Croatian Serbs criticize government over lack of results

ZAGREB, Jun 16, 2000 -- (AFP) Croatian Serbs said Thursday that the country's new government had failed to fulfill its commitments regarding the Serb minority.

"Croatian Serbs were given many promises by the new government but so far very little was done," Milan Djukic, the leader of the Serb People's Party (SNS), told a press conference.

"There is no refugee return, no reconstruction and no repossession of property," he added.

Some 280,000 Croatian Serbs fled the country during and after the 1991-95 conflict, according to UN refugee agency (UNHCR) figures.

Official Croatian figures show that some 73,000 Serb refugees have returned so far. However, the government estimates that an additional 20,000 Serbs have returned but are not registered yet.

The same figure show that 7,444 refugees returned from Yugoslavia and the Bosnian Serb entity (Republika Srpska) since the beginning of the year, an increase compared with previous years.

Djukic warned that the right of Croatian Serbs to return "cannot be conditioned on solving the status of Croats who fled Bosnia and currently live in their houses."

"It is inconceivable that citizens of another country are holding somebody else's property while Croatian (Serb) citizens are being accommodated in collective centers," he stressed.

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