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Del Ponte presses NATO over Karadzic whereabouts

SARAJEVO, May 5 (Reuters) - Chief U.N. war crimes prosecutor Carla del Ponte said on Friday she wanted NATO to say clearly whether fugitive Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic was hiding in Bosnia or elsewhere in the region.

Karadzic and his military chief Ratko Mladic were indicted by the U.N. war crimes tribunal for genocide during Bosnia's 1992-95 war. Karadzic is believed to move between Bosnia and Montenegro while Mladic is reportedly hiding in Serbia.

"I would like to know if Karadzic is in Republika Srpska (the Serb half of Bosnia), is he in Montenegro or in Serbia?" del Ponte told reporters in Sarajevo.

"I'm asking NATO to be more proactive because I think it is important that if Karadzic is not here that they make a verification of these kinds of rumours so that I can divert my attention to another country," del Ponte said.

NATO commanders in Bosnia have said repeatedly over the past year that they had no evidence that Karadzic was still in the Balkan country. But neither have they dismissed such a possibility.

Karadzic, on the run for the past 10 years, was indicted with Mladic for genocide over the 1995 Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Muslims and the siege of Sarajevo in which more than 11,000 people died.

NATO peacekeepers deployed in Bosnia as part of the Dayton accords that ended the war. Numerous searches for Karadzic and Mladic since then have proved fruitless.

The European Union this week suspended negotiations on closer ties with Serbia over its failure to hand Mladic over to the U.N. court by an end of April deadline.

Del Ponte said she was still hoping that Mladic would face justice soon but that she was not forgetting Karadzic and four other fugitives indicted by the tribunal who are still at large.

"As you know ... I am fighting with Belgrade to obtain Mladic but I am not forgetting that Karadzic is still at large. I want to have all six in The Hague before my mandate expires," she said.

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