U.S. allies backed President Clinton’s demand on Saturday that Bosnian Serb leaders indicted for war crimes be forced “out of power and out of influence.”
Clinton said “real progress” had been made at an eight-nation economic summit toward strengthening the peace in Bosnia and in stepping up the international fight against crime and terrorism.
“Terrorists and criminals must have nowhere to hide,” he said as summit partners formally adopted a U.S.-endorsed package of measures to combat terrorism - a package given new momentum by the bombing at a U.S. military compound in Saudi Arabia.
At a news conference alongside a pond in a wooded park, Clinton summed up the three-day session and also offered an upbeat assessment on the health of the only absent participant, Russian President Boris Yeltsin.
Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin assured him during a private meeting, Clinton said, that “President Yeltsin was in good health, but that he had a sore throat - something I can identify with right before an election.”
Yeltsin stayed home from the summit to campaign full time for reelection. But the fact that he took a day off from campaigning because of illness raised new questions about his health.
Still, perhaps looking beyond Yeltsin, Clinton said, “The whole purpose of democracy is to make sure that none of us are indispensable,” he said.
Clinton spoke at the end of the annual economic summit of the United States, Britain, France, Japan, Germany, Italy and Canada - joined on the final day, as it has been in past years, by Russia.
In joint communiques issued Saturday, the summit partners threatened new economic sanctions against Serbia unless two Bosnian Serb leaders accused of war crimes - Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic - are denied any decision-making influence in the former Yugoslav republic.
In particular, the declaration said, “We demand that Mr. Karadzic renounce definitively and immediately all public functions and not participate in any governmental decisions.”
It came even as Karadzic’s Serbian Democratic Party re-elected him its president, according to an account by the Bosnian Serb news agency SRNA.
“We want Mr. Karadzic, in the words of the secretary of state, out of power and out of influence,” Clinton said. “And we think that is very important.”
French President Jacques Chirac, host of this year’s summit, said he hoped that Karadzic “and especially all those who have an influence on Mr. Karadzic understand that there is a limit to insolence.”
Karadzic, who has been indicted by the war crimes tribunal in The Hague, has relinquished the presidency, but continues to rule by proxy.
Otherwise, the summit partners said, the self-styled Bosnian Serb Republic will be denied international assistance.
The statement further threatened, “We are equally ready to consider the use of sanctions toward any party to the peace accord,” including the Serbian government in Belgrade.
Clinton also pledged a separate $20 million initiative to assist with recovery in Bosnia, a $15 million effort to mobilize soldiers to clear land mines and a $5 million training program for Bosnian women.
He also named Cyrus Vance, secretary of state in the Carter administration, as the head of an international commission to help solve 12,000 missing-person cases that grew out of the conflict.
Summit partners also endorsed a U.S. package of anti-terrorism proposals. It calls for closer law enforcement coordination and sharing of bomb-detection technology.
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