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OMRI: PURSUING BALKAN PEACE, V1,#2, Jan. 16, 1996

From: OMRI-L <omri-l@ubvm.cc.buffalo.edu>

Open Media Research Institute: Pursuing Balkan Peace Directory

CONTENTS

  • [01] MOSTAR AT THE CENTER.

  • [02] IFOR LIAISON OFFICER TO BE APPOINTED IN MOSTAR.

  • [03] BOSNIAN PRIME MINISTER SEES HERZEGOVINA AS PART OF "GREATER CROATIA."

  • [04] A GRISLY REMINDER OF THE KILLING FIELDS TESTS IFOR.

  • [05] "DEATH NOTICES" FOR MILOSEVIC.

  • [06] "A CRIME AGAINST THE SERBIAN PEOPLE."

  • [07] MORE POLICE FOR SARAJEVO.

  • [08] SARAJEVO AS "BOSNIA'S TEST."

  • [09] PRISONER EXCHANGE BREAKS DOWN.

  • [10] CONFERENCE ON BOSNIAN REFUGEES OPENS.

  • [11] GERMANY PUSHES FOR REFUGEE RETURN.

  • [12] EARLY AUTUMN ELECTIONS IN BOSNIA POSSIBLE?

  • [13] GENERAL MORILLON GOES PUBLIC.

  • [14] MICHAEL JACKSON MEETS WITH WARRING PARTIES.

  • [15] TENSIONS NEAR DOBOJ.

  • [16] WARLORDS ON THE LOOSE.

  • [17] CIA TO KEEP AN EYE ON EXTREMISTS.

  • [18] BLEAK VIEW OF THE REPUBLIKA SRPSKA.

  • [19] BOSNIAN SERBS TO PRIVATIZE.

  • [20] POSSIBLE ECONOMIC COOPERATION BETWEEN BOSNIAN ENTITIES?

  • [21] PROBLEMS ABOUND FOR DEMOBILIZATION.

  • [22] RETIRED U.S. MILITARY TO TRAIN BOSNIAN ARMY.

  • [23] HEADACHES FOR CROATIAN AND BOSNIAN RAILWAYS.

  • [24] CROATIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN BELGRADE.

  • [25] "THE MOST IMPORTANT EVENT" FOR CROATIA.

  • [26] POLITIKA ON CLINTON VISIT.

  • [27] SERBIA'S DEMOCRATIC PARTY ON NORMALIZING RELATIONS.

  • [28] A NEW INDEPENDENT BELGRADE DAILY?

  • [29] SERBIAN AUTHORITIES EXTEND CONTROL OVER MEDIA.

  • [30] MONTENEGRIN PRESIDENT ATTENDS AID CEREMONY.

  • [31] MUSLIM PARTIES IN RUMP-YUGOSLAVIA TO FORM COALITION?

  • [32] KOSOVAR ALBANIANS WELCOME U.S. OFFICE IN PRISTINA . . .

  • [33] . . . BUT ARE SPLIT OVER AUTONOMY PROPOSAL.

  • [34] MEETING OF KOSOVAR ALBANIAN POLITICAL PARTIES AND ORGANIZATIONS.

  • [35] RUMP-YUGOSLAV INTERIOR MINISTER REJECTS KOSOVO NEGOTIATIONS.

  • [36] MONTENEGRIN ALBANIANS DO NOT RECOGNIZE GOVERNMENT HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL.

  • [37] SERBIAN POLICE HARASS KOSOVAR IMMIGRANTS TO SWITZERLAND.

  • [38] ALBANIA TO SEND CONTINGENT TO BOSNIA.

  • [39] MACEDONIAN RADIO AND TV OPENS STUDIO FOR MINORITIES.

  • [40] TIRANA AND SARAJEVO TO FORM CITY PARTNERSHIP.

  • [41] KAPOSVAR SEEKS STATE SUBSIDIES FOR REPAIRS.

  • [42] GREEK DEFENSE MINISTER CALLS IFOR TROOPS "DIPLOMATS OF THE NATION."

  • [43] GREEK MILITARY SAYS "NO PROBLEMS WITH THE BELGIANS."

  • [44] BOSNIAN SERB CHILDREN ARRIVE IN GREECE.

