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BosNet Digest V5 #15 / Jan. 9, 1996

From: Davor <dwagner@MAILBOX.SYR.EDU>

Bosnia-Herzegovina News Directory

CONTENTS

  • [01] Lack of political concept makes Bosnia's position difficult

  • [02] Humanitarian Air Lift Saved Sarajevo (Commentary -- Oslobodjenje)

  • [03] Situation in Mostar

  • [04] Clinton Will Visit Bosnia This Weekend

  • [05] Metropolitan Nikolai in Sarajevo

  • [06] US Special Envoy In Belgrade

  • [07] TUZLA, Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • [08] Book On Bosnia Promoted in Zagreb (ONASA)

  • [09] HERE ARE THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS ON THE DIPLOMATIC FRONT AND ON THE GROUND IN THE BALKANS:

  • [10] AN ACSB CALL TO ACTION


  • [01] Lack of political concept makes Bosnia's position difficult

    January 6, 1995 SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Bosnia is in a much more difficult situation today than after the last war because it does not have a clear political concept for the future, said a commentary in the Sarajevo daily Oslobodjenje on Saturday.

    "Bosnia has defended itself once again, but it will painstakingly fight for its fate and stability with political means for a long time," Ibrahim Prohic wrote. "In this regard, '96 was considerably more difficult than '46, and uncertainty is perhaps the most distinct difference. Then, people knew the war was over, and now they are only hoping for a stable peace. Then, peace was based on inside cohesion, and this one is being implemented by international forces. The interior- policy matrix is much more conflicting now, with many open or concealed antagonisms, therefore unstable. The balance between integration and factors which are opposite to it is fragile. Bosnia will hardly survive with the Dayton carving. While reconstruction was the main task in '46, now it is accompanied by the unavoidable transition and search for an optimum political formula.

    "In '46 the state had a clear vision (class state), so it constituted a political system faster. Now the situation is much more complicated, there is no clear vision, and even less concord on basic principles and concrete solutions.

    "Aspirations for a national state (ethnically pure) are not concealed in the Serb entity. The Croat dominant political factor (HDZ) covertly prefers the same formula. Bosniaks (Bosnian Moslems), who have definitely become a political people (and the most deserving that the authentic and historic idea of Bosnia still has a chance), are the least homogenous and are wandering between the national and the civic.

    "Even in the SDA, an immanently national political organization, its members are stretched out between the national and the civic concept, between partial and integral, desired and given, possible and real. Bosniaks outside the SDA prefer the civic. The same goes for the HNV and SGV (Croat National Council and Serb Civic Council). It is uncertain which direction the voting body will take.

    "In any case, a complex formula is being sought that would reconcile the civic and national. The problem of this Bosnia is that it is located between two national states which are a threat to its survival with their radical methods in practice," Prohic wrote.

    [02] Humanitarian Air Lift Saved Sarajevo (Commentary -- Oslobodjenje)

    January 6, 1995 SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) air bridge with Sarajevo has saved the Bosnian capital from complete Serb strangulation, said a commentary in the Sarajevo daily Oslobodjenje on Saturday.

    "Since Thursday, January 4, UNHCR planes have not been delivering food for Sarajevo," Emir Habul wrote. "This has practically ended the longest air bridge in history, although the formal closing will take place on January 9. Hence, Sarajevo has surpassed Berlin, which held the unpopular record for decades. This fact, as well as the number of 13,000 flights, best illustrate the depth of the blockade in which the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina found itself. "It is superfluous to say that food and medicine deliveries saved the residents of Sarajevo. However, this biggest air transport in modern history also has a wider political meaning.

    "Still, thanks to the fact that the Butmir airport was taken over by U.N. troops from the Serb army and that the air bridge was later established, the concept of a total blockade of Sarajevo failed. Serb strategists had counted that the city would fall within two months without food, medicines, water and energy supplies. Hence, the main strategic trump was taken from the Serb generals in the very start -- subjugation of Sarajevo.

    "The presence of U.N. troops at the airport also enabled the digging of the tunnel (under it). If the JNA, that is, the Serb army, had stayed at the airport which it captured on April 5, 1992, one would not even have thought of digging a tunnel. Thanks to this 'emergency exit,' maneuver of units was possible, Mt. Igman's fall was prevented in late July 1993, and there was some movement of civilians and delivery of necessary food and fuel," Habul said.

