Plavsic Rejects Milosevic Mediation Offer

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia -- The Bosnian Serb president has rejected an offer from Serbia's Slobodan Milosevic to negotiate Wednesday with her political foes, allies of the war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic who are trying to oust her.

Milosevic, chief Serb powerbroker, on Tuesday invited Bosnian Serb President Biljana Plavsic and Karadzic ally Momcilo Krajisnik to talks in Belgrade to resolve a dispute that is threatening the U.S.-sponsored peace in Bosnia.

Plavsic is at odds with Karadzic, who has been indicted by a UN war crimes tribunal. She accuses him and his cronies of corruption, but allies of the wartime leader dominate the Bosnian Serb government. They are trying to replace her.

Some 5,000 people rallied in Plavsic's support in Prijedor, northern Bosnia, Tuesday night. She told her supporters that Karadzic's men will soon "face the people's judgment'' for their crimes and corruption.

Plavsic's office said the offer to negotiate in Belgrade is "out of the question,'' especially after Milosevic's police detained her at Belgrade airport and deported her to Bosnia on June 29, at the start of the current dispute.

That suggested Serbia had sided with Karadzic and his allies.

Plavsic sent Milosevic a letter inviting him and Krajisnik to her headquarters in Banja Luka, northern Bosnia, if they want to negotiate.

Milosevic on Wednesday sent another letter to Plavsic, refusing to go to Banja Luka and saying his invitation to Belgrade "remains open.''

"I sincerely hope you won't be late,'' Milosevic warned Plavsic in the letter, according to the state-run Tanjug news agency

NATO leaders meeting in Madrid warned Tuesday they won't accept a power grab in the Serb half of Bosnia. But their statement gave no indication they were willing to use the NATO-led peacekeeping force in Bosnia to arrest Karadzic.

The struggle between Plavsic and Karadzic could help determine the fate of Bosnia. The Karadzic camp rejects the Dayton peace accords, which call for a unified Bosnia made up of a Serb sub-state and a federation of Croats and Moslems. Karadzic wants full independence and eventual fusion with neighboring Serbia.