Associated Press

June 6, 1997

U.S. To Name Ambassador to Bosnia

WASHINGTON -- A career diplomat who's an expert on the former Soviet republics is slated to become ambassador to Bosnia where the United States is trying to maintain peace, an administration official said Friday.

Richard D. Kauzlarich, now ambassador to Azerbaijan and a former director of the State Department's office for newly independent states, is the top candidate, the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Rudolph ``Rudy'' Perina, deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Canadian affairs, was in line for the top U.S. envoy job in Croatia. But a State Department official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said he made it known in the past few days that he wouldn't be taking the job.

President Clinton hasn't formally nominated Kauzlarich, who is among dozens of career and political appointees waiting to take up dozens of vacant or soon-to-be empty top embassy jobs around the world.

New envoys to the nations that used to be part of Yugoslavia will be coming into the jobs at a sensitive time. The United States and its NATO allies are pressuring the various ethnic groups to honor the Dayton peace accords that ended 3 1/2 years of brutal fighting in Bosnia.

The 8,500 American peacekeepers who are part of a 30,000-person force are scheduled to leave by June 1998, although both Clinton and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright have hinted a small follow-on group might stay.

In Sarajevo, Kauzlarich faces difficult challenges, among them being the third U.S. ambassador since the spring of 1995 when there was a Washington-ordered embassy shakeup. John Menzies left in December of 1996; he had replaced his boss, Victor Jackovich, who left the ambassador post in April 1995.

Jackovich's colleagues said his strong support for Bosnia's Muslim-led government and its territorial integrity became perceived by some in the State Department as a barrier to the speedy resolution of the war.

In Zagreb, Peter Galbraith will soon be leaving. As ambassador to Croatia, he has been both a force in getting the Dayton accords signed and, at times, a thorn in the side of Croatia's leaders.

Once close to President Franjo Tudjman, Galbraith provoked him by visibly siding with Serb refugees fleeing a Croat offensive in August 1995 and more recently by backing a U.S.-financed opposition weekly newspaper.

Other fresh names circulating in the prospective ambassadorial pool include: