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Monday, August 31, 1998 Published at 19:29 GMT 20:29 UK

World: Europe

Albright urges Bosnian refugee return

Mrs Albright with President Biljana Plavsic (left) at a power station

The United States Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, has urged the authorities in Bosnia-Hercegovina to speed up the return of war refugees to their homes, in line with the Dayton peace accords.

Speaking in the capital, Sarajevo on the second day of her visit to Bosnio, Mrs Albright expressed concern over the situation of refugees returning to their homes, and called for more Serbs and Croats to resettle in the city.

In an indirect reference to German policies on Bosnian refugees, she criticised countries that forced refugees to return to places where there was no security, no housing and no jobs.

The German Foreign Minister, Klaus Kinkel, strongly defended his country's decision to send thousands of refugees home, saying they were needed to rebuild Bosnia.

Mr Kinkel, who is also visiting Sarajevo, said Germany had done more for Bosnian refugees than most other European countries and had no reason to reproach itself.

'No revision of Dayton'

Earlier on Monday, Mrs Albright met the Bosnian Muslim and Bosnian Croat members of the collective state presidency, Alija Izetbegovic and Kresimir Zubak.

The US secretary of state accused Bosnian politicians of not doing enough to promote ethnic reconciliation and she called for more progress on implementing the Dayton peace agreement.

Mrs Albright said: "Let me be clear: there will be no revision of Dayton. Dayton must be implemented fully; there will be no partition and there will be a single State of Bosnia-Hercegovina with two multi-ethnic entities."

Appeal to voters

State Department correspondent Richard Lister: US keen to promote Dayton agreement
On Monday, Madeleine Albright urged Serb voters to back candidates who support the Bosnian peace process at next month's general elections.

She was speaking on a visit to the town of Bijeljina after meeting the Bosnian Serb Republic President, Biljana Plavsic.

Ms Albright made it clear that America was willing to help only those in Bosnia who co-operate in implementing the Dayton peace agreement, which ended more than three years of warfare.

[ image: The first election after the Bosnian war was in 1996]
The first election after the Bosnian war was in 1996
She also signalled clear support for Ms Plavsic - who replaced the hard-line nationalist Radovan Karadzic - and other moderates.

Ms Albright urged the Croatian President, Franjo Tudjman, to improve the rights of the ethnic Serb minority in Croatia and do more to support the peace process in the former Yugoslavia.

American officials said she told Croatia that its inclusion in international groupings like Nato's partnership for peace depended on it guaranteeing equal rights to the Serb minority in Eastern Slavonia and encouraging the return of refugees.

Ms Albright's two-day trip to the Balkans was primarily designed to demonstrate support for those candidates in September's Bosnian general election who are supporting the Dayton peace agreement.

She is flying on to Moscow to join President Clinton for his summit with President Yeltsin on Tuesday.

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