Only 50 'Demobilized' Soldiers Remain
in Country says Izetbegovic
(SARAJEVO, March 19Reuters) Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic denies that any foreign forces remain in Bosnia in violation of the Dayton peace accord in an interview to be published on Wednesday, government radio said on Tuesday. NATO officials and some western governments have charged that 150-200 foreign Muslims who fought in support of government troops during the Bosnian war remain in the country.
The alleged presence of the soldiers, most of them said to be Iranian, has alarmed nations contributing to the NATO peace force in Bosnia, especially the United States which fears attacks on its troops. "It is absolutely not true that there are 200 mujahideen (Islamic warriors) left in Bosnia," government radio quoted Izetbegovic saying in an interview to be published in the Sarajevo weekly magazine Focus on Wednesday.
"It is true that there are some 50 demobilized former members of the El Mujehad unit in two locations and that it is no secret. They are civilians now who have been in Bosnian for quite some time and they stayed because they started families here and got our citizenship. We obliged ourselves to stop military cooperation with Iran in Dayton and we have done so... instead of military we need economic cooperation and that shouldn't bother anybody."
NATO forces closed down what they described as a "terrorist training camp" in central Bosnia in February, detaining three Iranian nationals and nine Bosnians. Bosnian government officials, greatly embarrassed by the incident, insist the facility was an anti-terrorist training center.
U.N. Raids Bosnian 'Terrorist School'
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