    [03] Situation in Mostar

    Tue, 9 Jan 1996 ZAGREB, Croatia

    A senior adviser to U.S. President Clinton said Monday that he was not satisfied with the speed of implementing the Bosnian peace deal and singled out the city of Mostar as an area of great concern.

    Special adviser Robert Gallucci made the comments after talks with Croatian Defense Minister Gojko Susak, who stressed Zagreb's support for a federation of Bosnian Croats and Muslims which has been deeply strained by ethnic violence in Mostar.

    Susak also suggested that any disputes which could not be solved within the federation, formed after a 10-month Muslim-Croat war devastated Mostar, could go to arbitration. "During Galluci's trip to Sarajevo I think he is going to pose some direct questions which would have to be handed over to arbitration if we cannot find an agreement," Susak said.

    Gallucci told reporters: "We have been having a number of individual problems that developed in a number of places in the news of the last three days. Some of the worst incidents (were) in Mostar," he said, adding that this was of "great concern."

    [04] Clinton Will Visit Bosnia This Weekend

    Tue, 9 Jan 1996 WASHINGTON, United States

    U.S. President Bill Clinton will visit U.S. troops in Bosnia this weekend after a domestic trip that will take him to New York City and Nashville, Tennessee, the White House said on Tuesday. Clinton will "depart for the region" from Nashville on Friday, accompanied by a small cadre of White House aides and journalists. Details of his trip are being kept secret because of security -- the president would be "basically gone over the weekend" and he would "be back" in Washington by next Monday.

    Asked if the White House regarded the trip as dangerous, White House sopkesman Mike McCurry said: "We always are very confident of security arrangements available to the president."

    It is not yet known whether Clinton will visit Sarajevo, where late Tuesday Serbs began burning key locations, apparently destroying strongpoints they plan to vacate. A Serb withdrawal could begin as early as Friday, only hours before Clinton is due to start his visit.

    [05] Metropolitan Nikolai in Sarajevo

    Tue, 9 Jan 1996 SARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Metropolitan Nikolai, the highest figure in Bosnia's Orthodox church, worshipped in Sarajevo for the first time Monday and called on all citizens to build on the country's new-found peace. Nikolai presided over a Mass in the Bosnian capital's Old Orthodox Church, built in the 12th century in the old Turkish quarter, to mark the second day of the Orthodox Christmas. Nikolai was appointed head of the Orthodox Church in Bosnia in September 1992 when the war in the former Yugoslav republic was in its fifth month. He set up his base at Sokolac, a small Serb-held town east of the city, and never visited Sarajevo.

    He called on Orthodox Serb residents, many of whom have threatened to leave the capital, to respect Catholics and Muslims. "May God bless Serb, Croat and Muslim people who have always lived in harmony here in Sarajevo," he said. "I wish people to live in a tolerant atmosphere like before the war. I call on Serb people to contribute to this."

    Nikolai was joined for the Orthodox Christmas liturgy by four other priests, the High Representative for Bosnia Carl Bildt, and members of Bosnia's diplomatic community.

    Some 200 people attended the service held amid tight security. French NATO troops checked women's handbags and baskets and patrolled the streets outside the church.

    [06] US Special Envoy In Belgrade

    Tue, 9 Jan 1996 BELGRADE, Serbia

    U.S. special envoy Robert Gallucci flew into Belgrade Tuesday on the latest leg of a diplomatic mission to bolster the Bosnia peace deal ahead of President Clinton's visit this weekend. He spent two hours with Serbian President Slobodan Milosovic and is thought to have sought his help in defusing a highly volatile situation in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo where Serbs are threatening a mass exodus.

    Gallucci, a leading troubleshooter who handled highly delicate U.S. negotiations with North Korea over its nuclear program, was reluctant to discuss the details of his talks at the Serbian presidency in Belgrade.

    Gallucci later left for Sarajevo where he will meet Bosnian leaders Wednesday.

    [07] TUZLA, Bosnia and Herzegovina

    Tue, 9 Jan 1996

    Economics

    The Bosnia peace accord prescribes free movement for all throughout the land to foster ethnic reconciliation and economic reconstruction.

    But free movement remains a pipedream -- the few local non-Serb travellers to have dared cross Serb soil have been blocked, harassed or abducted.

    NATO, busy separating the warring sides, vows not to get involved in local law-and-order work, while a U.N. police force assigned that task is months away from being sent to Bosnia.

