Hamza Baksic opined in independent Oslobodjenje (9/11), "Bosnia-Herzegovina has to choose between the worst peace and the worst war.... Human rights are the only measure. If the present leadership, with Nikola Koljevic as their most moderate representative, stays in the Serb part along with the present orientation, then they will not respect human rights. Their present leadership and policy will lead to war again.
"Both the peace solution, if that is what this is, or the possible continuation of war, will expose all the weaknesses of Bosnia. Both options contain all the mistaken estimates from 1991 to today and all the politial and human sins of our declared friends.... One actual event can be connected with Bosnia. The world recently marked 50 years since the end of the second Wold War and the Japanese capitulation. However, Japan, along with Germany, is the winner of the latest economic race in the world. On the other hand, Vietnam is seeking help from America. Thirty years of war turned the Vietnamese into people with warrior's minds. Knowing only how to fight for freedom, now that they have it, they do not know what to do with it."
"First Step Toward True Negotiations"
Independent Oslobodjenje (9/8) front-paged this commentary by Vlastimir Mijovic, "It has been a long time since the victim and the executioner have met face to face.... Surely, the meeting of foreign ministers will not have spectacular results. Nevertheless, the diplomacy is warming up. The big event is the meeting itself. Each beginning starts with a first step. This is the first step toward true negotiations that should result in a peace, an agreement, a deal or a compromise....
"It is even more difficult to predict if the outcome will be just. However, if the international community persists in its military and political pressures, they will achieve peace more quickly.... If Moscow were prepared to join the international military and political efforts to exert pressure, the chances of success would be even greater."
SLOVENIA: "Serbian Aggresssor Rewarded"
Marjeta Simunic wrote for right-of-center Slovenec (9/11), "After 41 months of slaughtering and persecuting of the non-Serb inhabitants...the Serbian aggressor was rewarded. This is incomprehensible for all those who are...still able to use common sense.... The vague Geneva agreement is an official confirmation of the beginning of the end for an internationally recognized state.... Time will show the actual fate of the Bosnian Muslims.... "The Bosnian tragedy and resulting recent disagreements among the most important international factions...may also indicate another division of Europe and the world.... The decisive international players...have failed in their search for a formula for East-West integration and...they cannot or do not want to offer more than a recipe for a Cold War."
BRITAIN: "A Step Toward Peace"
The conservative Daily Telegraph opined (9/9), "The agreement reached in Geneva yesterday by the warring parties in Bosnia is an important step toward a negotiated settlement.... Yesterday's agreement provides a framework for peace. Now will begin even trickier negotiations on how the territory should be divided between the federation and the republic. A key to this will be the fate of Sarajevo, the symbol of a once truly multiethnic state....
"For the moment, at least, Mr. Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. assistant secretary of state, deserves thanks.... The Bosnia-Herzegovina which the outside world recognized in 1992 will not be resurrected in its old form; given the military strength of the Serbs and the understandable reluctance of foreign powers to commit ground troops against them, that was probably inevitable. However, a state which had often seemed in danger of being swallowed by Croatia and Serbia does now have a chance of survival.
"For yesterday's agreement to hold will require sustained diplomatic and where necessary, military pressure, from the West. The worry remains that President Clinton, already preparing to run for re-election next year, will be tempted to appease the Serbs in order to reach a settlement as quickly as possible. The president will also have to stand up to threats from Mr. Yeltsin over NATO bombing and artillery attacks."
FRANCE: "America Is Back"
Bernard Guetta told his Radio France Inter audience (9/11), "For the first time since the beginning of the (Yugoslav) war, the Americans have taken world affairs into their hands. They are the ones deciding.... They are not afraid of irritating the Russians, (or) stealing their ideas and the show from the Europeans.... America is back.... Chirac's determination...accounts for the U.S. awakening.... Suddenly,the French were shaking the Americans. Competition, in politics, has its good side."
In the view of Baudouin Bollaert in conservative Figaro (9/9-10), "The U.S. commitment has been crucial. Holbrooke's cleverness was to put back on the table all the issues on which talks had broken down.... He hasn't won the game yet. But he is rewarded for his efforts. Europe--and Yeltsin's Russia...cannot but salute the dawning of a 'pax Americana.'"
"Most Difficult Part Remains"
Influential Liberation's Veronique Soule concluded (9/9-10), "The most difficult part remains to be done. By failing to get Belgrade to recognize Croatia's territorial integrity, the U.S. negotiator failed to reach his ultimate goal, i.e. the mutal recognition of Croatia, Bosnia and (Serbia-Montenegro). Zagreb may now try to recapture eastern Slavonia militarily.... The Americans want to move fast. They will have to serve notice to all those who consider this accord a piece of paper."
GERMANY: "What Milestone?"
Klaus Natorp judged (9/11) on the front-page of right-of-center Frankfurter Allgemeine, "This 'declaration of principle' is first of all nothing but a piece of paper that is, in addition, full of contradictions.... Therefore it is no wonder that hardly anyone in Sarajevo shares the U.S. view that the Geneva declaration of principle is a 'milestone' on the way to peace in ex-Yugoslavia....
