. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S., Russia Pressure Serbia to Oust Karadzic

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia -- The United States and Russia exerted high-level pressure Thursday on Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic to sideline indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic as leader of the Bosnian Serbs.

International mediators in Bosnia also stepped up efforts to oust Karadzic, announcing that they also would not work with Biljana Plavsic, the hardline nationalist he recently named to assume some of his duties.

"The international community cannot accept contacts with Professor Dr. Plavsic in her function as 'assisting' a person who is seeking to hang on to public office in clear violation of the peace agreement,'' said a statement by the office of Carl Bildt, who oversees civilian aspects of Bosnia's peace.

Ahead of a weekend meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher, Milosevic faces the threat of renewed sanctions against Serb-dominated Yugoslavia if he does not make good on promises to oust Karadzic and his military commander, General Ratko Mladic.

Visiting Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov and John Kornblum, the senior U.S. envoy for former Yugoslavia, had back-to-back meetings scheduled with Milosevic to press the case for complying with the Dayton peace accords the Serbian President signed on behalf of Bosnia's recalcitrant Serbs.

Primakov, who arrived in Belgrade on Wednesday, said after a meeting with his Yugoslav counterpart that Bosnia was in the midst of "a difficult phase'' in implementing civilian parts of the peace agreement.

"The implementation of a number of decisions is facing various obstacles and it is necessary to do everything in order to continue the process,'' Primakov said in an apparent reference to the need to sideline Karadzic.