Karadzic praises US role in Bosnia talks

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The Independent Online
Belgrade (Reuter) - The Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, said he believed Yugoslav peace talks in Dayton, Ohio would succeed, and welcomed the active role played by the United States.

In unusually conciliatory remarks made on Serbian radio, Mr Karadzic said the US-brokered conference should result in "the final establishment of peace in Bosnia". The Dayton negotiations were important because "they were initiated by the American side, which for the first time accepted and recognised the existence of the Serbian entity in Bosnia and the fact that Bosnia cannot survive as a unitary state".

Serbia's President, Slobodan Milosevic, is negotiating on behalf of the Bosnian Serbs, who lost large slices of territory to a Bosnian-Croatian offensive this summer. The US talks, said Mr Karadzic, should involve the return of part of this territory.

Mr Milosevic, the Bosnian President, Alija Izetbegovic, and Franjo Tudjman of Croatia are studying a series of documents that international mediators hope will form the basis of a peace accord.

Mr Karadzic said previous peace conferences on ex-Yugoslavia had failed because they lacked US support. Asked why he had not gone to Dayton himself, he said, "It was not important who took part ... We all think the same". Mr Karadzic has been indicted for war crimes by the international tribunal at the Hague and is liable to arrest if he leaves the country.

Yesterday mediators were to hold more talks with rebel Serbs in Croatia's Eastern Slavonia region. A first effort by the US ambassador to Croatia, Peter Galbraith, and the UN envoy, Thorvald Stoltenberg, to get the Serb and Croat sides together fell apart on Saturday when the Serb side failed to turn up.

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