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Germany Deports Bosnian Refugees

September 1, 1998

SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) _ Germany sent 69 refugees back to Bosnia on Tuesday, despite strong criticism from Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Albright urged European allies Monday to recognize it was ``irresponsible″ to force people ``to return where there is no security, no housing and no jobs.″

In Bonn, German Chancellor Helmut Kohl rejected the criticism, saying Germany had welcomed twice as many refugees during the Bosnian war than other European countries combined.

Germany harbored 350,000 Bosnian refugees during the 1992-95 war. According to German officials, about 75,000 of them have returned to Bosnia voluntarily and another 1,200 have been deported since the war’s end.

But a U.N. official in Bosnia, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Germany had deported up to 2,244 refugees since 1995, many of them Muslims or Croats who cannot return to their homes under Bosnian Serb control.

In other Bosnian news Tuesday:

_ A Bosnian Croat, Gen. Stanko Sopta, was suspended from the army after the NATO-led peace force requested his removal for sending his troops to battle wildfires in neighboring Croatia without permission.

_ The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which is overseeing Bosnian elections later this month, punished a hard-line Serb party for displaying pictures of No. 1 war crimes suspect Radovan Karadzic at a rally.

Spokeswoman Nicole Szulc said two candidates of the Serb Democratic Party, or SDS, were removed from the candidate list for the assembly in the Bosnian Serb-ruled part of the country.

_ Bosnia’s top international mediator, Carlos Westendorp, decided to fire the mayor of the northern town of Orasje, Marko Benkovic, for preventing the return of non-Croat refugees. A new mayor was being named.

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