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Silajdzic Launches Attack on Croatia
Charges Croatians with Undermining Bosnian Federation
LONDON, April 18 (Reuters) — Former Bosnian prime minister Haris Silajdzic on Thursday launched a bitter attack on Croatia for encroaching on his country's territory. Silajdzic, who last weekend formed a new political party to fight elections due in September and declared he would stand for president, forecast another war in Bosnia if its external borders were not secured.

He said parts of Bosnia were an "expanded Croatia," under the control of the HVO Bosnian Croat militia, with Croatian currency in circulation, Croatian flags flying and walls decorated with pictures of Croatian President Franjo Tudjman. "That is not a basis for normal relations between two countries," Silajdzic told a London news conference. "This violates the sovereignty and integrity of our country."

Bosnia and Croatia are formally bound together in a federation, but there has been little rapprochement since the agreement was brokered by the United States two years ago. "The federation exists only on paper," Silajdzic said. War was almost inevitable in Bosnia if its external borders were not secured, as was called for in the Dayton peace accord on Bosnia agreed in the United States late last year.

"If the international community fails to protect Bosnia's borders... we have a fertile field for a wider and bigger conflict in the area," said Silajdzic. "It is time to prevent another war. We cannot make the same mistake twice." Silajdzic met British Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind on Thursday and was heading for Washington for talks with U.S. officials.

He had asked Rifkind to initiate a diplomatic campaign to establish the integrity of Bosnia's borders, as national reconstruction, elections and the safe return of refugees would not be possible if this were not achieved. In September's elections, Silajdzic stands against President Alija Izetbegovic and the ruling Muslim nationalist Party of Democratic Action (SDA), from which Silajdzic resigned in January when he stepped down as prime minister.

Elections are a requirement under the Dayton peace agreement which brought an end to 43 months of war in Bosnia. An opinion poll earlier this month showed Silajdzic, who heads the opposition Party for Bosnia-Herzegovina, to be the country's most popular politician. He resigned as prime minister after a dispute with the SDA over the extent to which the Bosnian central government should be guided by Muslim nationalism.

Additional resources
Apr 14 · Silajdzic Announces New Political Party
Apr 13 · Silajdzic Poised to Announce New Bosnian Party
Apr 6 · Silajdzic Tops Izetbegovic as Most Popular Candidate
Feb 9 · Haris Silajdzic, former Bosnian Prime Minister forms new political party

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