serbian nationalist sentiment in the region and was denounced by human rights groups.

Krajisnik spent 13 1/2 years in prison after being convicted by a United Nations tribunal of persecuting and forcibly expelling non-Serbs during Bosnia's 1992-95 war. He was released in 2013.

A 1995 U.S.-sponsored peace agreement made Bosnia-Herzegovina a union of Bosnian Serb and Muslim-Croat regions.

But that deal seems to be unraveling, with Bosnian Serb leaders calling for the secession of their ministate, the Republika Srpska, and joining it with Serbia.

Krajisnik, who now leads a nongovernmental organization called Association of Creators of Republika Srpska, said after meeting with Nikolic that Bosnia "has become an impossible country."

"The Serbian people are not feeling comfortable," Krajisnik said. "Nor do the Croats.... The situation in Bosnia is alarming."

Nikolic, who is strongly pro-Russian, said Serbs not only want their "status" protected, but are calling for the protection of Cyrillic and the Serbian language.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP