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(E) Karadzic 'saved by French leak'
By Nenad N. Bach | Published  03/4/2002 | Politics | Unrated
(E) Karadzic 'saved by French leak'
BBC News 
      Karadzic slipped away with French help, reports claim 
      An investigation has been launched into claims that a French army officer 
      deliberately wrecked last week's Nato attempt to capture Bosnian Serb 
      wartime leader Radovan Karadzic. This is a pretty large allegation - right now we are investigating the reports 
      S-For spokeswoman Angela Johnson. 
      The unnamed army captain is said to have telephoned a Bosnian Serb 
      policeman to tip him off that a Nato operation was about to begin in the 
      town of Foca, say reports in UK and German newspapers. 
      "A French officer revealed the (imminent) operation," a US diplomat, Shaun 
      Byrnes, is quoted as saying by a German newspaper. 
      However, a US embassy spokesman in Belgrade said Mr Byrnes had not talked 
      about the affair to anyone. 
      France heads Nato's multi-national force in south-eastern Bosnia, where 
      Foca is located. 
      A spokeswoman for Nato's force in Bosnia, S-For, confirmed that a "very 
      thorough" investigation was being conducted into the claims. 
      "This is a pretty large allegation," spokeswoman Captain Angela Johnson 
      told BBC News Online. 
      "Right now we are investigating the reports. We have no information at the 
      moment that suggests it is true. However, appropriate action would be 
      taken if it was found to be true." 
      The French have been seen as allies of the Serbs since World War I. Last 
      December a French army major was jailed for spying for Belgrade ahead of 
      the Kosovo conflict. 
      The Hamburg newspaper Abendblatt, which reported Mr Byrnes's alleged 
      statement, also published what it said were transcripts of the French 
      captain's conversation with the Bosnian Serb policeman. 
      Similar reports also appear in the UK's Times and Daily Mail newspapers. 
      According to the Times, the conversation was monitored by British 
      Border 'sealed' 
      The UK Ministry of Defence refused to comment on the reports. 
      The Nato operation around Foca continued throughout Thursday and Friday, 
      and the border with Montenegro was reportedly sealed over the weekend. 
            You should pay attention to Foca 
            French officer's alleged tip-off 
      Mr Karadzic is one of the international war crimes tribunal's most wanted 
      suspects.But S-For said the big manhunt was not continuing on Monday, and "normal" 
      operations had been resumed. 
      According to the Times newspaper's account of the alleged conversation, 
      the French officer rings a Bosnian policeman who is clearly known to him. 
      The Bosnian policeman is said to sound surprised and indignant at being 
      called early in the morning, and asks: "What do you want? Why are you 
      calling me?" 
      The captain, described as a member of S-For, says: "You should pay 
      attention to Foca." 
      French alliance 
      The conversation reportedly took place early on Thursday, as US 
      helicopters were leaving their base in northern Bosnia, giving Mr Karadzic 
      just enough time to get away. 
      Allegations that French diplomats and military sources have helped the 
      Serbs have been made on several occasions. 
      The most serious claim resulted last December in the conviction for 
      treason of a French major, Pierre-Henri Bunel, who was found guilty of 
      tipping off the Serbs about Nato military plans before the Kosovo 
      He had denied treason, insisting that he had been acting under the orders 
      of French intelligence services. 
      In 1998, a French S-For spokesman was removed from his duties after it was 
      found that he had leaked details of two earlier operations to arrest Mr 
      And in 1997, a senior war crimes tribunal prosecutor said suspects in the 
      French sector felt they were living "in absolute security". 
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