CEOL - UK says top Croatians working against Bosnia peace

LONDON, Dec 19, 1999 -- (Reuters) Britain said on Friday evidence gathered by NATO troops during a raid in Bosnia's ethnically divided town of Mostar showed top Croatian officials had tried to sabotage the Bosnian peace settlement.

Foreign Secretary Robin Cook said the Croatians were involved in operations against the international community and Bosnian Croats in Bosnia, as well as the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY).

Cook was responding to a SFOR announcement setting out what it said was evidence of illegal intelligence activities by Croatian and Bosnian Croat security services.

The material came to light in SFOR's October 14 raid in the Bosnian Croat stronghold of west Mostar.

"This material appears to provide irrefutable evidence of repeated and ongoing efforts by the Croatian authorities to subvert the peace which has been built in Bosnia," Cook said.

He said Britain had long suspected elements of the Croatian government were not committed to normalizing relations with Bosnia.

"The material released today leaves us in no doubt that there has been organized resistance to the Dayton Agreement (peace deal) at the highest levels in Zagreb," he said.

"The international community cannot afford to let this pass and we will pursue these charges vigorously, including referring the attack on the ICTY to the United Nations Security Council."

Cook said he hoped next month's parliamentary elections, which follows the death this month of Croatian President Franjo Tudjman could bring a change in Croatian policy.

"The forthcoming elections in Croatia offer a chance for the Croatian people to put this sordid activity behind them and to rebuild Croatia's credentials as a European partner," Cook said.

"I hope the Croatian people will seize this opportunity."

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