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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Karadzic Skeptical Over Moslem-Croat Deal

Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic on Wednesday gave a skeptical response to news of a U.S.-mediated agreement between Bosnian Moslems and Croats saying it could be used against the Serbian community.

"If America is helping Moslems and Croats to reach peace then we welcome it," Karadzic said on the third day of his visit to Moscow. "But if it is helping them to defeat the Serbs and force them to give up more territories, then we do not welcome it."

Representatives of Bosnian Moslems and Croats agreed in Washington on Tuesday to form a loose confederation of the two communities in Bosnia leaving the Serb community outside the pact, in an accord brokered by the United States.

"We are familiar with such policies from the Second World War when they killed 700,000 Serbs, 50,000 Jews and so on," Karadzic said. "We are not enemies of Moslems, but we are against their domination over us, that is the most important thing."

But President Boris Yeltsin's special envoy to former Yugoslavia, Vitaly Churkin, said the Moslem-Croat deal did not go against the interests of Bosnian Serbs and "enables some complicated and difficult issues to be resolved."

The agreement in Washington was signed one day after Karadzic struck a deal with Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev to allow humanitarian deliveries through the besieged Tuzla airport under Russian observation. Both moves are part of a flurry of diplomatic activity involving Bosnia by the West and Russia in the last few weeks.

The United Nations special envoy Throvald Stoltenberg welcomed both the Moslem-Croatian accord and the Russian-Serb agreement saying in Rome that they created "an atmosphere that could give results," Reuters reported.

The Bosnian Moslem vice president, Ejup Ganic, however, rejected the Tuzla agreement saying the Moslem government had not been consulted.

While praising Russia's recent diplomatic efforts for ending the Serbian seige of the Bosnian capital Sarajevo and the latest deal on Tuzla, Karadzic criticized the United States for negotiating outside the United Nations.

"We don't think it is good that the U.S. are trying to replace the United Nations," Karadzic told a press conference. "I don't think one country should monopolize."

However, the presence of Russian soldiers and observers in the UN peacekeeping forces is an essential condition in both agreements providing for the relief of the 23-month-long sieges of Sarajevo and Tuzla.

Vladimir Shumeiko, the chairman of the Federation Council said the agreement on Tuzla had become possible because "Russia today is on the side of the Bosnian Serbs, it supports them."

"This is a demonstration to the world that Russia has an independent policy and it chooses it own friends," Shumeiko said at the press conference with Karadzic, adding that Russia supports the Serbs "only when they are moving toward peace."

Meanwhile, ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky ignored the Moslem-Croat pact Wednesday and called for more Russia troops to be sent to Bosnia.

Either "we take out all troops from Bosnia, from Yugoslavia or we must send out Russian troops, five divisions or 10 regiments of the Russian army," Reuters quoted Zhirinovsky as saying.

Also Wednesday, Yevgeny Podkolzin, commander of the Russian troops in former Yugoslavia, said that NATO had shown bias against Serbs by shooting down four planes Monday.

Podkolzin said the flights were "a provocation, either by Moslems or by Croats." He did not provide any evidence to support his statement.