  • [45] ROMANIAN PREMIER RECEIVES BEOBANKA CHAIRMAN.


  • OMRI SPECIAL REPORT: PURSUING BALKAN PEACE

    Vol. 1, No. 2, 16 January 1996

    [01] MOSTAR AT THE CENTER.

    The previous week saw much attention focused on Mostar, the principal city of Herzegovina. It is divided between the Croats and the Muslims under a EU administration, and is slated under the Dayton agreement to be reunited. Developments there are central to the future of the peace since it may well make or break the Croat-Muslim federation, which is a key component of the Dayton system. Oslobodjenje stressed this point on 15 January. American diplomacy was particularly active in working to defuse tensions and try put the federation in place; and President Bill Clinton addressed the issue publicly and privately during his visit to Bosnia and Croatia on the 13th. Presidents Franjo Tudjman and Alija Izetbegovic are publicly committed to make the federal system work, but tensions continue on the ground. The EU has singled out local Croats for most of the blame, and the Croatian mayor has replied that his people want to live in a divided city in "ethnically pure" neighborhoods. -- Patrick Moore

    [02] IFOR LIAISON OFFICER TO BE APPOINTED IN MOSTAR.

    After talks with EU administrator for Mostar Hans Koschnick, IFOR commander Admiral Leighton Smith on 14 January announced the appointment of a liaison officer responsible for relations between IFOR and UN administration in the city, Nasa Borba reported next day. Since the situation in Mostar has been "very serious," Smith expressed his willingness to help as much as possible in calming down tensions between Mostar Muslims and Croats. Koschnick said that two of them have discussed the responsibilities of IFOR as a military party and EU as a civil party, and underscored that "we shall have one federation, and not two parts of the federation". Meanwhile, German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel said on 14 January in Mostar that, unless there is no progress in efforts to unite the city in the following two weeks, arbitration headed by Koschnick will be introduced, Tanjug reported the same day. Elsewhere, the U.S. suggested to Tudjman that U.S. diplomat Roberts Owen arbitrate in clashes of Mostar's Croats and Muslims, the BBC reported on 15 January. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [03] BOSNIAN PRIME MINISTER SEES HERZEGOVINA AS PART OF "GREATER CROATIA."

    The BBC on 15 January quoted Haris Silajdzic as saying that on his way back from Croatia, all the way to the border in Mostar, "you have a feeling of still being in Croatia: all is the same from uniforms to flags, and all looks like one Greater Croatia, not like Bosnia." He said that time has come to openly point out that the same people who waged the war between Muslims and Croats in 1993 are holding the key posts in the Bosnian Federation, adding "it is very difficult to build Bosnia with the people who tried to destroy it." In an interview for Television Bosnia-Herzegovina, he invited Koschnick to resign if he fails to fulfill his task, but also wants him to explain clearly who was responsible for the failure. Silajdzic, like Kinkel, hopes things will with the involvement of international police, as is happening in Velika Kladusa. Meanwhile, Slovenian Radio on 12 January reported that Silajdzic has been left out of the planned Federation government, which may make him a possible victim in internal political struggles to divide posts in the new round of infighting. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [04] A GRISLY REMINDER OF THE KILLING FIELDS TESTS IFOR.

    Yet another story in the news last week was that of the revelations carried in The New York Times on 11 January that the open-pit iron mine at Ljubija is the mass grave for some 8,000 Muslims and Croats. The report was based on investigations by a prominent Croatian human rights activist, who said that Ljubija and the mass graves near Srebrenica offer firm evidence that the Bosnian Serbs under Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic had carried out a deliberate policy of genocide. Calls came from around the globe for on-site inspection at the heavily guarded facility, but IFOR spokesmen said it was not their job to deal with such matters. They later modified their stand in line with remarks by Clinton to CBS, in which he said that IFOR could help UN war crimes investigators reach mass grave sites, provided it does not interfere with the soldiers' primary job. The issue attracted attention because many suspected that IFOR was unwilling to pursue war criminals, investigate atrocities, ensure freedom of movement, or respond firmly to provocations like the Serbian bazooka attack on a Sarajevo tram on 9 January. -- Patrick Moore

    [05] "DEATH NOTICES" FOR MILOSEVIC.