    "Without an opening of the corridor to the north, a strong recovery of our economy will be impossible," Tuzla Mayor Selim Beslagic told reporters. He said a 800-mile detour to central Europe via western Bosnia and Croatia's Adriatic coast imposed on Tuzla by the war would be no viable alternative in peacetime.

    "Money, like water, generally finds its way. Whether peace lasts in Bosnia hinges on whether its peoples rediscover the value of trading freely with one another," said Zlata Hukic, Tuzla city spokeswoman on economic affairs.

    Tuzla area, with the densest population -- some 450,000 -- of any in Bosnia, also had one of Yugoslavia's strongest regional economies, after Slovenia, Hukic said.

    During the fights between Croats and Muslims in 1993-94 industrial production plunged to five percent of the pre-war level and many of people faced starvation. Today production revived to about 30 percent of pre-1992. Unemployment is about 70 percent, the average wage is around $30 a month, so few can afford to buy anything.

    Hukic estimates $1 billion of investment is needed to restore pre-1992 living standards. Tuzlans count on the U.S. Army presence to help jump start the regional economy. U.S. forces have hired scores of locals as translators and contractors while renting property for large amounts of hard currency.

    [08] Book On Bosnia Promoted in Zagreb (ONASA)

    Tue, 9 Jan 1996 ZAGREB, Croatia

    A book by Jasna Arzberger called "Seven Lives for Bosnia" was promoted Friday in the Austrian cultural center in Zagreb in cooperation with the cultural and information center of the Bosnian Embassy in Croatia. The book is partly a feuilleton, partly a story about the organization and delivery of humanitarian aid for Bosnia. During more than three years of the war in Bosnia, the author has been in this country with relief convoys over 30 times, bringing food, medicines, clothing and other materials. As a member of the Austrian relief agency CARE, Arzberger has successfully organized a project of breaking a several-month humanitarian blockade of her hometown Tuzla in northeast Bosnia.

    The book was published in Croatian and German and is illustrated with several stirring pictures. Part of the profit from the sell will be given to children of soldiers killed defending Bosnia.

    [09] HERE ARE THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS ON THE DIPLOMATIC FRONT AND ON THE GROUND IN THE BALKANS:

    After a week of serious violations of the Dayton Accords, Bosnian Serb forces today attacked a tram in Sarajevo with a rocket-propelled grenade and sniper fire, killing one woman and wounding 19 other persons.

    President Clinton is expected to visit U.S. troops in Bosnia January 13-14 in advance of his State of the Union address on January 23. Approximately 6,000 of the planned 20,000 U.S. troops have deployed to Bosnia. Tomorrow, presidential advisor Robert Gallucci will complete a three-day series of meetings with Croatian, Serbian, and Bosnian officials.

    Operation "Provide Promise," the U.N. airlift to Sarajevo, terminated after delivering remaining supplies today. The operation began in July, 1992, and is technically the longest airlift in history. It was often suspended, however, due to lack of supplies, Bosnian Serb attacks, and U.N. deference to Bosnian Serb demands.

    [10] AN ACSB CALL TO ACTION

    ACSB encourages you to maintain pressure on the Administration and Congress to ensure that the most positive elements of the Dayton Accords are being implemented and that the Bosnian Army is trained and armed. The Accords are deeply flawed and threaten the future of Bosnia, but they are also now a reality. It is imperative, therefore, that we make the most of potentially positive elements. In particular, the Administration must comply with the Dole-McCain resolution, which calls for a written commitment and plan from the Administration to train and arm the Bosnian Army, as well as regular reports to Congress on progress in implementing the military and non-military provisions of the Accords. The most important provisions concern securing conditions for the free and safe return of refugees; guaranteeing conditions for free, fair, and secure elections; and ensuring full cooperation with the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal, particularly on the part of Croatia, Serbia, and the "Republika Srpska." The Administration must ensure that suspected war criminals are apprehended and transferred to the custody of the Tribunal, and that the U.S. provides the necessary financial and evidentiary support for the Tribunal.

    ACSB urges you to call the White House Comment Line at 202-456-1111 and demand that President Clinton fully comply with the Dole-McCain resolution and take a leading and active role in training and arming the Bosnian Army, securing conditions for the free and safe return of refugees; guaranteeing free, fair, and secure elections; and ensuring full cooperation with the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal.

    Also write, call, fax, and e-mail your Senators and Representative and urge them to call on the President to do the same. The Capitol switchboard can be reached at 202-224-3121 or 202-225-3121.

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