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BOSNEWS digest 438 -- 20/10/95

From: Davor <dwagner@mailbox.syr.edu>

Bosnia-Herzegovina News Directory

CONTENTS

  • [01] Bosnia, Belgrade To Open Liaison Offices

  • [02] Sacirbey: "Serbs Must Drop Idea Of Divided Bosnia"

  • [03] Aid Convoy Entered Gorazde

  • [04] UN Issued A 24-Hour Deadline To Bosnian Government

  • [05] Perry On Bosnia Peace Keeping Force

  • [06] Powell backs U.S. troops to keep peace in Bosnia

  • [07] Hearings -- US Armed Service Committee

  • [08] Nationalist Serbs Obstruct Water-Supply for Sarajevo

  • [09] Karadzic Says Captured French Pilots Kidnapped

  • [10] DEVELOPMENTS ON THE DIPLOMATIC FRONT AND ON THE GROUND IN THE BALKANS


  • [01] Bosnia, Belgrade To Open Liaison Offices

    20 Oct 1995

    SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Richard Holbrooke, assistant U.S. secretary of state, announced Wednesday that Bosnia and so-called "Yugoslavia" agreed to open liaison offices in each other's capital.

    Though it does not mean mutual diplomatic recognition, Holbrooke said it marked "a small step on a long and difficult road." Liaison offices would represent the highest level of formal contact between the two countries since 1992.

    Holbrooke did not say when the offices would open, but he said the plan "assumes full respect of the cease-fire," referring to a week-old truce that U.N. officials said seemed to be holding, except for sporadic fighting in the northwest.

    Holbrooke was to meet Croatian President Franjo Tudjman on Thursday to make sure the Croatian army follows through on threats to retake a Serb-held area of Croatia. So called Yugoslavia has indirectly warned it would intervene if the Croatian Army attacks Eastern Slavonia. Mr. Holbrooke says Croatian President Franjo Tudjman reassured him during a meeting in Zagreb that there will be no attack on Eastern Slavonia while the region's future is negotiated.

    But, Mr. Tudjman has set a November 30th deadline for an agreement to be reached on the territory's reintegration with the rest of Croatia.

    Mr. Tudjman's spokeswoman, Natasa Rajakovic, apparently seeking to calm fears of renewed war in Croatia, told reporters Wednesday that Zagreb did not intend to "take eastern Slavonia by force, just so that it could prove its military prowess."


    [02] Sacirbey: "Serbs Must Drop Idea Of Divided Bosnia"

    20 Oct 1995 CARTAGENA, Colombia

    Bosnian Foreign Minister Mohamed Sacirbey, speaking at the Non-Aligned summit in Colombia Wednesday, said his country would welcome U.S. and NATO troops on its soil as "an essential part of the peace process."

    "On the Serb side, in Belgrade, there is still a very real desire to partition our country. This is something inconsistent with the basis of the talks, and of course inconsistent with the U.N. Charter," Sacirbey told a news conference. He added the nationalist Bosnian Serbs interpreted two earlier sets of principles hammered out in talks in Geneva and New York as grounds for the splitting up of Bosnia.

    "The Serb side continues to interpret those principles ... as meaning the division of our country into a purely Serb ethnic entity, and then the rest of Bosnia-Herzegovina," said Sacirbey. "If this barrier is not overcome, I assure you there will not be peace."

    Bosnia would not talk in any form with the Bosnian Serbs led by their leader Radovan Karadzic, said Sacirbey. "We will not negotiate with them," he said. "I don't see how we could have negotiations involving democracy and human rights with people like Karadzic who is an indicted war criminal."

    Sacirbey came to the summit in Cartagena to lobby the 112-nation movement to allow his country to join.


    [03] Aid Convoy Entered Gorazde

    19 Oct 1995

    GORAZDE, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    For the first time during the current cease-fire a humanitarian aid convoy came to Gorazde, eastern Bosnia. The UN convoy used the road via Pale and Rogatica, facing no obstructions, nor it was stopped by Serb paramilitary at their checkpoints. Opening of the road towards Gorazde is a part of the cease-fire agreement. Serbian siege of the town and surrounding villages has lasted for 42 months.

    The civil trucks' and buses' traffic to and from Gorazde was announced in Sarajevo's UNPROFOR seat to resume, as soon as the UN estimates the road to be safe enough. Such traffic would be ensured by UNPROFOR armored vehicles.


    [04] UN Issued A 24-Hour Deadline To Bosnian Government

    20 Oct 1995

    SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    UN officials in Bosnia have issued a 24-hour deadline to the Bosnian Government and Bosnian Croats to allow UN observers access to their territory to monitor compliance with the ceasefire agreement.

    The UN military spokesman, Lieutenant Colonel Chris Vernon, says nothing has changed -- despite assurances from the highest Bosnian authorities.

    "If within 24 hours we do not get a far better level of freedom of movement, we will then begin to condemn the Bosnian Government and its military authorities for not allowing UNPROFOR to move freely to monitor the confrontation line as is part of our ma ndate.

    UN officials say the US negotiator, Richard Holbrooke, raised the issue with Bosnian leaders during talks Wednesday in Sarajevo.

    At the moment, Bosnian Army and HVO control 26.754 square km of the territory what makes 52.26%.