    The Serbian suburbs of Sarajevo remain tense amid rumors of planned torchings and a forced exodus if Pale does not succeed in its maneuvers to obtain a modification of the Dayton agreement regarding the transfer of the area to government control. Many suspect that Pale's ultimate goal is to scuttle the entire peace project. On 12 January Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic appealed to suburban Serbs to stay put, but AFP said his plea fell on deaf ears owing to his general unpopularity. Many Bosnian Serbs -- like those of Krajina -- feel that Milosevic has betrayed their interests in order to get sanctions lifted on rump Yugoslavia. The French news agency reported on 13 January that mock "death notices" had been appearing in Grbavica and other Serb suburbs to announce the "political demise" of the Belgrade leader. The broadsides called him "our Satan" and a logo for his party was portrayed instead as that of "Serbia's Party of Pall Bearers." -- Patrick Moore

    [06] "A CRIME AGAINST THE SERBIAN PEOPLE."

    This is how Mirko Pejanovic of the anti-nationalist Serbian Civic Council (SGV) describes the pressures by Pale on Serbian civilians to flee the Sarajevo suburbs. Vecernje novine on 15 January called the move "self-destructive" and said that it would be against the provisions of the peace agreement, which call for people to be able to return freely to their homes. It also noted that it would mark a triumph for those opposed to living together in a multiethnic setting. The SGV offers the Serbs an anti-nationalist alternative and remains loyal to the Bosnian government. -- Patrick Moore

    [07] MORE POLICE FOR SARAJEVO.

    When the Serbs took civilians hostage recently, IFOR claimed that police work and "banditry" are not its job but rather that of the international police force. An additional problem was that such a force really did not exist except on paper. Now UN police chief Vladimir Rybnikov told OMRI in Sarajevo on 11 January that he has been promised 200 police officers by 20 January. They will help ease a tense situation in the Serb-held suburbs in the 45-day transition period to government control. Admiral Smith said on 12 January that IFOR's job is to "establish a military security . . . but we feel that the best [approach] is to work with both parties through the Joint Civilian Commission and [Carl Bildt's office]. IFOR is trying to help facilitate a joint police force for this period in which both sides would do the job together." -- Jan Urban and Patrick Moore

    [08] SARAJEVO AS "BOSNIA'S TEST."

    Bildt's operation has hit the ground running and, among other things, already hosted on government-controlled territory the first meeting since the war began of Serbs from Serb-held parts of the city. Michael Steiner, Bildt's deputy, underscored the importance of the Bosnian capital for the success or failure of the entire settlement. Oslobodjenje on 15 January ran an interview with him, in which he said that people must begin to trust one another again and that peace would be made by individuals. He stressed that elections would also play a key role in laying the foundations for peace. Steiner added that the language of the media must serve to promote peace. The Dayton agreement specifically bans the propagation of ethnic hatred or incitement to ethnic violence, but it will be a tall order to try to enforce this provision in every school, church, mosque, and other meeting place in the republic. -- Patrick Moore

    [09] PRISONER EXCHANGE BREAKS DOWN.

    Red Cross spokesman Jacques De Maio told AFP on 15 January that another Dayton project, namely a planned swap of some 900 prisoners, has for the moment collapsed. "The parties are not complying. Nobody abided by our plan. Only nine people have been released." A central issue has been the demand of the Bosnian government that the Serbs first clarify the status of thousands of missing persons, arguing that it is impossible to prepare accurate lists for the exchange of prisoners until the fate of the missing is clear. A Serbian civilian group of relatives of missing persons has raised similar demands. Bosnian Foreign Minister Muhamed Sacirbey said that the Serbs are holding nearly a thousand persons in slave labor camps, and he fears they might be killed. The 19 January deadline for exchanging prisoners as set down in the Dayton agreement is approaching, and to let it lapse without the swap taking place would not augur well for implementing other parts of the timetable. -- Patrick Moore

    [10] CONFERENCE ON BOSNIAN REFUGEES OPENS.

