Thursday, June 27, 1996


Karadzic Signed Conditional Resignation?

Conditions: RS to preserve minimal statehood within the united BiH and Brcko to remain under Serb control

A. Djordjevic in Belgrade

Radovan Karadzic
According to sources close to the government of Republika Srpska (RS), on Tuesday night the president of RS, Radovan Karadzic, signed and sealed his resignation to the presidential post, pending fulfillment of several conditions, all aimed at ensuring a minimum of independence and statehood for RS within Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In the western diplomatic circles in Belgrade there was no confirmation that the letter of resignation really exists, although the arrival of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (also the main American coordinator of the peace plan in Bosnia) John Cornblum, is directly linked to increased pressure on Milosevic to wrap up the Karadzic case. Several western journalists in Belgrade claimed that Cornblum is coming to see Karadzic out, and by his presence speed up the process of Karadzic's retreat, which is now thought to be a matter of hours.

Those close to RS leadership speculate that the final decision of Karadzic's departure is to be expected today or, at the latest, tomorrow, during the Convention of the Serbian Democratic Party (SDP) in Pale, when the MP and presidential candidates are to be publicly announced. It was clear yesterday that Karadzic will not be a presidential candidate, a move interpreted as his attempt at leaving the political scene with dignity.

Diplomatic circles agree that the turning point in Karadzic's removal came after the Bildt-Milosevic talks, and the ensuing harsh joint press release from Milosevic, Zoran Lilic and Momir Bulatovic after meeting RS representatives Biljana Plavsic and Nikola Koljevic. In his talk with Milosevic, after which Bildt did not seem satisfied, he was very clear that the sanctions against RS will be necessary if Karadzic does not step down by the end of this month. In that case, SR Yugoslavia, a warrant for RS in the Dayton Accords, would find itself again at the brink of sanctions.

Allegedly, Karadzic's letter of resignation was handed Tuesday late at night to the representatives of UN High Commissary Carl Bildt, and also to Nikola Sainovic, Vice-president of the Yugoslav government, whom Slobodan Milosevic informally placed in charge of relations with the RS leadership.

Karadzic supposedly demanded, in return for his resignation, that RS enjoys minimum statehood, with international guarantee of safety. Another condition concerns the upcoming arbitration of the Brcko region, and the strategic interest of RS to maintain a link by land between eastern and western parts of the republic. Karadzic requested that the city of Brcko remains outside the arbitration, and under the Serb control, while a tripartite council arbitrates only the border territories along the corridor in north Bosnia.

Having met with the Central committee of SDP in Pale yesterday, when he presented the resignation to its members, Karadzic explained his move tot he Club of SDP representatives in RS parliament. Both meetings were held behind closed doors, and were filled with vivid debate over Karadzic's intention to resign. Karadzic called on the common sense, RS interests and Serbian people as his reasons, while some delegates demanded that he continues to lead the party and the state in peace as well.

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