CEOL - Tudjman's Impending Death "Conducive" For Bosnia Peace

BRUSSELS, Dec 1, 1999 -- (AFP) The impending death of Croatian President Franjo Tudjman can only help the international effort to build peace in Bosnia, High Representative for Bosnia, Wolfgang Petritsch, said Tuesday.

"The post-Tudjman area definitely will be more conducive to a relaxed atmosphere" both in relations between Bosnia and Croatia, and among the Bosnian Croats themselves, he told reporters in Brussels.

"There was too much influence (from Zagreb on the Bosnian Croats), both ideologically as well as financially," added Petritsch, who is responsible for civilian aspects of the four-year-old Dayton peace accords.

Tudjman, 77, a strident nationalist who took Croatia out of Yugoslavia in 1991, then encouraged Bosnian Croats as they fought their Muslim and Serb neighbors, was reported Tuesday in critical condition in intensive care.

Six Croats were among 22 local officials in Bosnia that Petritsch removed from office Monday "for pursuing anti-Dayton, anti-peace, anti-reconciliation and extra-legal agendas," according to a statement from his office.

Petritsch was in Brussels for a regular meeting of the so-called "steering board" -- a group of seven countries, plus the European Union, that oversees the accord's implementation.

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