    UNHCR chief Sadaka Ogata addressed a meeting in Geneva on 16 January to discuss the resettlement of up to 2.5 million Bosnian refugees. She stressed that the difficulties will be enormous, despite the provisions in the Dayton agreement providing for the right of all citizens to go home or receive compensation. The BBC said that plans are to relocate first the one million displaced persons within the republic itself; then those 670,000 living elsewhere in the former Yugoslavia; and finally those abroad, of whom 700,000 are in Germany or elsewhere in Europe. The Bosnian government had asked that those settled in distant countries be brought home first. Problems include how to resettle people whose homes and property have been destroyed, and what to do with those victims of "ethnic cleansing" who cannot or will not return to their former places of residence. The costs will be up to $400 million the first year alone. The UNHCR has asked European countries not to complicate things further by sending refugees home too soon. -- Patrick Moore

    [11] GERMANY PUSHES FOR REFUGEE RETURN.

    On 6 January the Conference of German Interior Ministers nonetheless resolved to end refugee status for Bosnians citizens by June 1996. Federal Interior Minister Manfred Kanther will meet on 16 January with UNHCR representatives in Geneva to discuss the refugees' return, Nasa Borba reported on 7 January. Estimates say that the process of return might last for two years, possibly even longer. The Berlin Ombudsman for Foreigners, Barbara John, told German ARD TV that special regulations may apply for hardship cases. She also proposed that families willing to return be paid DM 10,000 in assistance, but the issue has yet to be decided. John also said refugees should be enabled to travel to Bosnia before they actually return in order to prepare for the move. The state interior ministers will again meet on 26 January to discuss a detailed plan. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [12] EARLY AUTUMN ELECTIONS IN BOSNIA POSSIBLE?

    Another key component ofthe Dayton agreement besides resettling refugees is holding new elections. The international community's High Representative in Sarajevo, Carl Bildt, said on 15 January that the September deadline will be extremely difficult to meet, Reuters reported the same day. Elections are due to be held in five to eight months from now, which is not realistic according to Bildt. Speaking at the Stockholm conference on planning the elections, he also stressed that the international community would have to meet the Dayton deadline in order not to jeopardize the reconciliation process. Bildt added that the biggest obstacle to the election process was election registers, which were destroyed during the war, as well as the huge migrations. Sacirbey said that the elections should be postponed rather than simulated, Nasa Borba reported on 16 January. "The key issue is not only to hold elections, but to hold free, fair and democratic elections," AFP on 16 January quoted him as saying. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [13] GENERAL MORILLON GOES PUBLIC.

    Back in Sarajevo, NATO's recent failure to take action against the Serbs who captured civilians of all three nationalities has left it open to unflattering comparisons with the hapless UNPROFOR. The former French UNPROFOR commander in Bosnia, General Philippe Morillon, has emerged from retirement to make some revelations to the Guardian, AFP reported on 12 January. He said that force was the only way to deal with the Serbs and that he finally ordered the Rapid Reaction Force "to tear up its UN mandate and attack Bosnian Serb positions." He criticized the UN civilian command for thinking it was enough for UNPROFOR simply to show up and display its flag, which Morillon called "angelism." He added that Milosevic admitted to him that Serbia was actively involved in Bosnia and that rump Yugoslav forces were there until May 1995. -- Patrick Moore

    [14] MICHAEL JACKSON MEETS WITH WARRING PARTIES.

    RFE/RL's South Slavic Service said on 10 January that the British IFOR commander in Gornji Vakuf, Maj. Gen. Sir Michael Jackson, met in Sipovo with representatives of all three sides to discuss the upcoming disengagement of forces. The key issues and deadlines were the withdrawal of all foreign forces by 14 January; a pullback by the three sides to a distance of two kilometers from the confrontation line by the 19th; and the removal of all mines from the separation zones by the 20th, Hina added. Jackson said he was pleased by the way the implementation process was going. -- Patrick Moore

    [15] TENSIONS NEAR DOBOJ.

    IFOR commander Maj. Gen. William Nash said that he was not getting cooperation from "the warring parties" after Muslim and Serbian generals failed to show up for a meeting in Doboj. AFP reported on 11 January that it was not clear whether the absentees were balking or simply held up for technical reasons, although the Croats managed to attend. The meeting site had been changed at the last minute, and there were reports that Swedish peacekeepers were detaining the Muslims. Later, on 13 January, IFOR troops defused tensions between Croatian and government forces near Doboj. -- Patrick Moore

    [16] WARLORDS ON THE LOOSE.

