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Bosnian Serb Fired Military Brass Call for Negotiations

November 15, 1996

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (AP) _ A deputy to the Bosnian Serbs’ fired military commander says his chief _ an indicted war crimes suspect _ is ready to step down if he can pick a successor, a newspaper reported today.

The interview with Gen. Manojlo Milovanovic in the Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti signaled that the military brass is willing to negotiate with the civilian authorities who fired them last weekend.

Civilian leaders fired Gen. Ratko Mladic and his entire general staff, claiming Mladic could no longer be effective because of war crimes indictments against him. But the military brass refused to go.

Milovanovic, Mladic’s chief of staff, indicated that Mladic was ready to step down, but only if he and his officers named a replacement. A relative unknown, Pero Colic, has been appointed to replace Mladic.

``We would have proposed a young, capable, militarily educated man to become army chief,″ Milovanovic said. ``They chose a man who has no military education.″

He urged negotiations ``so we can reach an agreement and prevent bloodshed among Serbs.″

Mladic and former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic are the highest-ranking suspects indicted by the U.N. war crimes tribunal for alleged atrocities during the 3 1/2-year war that ended with the signing of the Dayton peace accord last year.

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