    [05] Perry On Bosnia Peace Keeping Force

    20 Oct 1995 WASHINGTON, United States

    Despite a critical reaction from Congress this week, US Defense Secretary William Perry says he believes Congress will eventually support President Clinton's plan to commit more than 20-thousand US troops to implement a peace accord in Bosnia. He said that the Administration's case for the Bosnia force is compelling and will eventually be su pported.

    "While we have been very candid with the Congress that there are risks involved with this operation, we have also been very clear that allowing the war to continue has even greater risks and even greater costs associated. We have some weeks ahea d of us to make this case."

    Mr. Perry said efforts continue to accommodate Russia's desire to join the peace force, but he reiterated that any non-NATO countries taking part will have to be under NATO command and control -- a condition Moscow says is unacceptable.


    [06] Powell backs U.S. troops to keep peace in Bosnia

    Oct 19 1995 WEST BLOOMFIELD, United States

    Retired Gen. Colin Powell said Wednesday U.S. troops would be an "appropriate tool" to police a Bosnian peace agreement. He added that the success of any proposed U.S. mission in Bosnia would depend on the strength of the peace agreement that results from negotiations.

    "The real test is, can we come up with an agreement that all of the NATO members can feel comfortable that the beligerents will enter into in good faith and try to bring to this terrible crisis to a solution." Powell said.

    "If we're going in there to fight somebody, then that is a different matter," he said.

    "You've got to send enough force in, so that if it turns out that you do get drawn into the conflict, you have enough power to deal with it immediately," Powell said. "My favorite way of doing business is that you take enough power in so nobody fools wit h you in the first place."


    [07] Hearings -- US Armed Service Committee

    19 Oct 1995 WASHINGTON, United States

    US State Secretary, Warren Christopher, defense secretary William Perry, and Chairman of the US Armed Forces Joint Chief of Staff, John Shalikashvili, spoke before the US Senate Armed Service Committee, in favor of the Clinton administration's intention to send 2O to 25 thousand US soldiers to Bosnia-Herzegovina, within the NATO peace forces, to implement the peace settlement, if and when it is agreed. Most of the Senators, as well as representatives of another Congress's house, have been opposed to that option, preferring liftin g of the arms embargo against Bosnian Government, enabling so Bosnian Army to liberated Bosnia's occupied areas, without risk of casualties of the US soldiers.

    William Perry said the arms embargo against the Bosnian Government should be be lifted, after the overall peace settlement is realized. Than will Bosnian Army be supplied with modern weapons and trained to use it, what will be the guarantee of lasting pe ace.

    The Committee's chairman, Republican Senator Jesse Helms, said the peace settlement gives Milosevic what he would not get or keep by military means.


    [08] Nationalist Serbs Obstruct Water-Supply for Sarajevo

    20 Oct 1995 SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Minister in the Bosnian Government for relations with the UN Hasan Muratovic informed that nationalist Serbs still obstruct water supply to Sarajevo. "A reason might be the fact that decision makers are not at Pale now but at Banjaluka. We will see. If the situation does not change in a few days we will take the right measures," says Muratovic.


    [09] Karadzic Says Captured French Pilots Kidnapped

    20 Oct 1995 BANJA LUKA, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Two French pilots shot down over Bosnia and captured by the Bosnian Serbs have now been kidnapped by an unknown group, Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic said Wednesday.

    "What we know so far is that they have been kidnapped by somebody and I have given the strongest order for an investigation into what happened,"' Karadzic told a news conference in the Serb stronghold of Banja Luka.

    French Foreign Minister Herve de Charette is in Belgrade to discuss the issue with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and seek direct contacts with the pilots' captors. French President Jacques Chirac has said he holds Milosevic responsible for their safety.

    Karadzic said the two men were undergoing medical treatment when they were seized.

    The French news magazine L'Express reported Wednesday -- before Karadzic spoke -- that France feared the pilots may be in the hands of a group of Bosnian Serb dissidents. "Paris is worried about a 'Lebanese-style' holding of hostages by an uncontrolled c lan," said the report, which gave no source.

    Defense Minister Charles Millon had said earlier that the pilots were in the hands of Bosnian Serbs but there had been no direct contacts with their captors despite mediation attempts by the Red Cross.


    [10] DEVELOPMENTS ON THE DIPLOMATIC FRONT AND ON THE GROUND IN THE BALKANS:

    After two straight days of Congressional hearings on his Administration's plans to send approximately 20,000 U.S. troops to Bosnia, President Clinton expressed optimism that the Congress would approve the deployment. Clinton reiterated his position that the troops will likely pull out of Bosnia after less than a year. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich sounded less optimistic than Clinton when he said on ABC's Good Morning Thursday, "I think the Administration is losing ground on both sides of the aisle. There is growing skepticism about what they are trying to do."

    On the ground, Serbian forces have reportedly seized four miles of territory north of the strategic town of Sanski Most in northwestern Bosnia. Fighting in the region has continued despite the official implementation of a country-wide cease-fire.

    In Zagreb, Croatian President Franjo Tudjman reportedly assured Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke that the Croatian Army would not attempt to liberate eastern Slavonia from Serbian occupation, although he reserved the right to do so if peace negotiations did not produce a peaceful settlement by the end of November.

    Beginning on October 31, the U.S. will host peace negotiations between Bosnian President Alija Izetbegovic, Croatian President Franjo Tudjman, and Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

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