"How should it ever be possible to take away 20 percent of the territory the Bosnian Serbs captured?... And because they are still not willing to withdraw their heavy weapons from around Sarajevo despite NATO's bombardments, we must take their intentions seriously. Obviously, they are not yet willing to make peace.... The critical tones from Moscow are also not appropriate to consider the Geneva 'milestone' as a real milestone."
"A 'Disgraceful' Peace?"
Sabine Rosenbladt observed in centrist weekly Die Woche of Hamburg (9/7), "There are now voices in the Western press that speak of a'disgraceful peace.' But let us be honest: What is more cruel: To tell the Muslims clearly the truth that no foreign power wants to recapture their state of Bosnia-Herzegovina, or to leave them in the dark about this, thus letting them continue to suffer? This is a question of conscience. Second, if the West accepts the division into two parts, it will undoubtedly approve the policy of 'ethnic cleansing' and brute force. But a multiethnic solution can be enforced in the Balkans only with brute force. This is horrible, but true."
CANADA: "Breeze Of Peace Over Bosnia"
The weekend edition of French-language Le Devoir carried a front page commentary by political correspondent Jocelyn Coulon (9/9): "What happened in Geneva...is still not the agreement that would put a definitive end to the conflict in Bosnia. It is nonetheless a major diplomatic opening and it was greeted as such, calmly and with prudence.... Richard Holbooke, the master of the political game in Bosnia for the past month, did not hesitate to declare that the tragedy was not over. It is a nice breeze of peace over Bosnia, and over the rest of former Yugoslavia, but there is still much to do."
"Peace In Bosnia?"
Senior editorialist Frederic Wagniere wrote in French-language La Presse (9/9) concerning the Geneva agreement, "The strangest element of the Geneva agreement is undoubtedly the renaissance of the notion of a Yugoslavia, the union of the Slavs of the south.... After four years of warfare, the Serbs, the Croats and the Bosnians have reconsidered their notions about political liasions among themselves simply because they had no other choice. They speak the same language in the rural areas and in the city, maybe even on the battleground. Yugoslavia, in one form or another, is not an ideal. It is a simple necessity, unless the Croats, the Bosnians and the Serbs want to continue killing each other."
HUNGARY: "Clinton Trying To Follow Kissinger's Example"
According to conservative Magyar Nemzet (9/6), "No one should be misled by recent NATO bombings in former Yugoslavia: The United States is ready to accept the ethnic division of Bosnia and has no intentions of changing the status quo. The only reason why NATO decided to bomb Serbian military installations is to force them to return to the negotiating table....
"Peace is within easy reach in Vietnam. This is what former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said two weeks before the presidential elections in 1972; President Clinton by bombing Serbs in Bosnia is trying to follow Kissinger's successful example."
TURKEY: "Turkey Plays A Special Role"
Mass-appeal Sabah's (9/7) columnist Gengiz Candar today wrote of his flight to Geneva with Bosnian President Izetbegovic, "This is the test prepared by Holbrooke after his meeting with the Bosnian delegation in Ankara. The same text was taken by Holbrooke to Serbian President Milosevic. They said that after each meeting Americans had written a new text and that this was the latest text. The most important dispute is over the description of the independence and sovereignty of Bosnia. Serbs want a constitutional arrangement which will let Bosnia, and later Bosnian Serbs, establish a confederation with Serbia. "Izetbegovic does not want even to discuss this.... He is particularly pleased that (Turkish leader) Demirel fully supports his 12-point peace plan and that Holbrooke mentioned that Turkey has a special place in the Bosnian issue."
PAKISTAN: "An Unfair Resolution"
An editorial in the centrist News (9/10) maintained, "The 'partition' formula which was hammered out...is extremely complex to be worked easily. It has still too many loose strings and unsettled questions that could ultimately wreck it and renew war. But regrettably, the agreement intrinsically remains an unfair resolution, denying the Bosnian Muslims the right to the whole state that had received international recognition."
INDIA: "Some Justice"
An editorial in Urdu-language Pratap stressed (9/11), "The conference convened by the United States to solve the Bosnian crisis has now made it clear to Bosnian Muslims what kind of justice the United States intended for them.... The division of Bosnia has been proposed on disproportionate lines."
Readers of leading, independent Kompas (9/11) saw this editorial, "The tripartite talks...produced a number of commitments...which could form a milestone for peace in the Balkans. Yet we should be wary of empty promises. Both Holbrooke and EU mediator Carl Bildt reiterated that 'peace is still a long way away.'... NATO's continued attacks suggest that the Serbs remain unwilling to withdraw their artillery from Sarajevo's boundaries.... Their intent appears to be to occupy Sarajevo, oust the Bosnian government, and expel all Bosnian Muslims. Given these realities, the fragility of the Geneva accord requires a firm commitment and financial support to ensure its fruition."