BosNet NEWS - September 13, 1995

Bosnia-Herzegovina News Directory

From: Dzevat Omeragic <>

B o s N e t - September 13, 1995

Donji Vakuf, Jajce, Sipovo liberated

Up to 50,000 Serb refugees move across Bosnia

U.S. urges restraint by Bosnian Croats Army and Bosnian Croats (HVO)

Perry says Serb air defense nearly destroyed

US, British and Russian diplomatic moves

Russian statement and American reaction

Italy said near agreement on "stealth" jets

Kohl says Russian statement on Serbs unacceptable

Serb street protest attacks U.S. and Milosevic

Pavarotti's concert for the children of Bosnia

Albanian president says NATO strikes should continue

The Croatian news agency HINA reported that Croat troops had captured the key central Bosnian town of Jajce, together with Sipovo and Drvar to the west. Before, the United Nations said it appeared the Bosnian Army together with its Croat allies had captured the crossroad town of Donji Vakuf. Separatist Bosnian Serb military sources said 6,000 Serb troops were surrounded near Donji Vakuf. Bosnian television said BH Army was closing in on Bosanski Petrovac from the direction of Bihac. The aim of this offensive appears to be to link the western enclave of Bihac with central Bosnia via a road passing through towns which have never been threatened in this war -- Mrkonjic Grad, Kljuc, Bosanski Petrovac. Military experts say that the fall of Donji Vakuf and Jajce would be a disaster for the nationalist Serb Army. Gen. Rupert Smith, U.N. military commander in Bosnia, pressed for no let-up in the raids until the beseiging Serbs removed their guns from Sarajevo.

According to Reuter up to 50,000 Serb civilians were fleeing towns in central and western Bosnia and heading north toward Banja Luka after a sudden advance of Croat and Bosnian government forces. The civilians were leaving towns of Jajce, Drvar, Mrkonjic Grad, Kljuc and Donji Vakuf, along the main road linking the northwest Bihac area to the central Bosnian town of Zenica.

U.N. officials reiterated Wednesday that they will not stop until the Serbs withdraw all their weapons around Sarajevo. UNPROFOR spokesman Lt.-Col. Vernon said: "This is not negotiable. ... The heavy weapons have to move." NATO warplanes on Tuesday attacked a half-dozen Serb military targets around Sarajevo and in eastern Bosnia -- ammunition dumps, storage sites, militarily strategic bridges, and command and control posts. Tuesday's pounding was the heaviest in the Sarajevo area since the intensive air strikes began nearly two weeks ago. The barracks at Sarajevo suburb of Lukavica was hit again by NATO Wednesday evening. NATO and U.N. Rapid Reaction Force artillery bombarded roads, power, communications and industry around Gorazde in eastern Bosnia and Banja Luka, Prijedor and Doboj. The news agency of rump Yugoslavia reported heavy losses. They also reported that 100 bombs had fallen on Hadzici in 24 hours and that NATO rockets hit targets in the city of Visegrad. Comander of nationalist Serb Army and indicted war criminal. Gen. Ratko Mladic has refused to withdraw guns and tanks from around Sarajevo and other "safe areas". But U.N. sources said more junior Serb commanders had been in touch with peacekeepers seeking respite from the heaviest pummelling they have suffered during 3 1/2 years of war.

The United States Wednesday urged Bosnian Army and Bosnian Croat forces (HVO) to refrain from military action so as not to damage a current U.S. peace initiative. State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said: "We believe that forbearance from military action is the only way to enhance the opportunities for peace ... This applies to all parts of Bosnia-Herzegovina, not just the safe areas." "The United States has repeatedly urged all parties in the region, at the highest level, not to take actions which could aggravate the situation in the Balkans. We believe that a negotiated settlement is the only possible outcome to this very tragic conflict."

U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry said the NATO's air strikes had now virtually destroyed Serb air defenses. "Within a few days, (NATO aircraft) will be able to fly with impunity over any Bosnian Serb space, provided they are flying high enough that they are not subjected to ground fire from manned portable systems." The Serb air defense system in eastern Bosnia has been destroyed by allied bombs and missiles and the same would be true in western Bosnia in a few days. "Command and control has been ... dramatically impeded. A good many of their ammunition dumps have been destroyed. So there has been a very substantial impact on the Bosnian Serbs.'' Perry also said that NATO was actively working on a plan to send troops into Bosnia to help enforce any final peace agreement. He estimated that as many as 15,000 to 18,000 U.S. troops might be needed as part of such a force but stressed that no final figure could be determined until a peace agreement was reached.

U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke returned to Belgrade Wednesday for more talks with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, who has taken on the role as the chief negotiator for the Bosnian Serbs.

A Russian envoy, Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov, was to meet the top U.N. official in former Yugoslavia, Yasushi Akashi in Zagreb, Croatia, Wednesday.

In London, Britain floated a plan for a Sarajevo cease-fire aimed at encouraging Serbs to withdraw their heavy guns from around the city and thereby win an end to the NATO bombardment.

A Russian government statement accused NATO of genocide and said Russia could not be indifferent to "the tragic fate of the children of our brother-Slavs." The statement said: "The survival of the present generation of Bosnian Serbs, which is threatened by genocide, is called into question." The United States took steps to ease Moscow's concern about the air strikes. U.S. President Bill Clinton rejected Russian charges that the two-week-old NATO campaign had threatened the Serbs with genocide. President Clinton told reporters in Washington: "There has been no genocide there. There has been an extraordinary amount of care and discipline, with firmness and strength, and they (the air raids) were appropriately done."

Defense Department spokesman Ken Bacon told reporters that discussions were under way with Italy on basings the "stealth" jets. Bacon declined to discuss the dispute. But Italian diplomats in Rome said privately on Tuesday that Italy was holding out for a bigger role in the Bosnia peace process in return for allowing the Stealth jets into the country. U.S. officials said the Italian government was angered in part because the Italians were not given a role in a press conference in Geneva last Friday by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke. According to some dilomat the planes should be in Italy as early as next week.

German Chancellor Helmut Kohl on Wednesday described a Russian statement accusing NATO of genocide against Bosnian Serbs as unacceptable. At a Johannesburg news conference, Kohl said: "I consider the form in which the statement was made to be unacceptable. I support the policy of the United Nations and NATO. This whole discussion would have evolved if the very reasonable demands made to the Bosnian Serbs to withdraw their heavy weapons (from around Sarajevo) had been met by them"

Hundreds of angry Serbs demonstrated in front of a U.S. diplomatic building in Belgrade Wednesday. The crowd was burning American flag and some of them described Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic as a traitor as he met U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke. In a sign of discontent at Belgrade's refusal to do more to aid fellow Serbs in Bosnia, demonstrators chanted slogans and stuck up a poster portraying Milosevic as a fascist collaborator with the West. They plastered a nearby wall with posters reading "USA - World number one serial killer" and "Clinton - Hitler". As the protest went on, Holbrooke, an assistant U.S. secretary of state, held talks in Belgrade with Milosevic, who is negotiating with international mediators on behalf of the Bosnian Serbs. U.S. officials would not immediately comment on the details of the meeting.

Two music super-stars, Pavarotti and Meatloaf, joined other stars of rap, rock and opera Tuesday to sing for the children of Bosnia. "If one child gets helped, God's looking down on us and God will smile," rock giant Meatloaf told Reuters. A night of music attended by 15,000 people including Britain's Princess Diana, the guest of honor. Among others, there were: Dolores O'Riordan, lead singer of The Cranberries, American Michael Bolton Italy's blues king Zucchero, Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran Irish folk group The Chieftains.

Singer Bono and guitarist The Edge of Irish supergroup U-2 and former Roxy Music musician Brian Eno pooled forces with Pavarotti for a new song, "Miss Sarajevo."

RAI television, which broadcast the concert live in Italy, cut during the song to black and white film of a beauty pageant in the Bosnian capital at which swim-suited contestants paraded with a banner reading: "Don't let them kill us." The audience at the open-air concert, held in a central park in Pavarotti's northern home town of Modena, paid between $20 and $155 for tickets to the 2 1/2 show. All receipts, plus donations from Italian television viewers and proceeds from sales around the world of audio and video recordings of the concert, will go to the small British charity War Child. Pavarotti told the crowd: "We believe that when this war is over for the children, they will want to sing. I know because I was 10 when the war ended here and the first thing I wanted to do to show we were alive was sing." The night ended with Pavarotti and his friends all on stage to sing a new song, "The Bridge is Broken" and the opera maestro's signature aria "Nessun Dorma". Written by composer-conductor Michael Kaymen, "The Bridge is Broken" was inspired by the famous Ottoman Turkish bridge in the Bosnian city of Mostar, where War Child hopes to set up a musical therapy center for children traumatised by war.

Albanian President Sali Berisha met President Clinton Tuesday. He praised U.S. efforts in the Balkans and said NATO air strikes should continue. He said: "I think it is the right way to contribute to peace and stability, because these air strikes are undoing what (the) embargo did wrong." He said Clinton told him that the U.S. supported the restoration of human rights of ethnic Albanians in the Serbian province of Kosovo, which has more than 90 percent Albanian population. Albania has protested against the resettlement of about a thousand Serb refugees from the Krajina to Kosovo, saying it was an effort to change the ethnic structure of the area. A White House spokesman said that during the meeting Clinton announced the U.S. intention to equip and outfit the Albanian contingent participating in the Partnership for Peace, a loose military association with the NATO alliance.
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