    Local kingpins with vested interests have been a permanent feature of this war on all sides. Fortunes have been made in the conflict, but often lives have been lost in grisly ways in the process. Die Welt wrote on 10 January that the links between smuggling and crime, or the military and the mafia may at the bottom of the current impasse over Mostar. The car theft racket is big business, the article continues, especially -- but not exclusively -- on the Croat side. It remains to be seen if local warlords will be allowed to continue to hamstring provisions of the Dayton agreement, which their nominal superiors in Zagreb and Sarajevo have signed. -- Patrick Moore

    [17] CIA TO KEEP AN EYE ON EXTREMISTS.

    The International Herald Tribune reported on 15 January that the Central Intelligence Agency is seeking to polish up its tarnished image by playing an effective role in Bosnia. Defense intelligence will deal with immediate threats to U.S. troops, but the CIA will concentrate on longer term strategic problems. Specifically, it will be monitoring extremists on all three sides who might try to upset the Dayton agreement and will collaborate with local police and intelligence groups. Serbian paramilitaries, the Herzegovinian Croat warlords, and Islamic fundamentalists are high on the Agency's list or priorities. -- Patrick Moore

    [18] BLEAK VIEW OF THE REPUBLIKA SRPSKA.

    The leader of the Liberal Party in Banja Luka, Miodrag Zivanovic, told Nasa Borba on 15 January that Karadzic's influence is limited only to Pale. Zivanovic also stated that the economy on Bosnian Serb territory is operating at 8-10% of capacity and that demobilized soldiers have no jobs waiting for them, while people have to eat in public soup kitchens. Ideology is all-pervasive, but much of what passes for military activity at the front is really war profiteers settling accounts. Zivanovic also argued that the leadership in Pale is out of touch with reality both at home and abroad. -- Patrick Moore

    [19] BOSNIAN SERBS TO PRIVATIZE.

    The director of Pale's privatization department, Aleksa Milojevic, said on Bosnian Serb television on 11 January that a legal framework for privatization should be ready before the end of January. Small privatization could start this year with several more stages to follow. The main method would be "free distribution" and 10% of the vouchers should be reserved for soldiers, war invalids, and pensioners. Milojevic stressed that the road would be rocky and that "our disadvantage is that we privatize during a state of war. Even those countries that underwent privatization under favorable conditions felts its effects like a small war." -- Jan Urban

    [20] POSSIBLE ECONOMIC COOPERATION BETWEEN BOSNIAN ENTITIES?

    NikolaKoljevic, vice president of Republika Srpska, told Radio Kragujevac that economic cooperation between Republika Srpska and the Bosnian Federation should be possible despite the "tense relations caused by the ongoing media war, which started the real war too," Nasa Borba reported on 15 January. He made estimates of future economic prospects of Republika Srpska after 15 January, when sanctions imposed by the international community are expected to be eased in accordance with the Dayton agreement. Koljevic said that a delegation already visited Greece in early January, where they signed protocols on economic cooperation in the fields of civil construction, energy distribution and textile industry. The Dayton agreement envisions an end to the economic division within Bosnia, and even during the war much "business" was done by war profiteers across the battle lines. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [21] PROBLEMS ABOUND FOR DEMOBILIZATION.

    Another key element of the Dayton agreement is its emphasis on systematic demobilization of all fighting forces. But is this realistic, given that many of the men have known only fighting for four years and that the economy does not yet have jobs for them? Zlatko Lagumdzija, a former deputy prime minister who believes in a multiethnic Bosnia, told OMRI in Sarajevo that difficulties facing the Bosnian government alone will be formidable. "It should be stressed that a demobilization is starting in a state-of-war situation. We ended a big war but it is still possible that there will be some armed band resisting peace and we must not rely solely on IFOR for power." He said he hoped that a new professional army would emerge and warned against political demagoguery in connection with demobilization payments in the meantime. Lagumadzija pointed out that there is not enough money for basic social programs, such as care of orphans. He also noted that only surgeons were able to hone their professional skills during the war and that the rest of the population's job qualifications are out of date. As a way out of these problems he argued for concentrating scarce resources to provide "everybody a chance to acquire new qualifications as fast as possible." -- Jan Urban

    [22] RETIRED U.S. MILITARY TO TRAIN BOSNIAN ARMY.

