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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Mediator Expects Karadzic To Resign

SARAJEVO -- International mediator Carl Bildt has a firm understanding rather than a formal agreement with the Bosnian Serb leadership that Radovan Karadzic will leave public life, Bildt's spokesman said Monday.

Clarifying the sequence and substance of negotiations over the Bosnian Serb president's future that were held in the Bosnian Serb capital of Pale at the weekend, Bildt's spokesman, Colum Murphy, told reporters in Sarajevo that the agreement was "hard won and hard fought,"

"The Bosnian Serbs have said that he [Karadzic] would not be seen from or heard from and that he would take no part in public life," Murphy added.

"I think a sea change has taken place in the Bosnian Serb leadership at least in their understanding that Dr. Karadzic must be removed and must stay out of public life," he said.

Murphy cited Bosnian Serb Assembly president Momcilo Krajisnik and Foreign Minister Aleksa Buha as two senior officials with whom Bildt had reached the understanding.

The spokesman explained Bildt had sought a formal, written agreement from the Serbs, but so far they had failed to sign the agreed document.

"We don't think the game is won. We don't think this is over. There are set-backs. ... We do think that the discussion we had added up to something," Murphy said.

"A text was discussed, language was discussed and even the Bosnian Serb leadership itself agreed that Dr. Karadzic had to stay out of public life. So it's not everything, but it's certainly not nothing," he said.

Bildt, the international community's High Representative for Bosnia, has spent the past two weeks working intensively with moderate Bosnian Serb politicians to get Karadzic, a twice-indicted war criminal, out of office.

Karadzic dismissed his moderate prime minister, Rajko Kasagic, and replaced him with a hardliner last week. But the president did agree to transfer some duties to his vice president, Biljana Plafsic, another hardliner.

Murphy said even Karadzic's replacement by hardliners was a step forward because they were not indicted for war crimes and lacked his influence over the Bosnian Serb political scene.

"I think this particular man, Dr. Karadzic, has an inordinate influence on the psychology of what's been happening here," Murphy added.

"I think, if he's out of public life, we see a change in the political climate right away. Mrs. Plafsic and others are certainly hardliners. ... But we don't believe they have quite the same charisma or grip on the party that Dr. Karadzic had."

The international community wants Karadzic removed from power because they see him as the main obstacle to successful implementation of the Dayton peace deal reached late last year.

Karadzic, a former Sarajevo psychiatrist and occasional poet, led the Bosnian Serbs in their 43-month separatist war against the Bosnian government.

Under Dayton, he should have stepped out of public life. Instead, he has stubbornly held onto power and there have been reports from his supporters that he might even contest elections scheduled for September.

?In London, Britain's ruling Conservatives, battling new charges of sleaze, on Monday began an investigation into whether a recent donation of ?100,000 ($150,000) was linked in any way to Karadzic.

The probe follows newspaper allegations that the party received cash from businessmen alleged to have links with Karadzic.