Hardline Serbs fan revolt

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The Independent Online
SARAJEVO - Hardline Bosnian Serb leaders struggling to cling to power fanned a revolt against the loss of Serb sectors of Sarajevo yesterday and demanded changes to the peace plan for Bosnia.

Serb youths in the Vogusca suburb of the Bosnian capital, which is due to return to government control, demonstrated against the plan and Serb officials said more protests would follow.

The protest followed attacks by Bosnian Serb "president" Radovan Karadzic and parliament speaker Momcilo Krajisnik on the peace treaty negotiated in the United States last week.

"We never agreed to give up Sarajevo," Karadzic said on television. "We believe that negotiations can continue."

Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic brokered the treaty on behalf of the Bosnian Serbs and forced Karadzic to sign them in Belgrade on Thursday.

The hardliners returned to their government seat at Pale, outside Sarajevo, to accuse Milosevic of sacrificing Bosnian Serb interests in order to win the easing of sanctions against Serbia.

They demanded the deal be renegotiated before it is signed at the start of December in preparation for the deployment of Nato peacekeeping troops.

Karadzic indicated he and his army commander, General Ratko Mladic, would try to defy a clause in the peace agreement which strips them of power as accused war criminals.

He said they could even attend the signing ceremony in Paris, although they would risk arrest and trial before the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague. "The signature on such a document on behalf of the Bosnian Serb republic is put by the president of the republic," Karadzic said.

Krajisnik and Karadzic attacked Milosevic for failing to secure the return of around 1,500 square miles of northwest Bosnia which the Bosnian Serb army lost to government and Croat fighters during the autumn.

Belgrade newspapers dismissed the opposition from the Bosnian Serbs as bluster from "yesterday's men who are on their way out".

Attempts to unpick or repudiate agreements have been standard Bosnian Serb tactics during their opposition to international peacemaking in Bosnia.

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