Holbrooke returning to Balkans to put pressure on Milosevic U.S. envoy seeks ouster of Karadzic and Mladic


WASHINGTON -- Richard C. Holbrooke, the Clinton administration's former chief negotiator in the Balkans, will return to the region this week in an effort to persuade Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia to live up to the peace accords reached in Dayton, Ohio, and to bring about the ouster of two Bosnian Serb leaders, a senior administration official said yesterday.

The decision to send Holbrooke was reached Friday at a White House meeting of President Clinton's senior national security advisers, after a recommendation by Secretary of State Warren Christopher, the official said.

Holbrooke will leave tomorrow for Belgrade and will also travel to Sarajevo and Zagreb, the Croatian capital.

"Although there are serious issues in all three capitals, the primary issue is Milosevic," the official said. "We will read him the riot act and make clear that his behavior is inconsistent with the promises he made in Dayton."

In particular, Holbrooke will press Milosevic to fulfill his promises on ensuring that the two Bosnian Serb leaders -- Radovan Karadzic, the political leader, and Ratko Mladic, the military commander -- are removed from power.

Last week, the International War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague issued arrest warrants for both men, who have been indicted on charges of war crimes.

Two attacks on foreigners, including the shooting of an American working for the U.S. Embassy, have heightened tensions in Bosnia and may also increase concerns that any attempt by NATO forces to arrest Bosnian Serb leaders for war crimes could result in retaliation against foreigners.

The American, a woman whose name was not released, was shot in the back late Friday night while she and her husband were driving between Kiseljak and Sarajevo. She was reported to be in stable condition after undergoing surgery at a NATO military hospital.

American Embassy officials said that the circumstances surrounding the shooting were not clear and that it was possible that the assailant did not know the nationality of the victim.

But the second attack, two hours later, was clearly directed against foreigners.

An explosive charge was set off under a truck parked in front of the office of United Nations police monitors in Vlasenica, a Bosnian Serb-controlled town in northeastern Bosnia. Two monitors were slightly wounded.

Elections viewed as critical to Bosnia's future are scheduled for September, and the Western powers backing the Balkan peace accord want the Bosnian Serb leaders removed before the elections are held.

Pub Date: 7/14/96

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