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Top envoy not satisfied with new Bosnian govt

SARAJEVO, Jun 25, 2000 -- (Reuters) Wolfgang Petritsch, the West's top peace envoy in Bosnia, said on Friday said he was unhappy with the lineup of a new central government chaired by a Serb prime minister already strongly criticized by Petritsch.

The central parliament on Thursday approved the cabinet of six ministers, to be led for the next eight months by Spasoje Tusevljak, a little-known economics professor without party affiliation. He will also be minister for the state institutions treasury.

"Some of the new ministers and deputies leave doubt as to what qualifies them for these positions and some have a questionable attitude with the regard to the implementation of the Dayton peace agreement," a spokesman for Petritsch said.

The U.S.-mediated Dayton treaty ended the 1992-95 Bosnian war by dividing the country into two highly-autonomous areas - the Moslem-Croat Federation and the Serb Republic - which each has its own parliament, government, armed forces and police.

The joint institutions - the presidency, the parliament and the government - have a limited role under the peace treaty.

Petritsch, who coordinates the peace process and has sweeping powers to enforce it, had earlier strongly criticized Tusevljak's nomination, saying he lacked experience.

Sarajevo media reported that Tusevljak, 48, was an economic adviser early in the conflict to Bosnian Serb wartime leader and indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic, who is now in hiding.

Petritsch's spokesman said Tusevljak's remarks that the government had to move slowly were unacceptable: "Bosnia and Herzegovina cannot afford to lose more time."

The spokesman said Petritsch wanted the government to move fast in three areas seen by the West as crucial for recovery: free market reforms, the return of hundreds of thousands of refugees and better functioning of the central institutions.

A Western source based in Sarajevo told Reuters Petritsch's main concern was the appointment of two Serbs: Tihomir Gligoric as the minister for civilian affairs and communications and Nikola Spiric as deputy minister for human rights and refugees.

Gligoric, a former Bosnian Serb deputy prime minister, was withdrawn as a candidate to chair the central government after Western envoys complained that his Socialist Party was too close to the party of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

Spiric is a deputy in the central parliament for a tiny party allied with the hard-line Serb Democratic Party (SDS), founded in 1990 by Karadzic.

The previous government, which had three ministers, stopped functioning at the beginning of this year after the Constitutional Court ruled that it could not have two co-chairs. In the new government, the chair will rotate every eight months.

Montenegro May Apologise To Croatia For Dubrovnik ZAGREB, June 23 (Reuters) Croatian President Stipe Mesic will meet Montenegro's Milo Djukanovic on Saturday amid indications Montenegro would apologize for the role its conscripts played in the 1991 Yugoslav army attack on Dubrovnik.

A source close to Mesic's office said the two leaders were expected to discuss the situation in the troubled region, particularly in Montenegro, and explore possibilities for improving bilateral relations.

"Croatia can have relatively good relations with Montenegro, at least we can try to improve those relations," the source told Reuters in a telephone interview.

The meeting will be held in a hotel in the Adriatic tourist resort of Cavtat near Dubrovnik, and the pro-Western Djukanovic is expected to apologize for the role of Montenegrin conscripts in the attack on the walled mediaeval city.

Asked if there were concrete indications from Podgorica that Djukanovic planned such a move, the source said: "Yes, there are such indications."

Participation of Montenegrin soldiers in the savage shelling of Dubrovnik at the start of the 1991-95 war has been one of the biggest stumbling blocks to rapprochement between the two former Yugoslav republics.

Croatia declared independence from former Yugoslavia in 1991, earning international recognition a year later, while Montenegro to this date remains a constituent member of the rump Yugoslav federation, albeit a reluctant one.

Apart from Serbia, Albania and Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia is the only other country with which the tiny mountainous republic shares a land border.



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