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BosNet NEWS / Mar. 16, 1996

From: Nermin Zukic <n6zukic@SMS.BUSINESS.UWO.CA>

Bosnia-Herzegovina News Directory

From: Nermin Zukic <n6zukic@SMS.BUSINESS.UWO.CA>

Subject: BosNet NEWS / Mar. 16, 1996





    Some 7,000 refugees rallied on Saturday for the right to reclaim homes in what is today the nationalist Bosnian Serb-controlled eastern Bosnia, bringing into focus refugees repatriation issues.

    ``They're moving into our homes Serb criminals who have bloodied their hands in Sarajevo, and they are moving them before the eyes of the international community... Our homes and our factories are situated in the Serb entity. We will do all we can to return to Zvornik using peaceful means in line with the Dayton accords... But if that fails we fail we will use all other available means,'' said Camil Ahmetovic, president of the Zvornik municipality-in-exile, during the demonstrations held in NE city of Tuzla.

    Protesters carried banners with messages such as ``We are not letting Podrinje go,'' ``There is no home like my own and no river like the Drina,'' and ``Give us back what is ours.''

    ``The message of these people ... represents yet another obligation for domestic and international politicians to implement the Dayton agreements in all of their elements including the right of the people to return to their homes,'' said Tuzla Mayor Selim Beslagic.

    US Secretary of State Warren Christopher and NATO Secretary General Javier Solana, at a joint news conference, acknowledged difficult problems with Bosnian Serbs fleeing Sarajevo, but neither joined the United Nations in directly faulting the Federation government.

    ``The United States takes the position that it's important to create a situation of equilibrium after IFOR departs, that no one of the entities there...should be so weak as to lack a deterrent capability... We do not think it's likely the arms control provisions alone will create the kind of equilibrium that is necessary'' and hence additional training and equipment must be provided to the Bosnian government, Christopher said.

    At the recent Ankara conference, the United States formally pledged US$100 million, mostly in surplus equipment.

    ``We hope that other countries, after they've examined the matter more carefully, will follow the United States in doing so,'' Christopher said. State Department spokesperson, Nicholas Burns conceded the Americans were disappointed by the Ankara meeting. European countries say the U.S. plan runs counter to efforts to cut regional arms levels.

    (*Contributed by Bernard Meares [parts may have been lost in transmission]*)

    "We've got a lot of stories of people cruising around "trying to pick up things and steal things and trying to break into houses", he said. "I spoke to one woman this morning who said that while she had gone to work, and while she was at work her house was cleaned out, partiallydestroyed, and nasty messages left on her door. It has also happened to other people. So it is quite a threatening atmosphere, it is very very worrying and it is very sad".

    When asked if anybody had tried to stop them, Janowski said that the problem was that the Federal Bosnian police were very few in number and though they were behaving very correctly and though they were trying to stop some of them, Ilidza was a large area with a lot of outlying villages, to many of which they couldn't even get to and it was extremely difficult.

    The international police are also doing their best and on patrol constantly. "But you get hundreds of looters cruising around, and one has to say that there are some people who have legitimate interests to be there, who have their houses there, or who have been displaced from there, but there are others who are criminals or who are trying to stir up trouble and pick up things."

    In answer to a comment by Owen Bennet-Jones, the BBC commentator, that the necessary degree of confidence did not seem to have been been built up yet, Janowski said that the people who stayed behind "had to get together all the courage to resist the enormous pressure on them in order to stay behind, and now they are being victimised by the incoming people. It isa very sad situation and another blow to multi-ethnicity in Sarajevo and by implication another blow to the idea of a multi-ethnic Bosnia-Herzegovina".


    Ploce, March 14, 1996. (Press TWRA)

    Municipal Council of Ploce, on its extraordinary session, rejected as a harmful a proposal of the agreement of the Croatian government asking that a part of that harbor be given to the use of BH Federation for a 99-year period. The Municipal Council requests the implementation of such models which allow BH Federation a free-access to sea, on a commercial basis, and prove no exchange in the demographic structure of the area of Ploce and the Neretva valley. <end> S.K.

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