The peacekeeping force in Bosnia should remain at its current strength for at least another year to prevent the country from sliding into war, a top international envoy says.
Even with a more moderate Bosnian-Serb government coming into power, the situation in Bosnia is too delicate to consider scaling down the force, said Carlos Westendorp, the chief civilian official in Bosnia."There can be no substantial reductions of the presence of troops," he said Thursday.
Westendorp also said the Bosnian Serbs' wartime leader Radovan Karadzic could be brought before the international war crimes tribunal within two months if moderate Premier Milorad Dodik manages to stabilize his position.
Dodik and his Cabinet will be sworn in at a session of the Bosnian Serb Parliament on Saturday. He was elected premier by a narrow parliamentary majority last week.
"If I were him (Karadzic) I'd be thinking of packing," Westendorp told reporters. "If Dodik controls the police, Karadzic's not going to be able to protect himself."
The mandate of the U.S.-led peacekeeping force of 32,000 troops runs out in June, but NATO is already drawing up plans for the force to stay longer.