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The BBC's Geraldine Coughlan
"Both sides seemed content with the first signs of progress"
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Bosnian Serb PM Mladen Ivanic
"We can't ignore the existence of this tribunal"
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Bosnian journalist Vedat Spahovic
"If Milosevic is in The Hague then it is likely those that are smaller fries would... go to The Hague"
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Journalist Maggie O'Kane speaks to BBC News Online
"Karadzic is to a certain extent still seen as a nationalist hero in the Republika Srpska"
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Thursday, 5 July, 2001, 18:17 GMT 19:17 UK
Pressure builds over Bosnian Serb pair
Former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic (left) and president Radovan Karadzic in 1993
Mr Mladic and Mr Karadzic are on the most-wanted list
The arrest of the most-wanted war crimes suspects from the Bosnian conflict - Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic - appears to have come a step closer following talks in The Hague on Thursday.

UN war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte
Del Ponte: "No more excuses"
After meeting Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Mladen Ivanic, chief UN war crimes prosecutor Carla Del Ponte said there were no more excuses for not capturing the two suspects.

In blunt remarks to journalists, she said the "unacceptable situation must end now".

Mr Ivanic reiterated that the Bosnian Serb authorities would step up co-operation with the tribunal. He said he was confident the Bosnian Serb parliament would pass a bill to authorise this.

No excuses

Ms Del Ponte said firm action was needed by the authorities of the Bosnian Serb republic - one of two entities comprising Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Bosnian Serb Prime Minister Mladen Ivanic
Mladen Ivanic: "We can't ignore The Hague"
Rejecting earlier remarks by Mr Ivanic that he did not know where Mr Karadzic and General Mladic were, the chief prosecutor said the authorities either were aware of their whereabouts or were in a position to trace them.

She said they could ask help from the 8,000-strong Bosnian police set up with the assistance of the international community, or the Nato-led peacekeeping force, S-For.

Mr Ivanic said the Bosnian Serb republic could not "ignore The Hague". But he urged the tribunal to show it was not biased by prosecuting people who had committed war crimes against the Serbs.

Kostunica attack

This was an echo of an earlier withering attack on the tribunal by Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica, whose predecessor, Slobodan Milosevic, made his first appearance before it on Monday.

"At The Hague there is very little that could characterise a tribunal," President Kostunica said in an interview published on Wednesday.

He criticised the tribunal for being "American" rather than "international" in character, adding: "There is no impartiality - it embodies only selective justice."

Earlier Mr Ivanic admitted that the extradition of Mr Milosevic had changed the situation in the Balkans.

Time to deliver

Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic are charged with genocide and other crimes against humanity - including the massacre of thousands of Muslim men from the town of Srebrenica in 1995.

Former Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic
Mr Milosevic's extradition has "changed the situation"
The Bosnian Serb law is expected to face a challenge from nationalists in the Bosnian Serb parliament, but the prime minister said he was confident it would be passed within the next three weeks.

The Bosnian Serb entity was now the only part of the former Yugoslavia to be seen as not co-operating with the war crimes tribunal, he added.

Mr Karadzic, the former Bosnian Serb President, and Mr Mladic, his military commander, are widely believed to be on Bosnian Serb territory, though there is also a theory that Mr Mladic could be in the mountains of Montenegro.

Bosnian Serb officials have played down the significance of Tuesday's government approval of the co-operation law.

The BBC's Sarajevo correspondent, Alix Kroeger, says that politicians supporting the extradition of Bosnian Serb war crimes suspects could face a backlash from voters.

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See also:

30 Jun 01 | Europe
The Hague's wanted men
02 Jul 01 | Europe
Milosevic allies vulnerable
11 Aug 00 | Europe
Profile: Radovan Karadzic
05 Aug 00 | Europe
Mladic blamed for Bosnia massacre
05 Jul 01 | Europe
Serb 'Adolf' innocent of genocide
05 Jul 01 | Europe
Q&A: Who's next at The Hague?
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