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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

White House Denies Plan to Seize Karadzic

WASHINGTON -- The White House has dismissed as a "complete fabrication" a report that the United States had plans to seize Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic in a commando raid.


Asked Monday about a report in the Sunday Times of London, White House spokesman Mike McCurry replied: "It is, as near as we can tell, a complete fabrication."


McCurry said, "We do not routinely discuss intelligence matters, but I can assure you in this case there is no plan for any unilateral action relating to either Karadzic or [Bosnian Serb military leader Ratko] Mladic beyond our own firm belief, shared by the British government, that he should be delivered for justice at The Hague."


The Sunday Times, citing intelligence sources in the United States and Britain, said U.S. forces were poised to grab Karadzic in an airborne raid on Pale, the mountain resort where Serb hardliners have their capital.


British Defense Minister Michael Portillo, denying any rift with Washington over policy towards Bosnia, said seizing Karadzic at this stage could be counter-productive.


That was in line with comments made Friday by U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry in an interview with National Public Radio.


"A lot of the people that proposed that [capturing Karadzic] don't understand what would be involved in that and what the consequences would be with that," Perry said.


"It would be a substantial operation. It would involve much, and it could very well dramatically complicate the IFOR mission," he said.


At the State Department on Monday, spokesman Nicholas Burns told reporters he knew nothing about any such plan regarding Karadzic. "I am not aware of any such operation," he said.