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Croat in Bosnia Presidency Panel Declares Split

March 01, 2001|Associated Press

BUSOVACA, Bosnia-Herzegovina — The Croat member of Bosnia's presidency said Wednesday that his ethnic group was splitting from the federation Croats share with Muslims under the international peace accords that set up an independent Bosnia.

"Let it be clear: From today on, the federation is a [Bosnian Muslim] national entity without the Croats," Ante Jelavic told about 2,000 supporters in the central Bosnian town of Busovaca.

Jelavic is also the head of the hard-line Croat Democratic Union, a party that is pursuing the establishment of a separate Croat ministate--an idea rejected by the international community.

Bosnia consists of two ministates, one run by the Serbs, the other shared by the Muslims and the Croats. Any change in this setup would be a violation of the peace agreement that ended the 1992-95 war.

Jelavic announced that a Bosnian Croat national assembly--believed to be a creation of his party--will hold a session Saturday and "issue historical decisions," an allusion to plans to set up a Croat ministate within Bosnia.

Bosnian Croats are politically split into extremist followers of Jelavic and moderates who are working with the Muslims to stabilize the country and resolve ethnic conflicts.

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