Foreign Office to welcome Serbian 'Nazi'

British officials are welcoming Biljana Plavsic, one of the Bosnian Serb triumvirate who planned and executed the barbaric war against Bosnia's Muslims from 1992-95, for talks this week.

According to the Foreign Office, which under Robin Cook claims to have made "ethics" central to its deliberations, Mrs Plavsic is being honoured with an official greeting from minister Tony Lloyd because she is "moderate". "We want to give her position a bit of a boost," a spokes- man was quoted as telling Reuters news agency.

Bosnia's Muslims - those who survived the slaughter organised by Mrs Plavsic and her two colleagues, Radovan Karadzic and Nikoila Koljevic, which culminated in the massacre of Srebrenica's male inhabitants almost exactly two years ago - remember Mr Lloyd's guest as one of the most terrifying of all their persecutors, a powerful-looking, elegantly dressed, heavily perfumed lady, who seemed to exult in their annihilation.

They remember, as Mr Cook's officials apparently do not, how in April 1992 the Serb paramilitary boss Zeljko Raznjatovic "Arkan" stormed the small, mostly Muslim town of Bijeljina in north-east Bosnia, butchering many of the inhabitants, and how Mrs Plavsic rushed to the town and - after inspecting Arkan's grisly handywork - gave him a rapturous kiss.

Mrs Plavsic, far from being a "moderate" in the Bosnian Serb hierarchy, made such bloodcurdlingly racist speeches throughout the Bosnian war (her favourite topic was the biological differences between Serbs and Muslims) that even President Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia became disgusted, or at any rate, embarrassed.

Using his journalist wife, Mirjana, as was often his practice, to express in print what the secretive leader really thought, he pronounced Mrs Plavsic "a Nazi" and compared her to Dr Mengele in the weekly magazine Duga - this, after Mrs Plavsic had unburdened her thoughts to a Belgrade newspaper saying it was her "dearest wish to see the Drina valley cleansed of Muslims". She went on: "I wish them no good, though to get my peace, I'll have to give them something, so that they do not disturb me."

Other famous Plavsic comments include how the Muslims were lucky that the Serbs were shovelling them into crowded ghettos because they were Orientals - and those people enjoy living on top of each other.

The Foreign Office says Mrs Plavsic deserves "a bit of a boost" because, unlike Mr Karadzic, she is willing to deliver on the November 1995 Dayton peace deal which was designed to heal the division of Bosnia and rebuild the country.

In fact, when Madeleine Albright, the US Secretary of State, recently toured Bosnia and Croatia, warning Washington would get tough on delivering up UN-indicted war-crime suspects to the Hague tribunal, Mrs Plavsic replied by threatening "massive civil and military unrest" if any attempt was made to apprehend either Karadzic or the man behind the Srebrenica horrors, General Ratko Mladic.

And during the Bosnian elections in September last year, after which she became president of the Bosnian Serb statelet, she wowed the crowds in the Serb-held part of Dobrinja outside Sarajevo by telling them Mr Karadzic was "our Karageorge", thus likening him to the hero of the 1804 Serb uprising against the Turks. "You heroic people, you showed the world we can never live with them [the Muslims], even in peace!" she shouted.

As Bosnian Serb president she presided over the demolition of the remains of the celebrated 16th century Ferhadija mosque in Banja Luka, a fitting epitaph to the work of "ethnic cleansing" which she has consistently espoused.

"It's so ironic she is being presented as a moderate because for much of the war she bitterly opposed Karadzic, whom she saw as a weak-kneed moderate," says Tim Judah, an expert on Serbia and author of The Serbs: History and Myth.

Serbian liberals feel just as dismayed by the news that British officials are welcoming a woman they feel has shamed their nation. "She is a racist, and an extreme racist" says Sonja Biserko, of the Helsinki committee for human rights in Serbia, "and as big a war criminal as Karadzic. She spent the whole war touring the battlefields stirring up the troops."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'