    Training of the Bosnian army by U.S. civilian contractors will begin within 60 days, The New York Times reported 15 January. At a meeting last week in Sarajevo, representatives of the Federation agreed to a Clinton administration plan whereby retired U.S. army officers would train the Bosnian army in basic soldiering skills and advanced tactics. The training that the Croats received under a similar program has been cited as one of the reasons for their battlefield successes last year. The training will take place in Bosnia and perhaps a NATO country such as Turkey, with the cost of the estimated $100 million program financed largely by contributions from Islamic nations. The U.S. Senate last month approved the Bosnian peacekeeping operation on the condition that the administration ensure the Bosnian government forces are properly trained and equipped. Light and heavy weapons are still under a 90 and 180 day embargo respectively, but transfers may not prove necessary if the OSCE-sponsored talks on arms control prove successful in leveling the playing field. But on the training, Secretary of Defense William Perry sees "no reason to wait." -- Michael Mihalka

    [23] HEADACHES FOR CROATIAN AND BOSNIAN RAILWAYS.

    The war in the former Yugoslavia has taken its toll on infrastructure as much as on just about everything else. Vjesnik on 6 January described the huge difficulties facing Croatian Railways (HZ) in restoring facilities and services following the military actions in western Slavonia and Krajina last year. Problems include destroyed equipment, track, buildings, bridges, and rail beds; uncertain power supplies; and unexploded mines and shells. The line along the Una River is on the shortest route between Zagreb and Split, but it crosses the Croatian-Bosnian border in six places and "danger, complications, and problems are its only passengers" for now. HZ's problems could pale against those of Bosnian Railways in the future, since Bosnia is a poorer republic with much more rugged terrain, and it is uncertain whether a unified rail system will actually be restored. In any event, Vecernji list said on 16 January that problems galore are thwarting the vitally needed reconstruction of Sarajevo's main rail line to the Adriatic. -- Patrick Moore

    [24] CROATIAN FOREIGN MINISTER IN BELGRADE.

    On 10 January Mate Granic arrived in Belgrade for the first such official high-level visit since the outbreak of hostilities in 1991. While the objective was to begin improving relations, Belgrade also seemingly attempted a territorial bargain at Bosnia's expense. Politika on 11 January reported that Foreign Minister Milan Milutinovic and President Milosevic backed the Dayton peace package, and presumably Bosnia's territorial integrity as set down in the treaty. But AFP on 9 January noted that Belgrade was proposing that the Bosnian Serbs cede land near the Croatian city of Dubrovnik in return for Croatia's handing over the strategic Prevlaka peninsula, flanking the Bay of Kotor, which is the home of the rump Yugoslav navy. Croatia's public position has been that the Dayton accords oblige the Bosnian Serbs to give up the territory near Dubrovnik, and that Zagreb is unwilling to discuss the status of Prevlaka. -- Stan Markotich

    [25] "THE MOST IMPORTANT EVENT" FOR CROATIA.

    After having met Clinton at Zagreb's Pleso airport on 13 January, Tudjman said that there was nothing more important for the country's international relations than such a meeting, Novi list reported on 15 January. After an official meeting between the Croatian and U.S. delegations, each consisting of 12 members, the two presidents held brief one-to-one talks. Here the questions of Eastern Slavonia's integration into Croatia and the overall situation in Bosnia were the main issues on the agenda. According Tudjman, the two presidents shared similar views. Also discussed were Croatian and U.S. bilateral relations, economic cooperation, and Croatia's membership in NATO. In a major speech to parliament on 15 January, Tudjman stressed that 1995 brought key foreign policy successes and put an end to Croatia's "Serbian question," Hina reported. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [26] POLITIKA ON CLINTON VISIT.

    On 15 January the pro-government Belgrade daily Politika provided glowing coverage of Clinton's one-day visit to Central Europe and Bosnia. The Politika account suggested that among Clinton's primary reasons for undertaking the visit was to promote the regional peace process. It quoted him as saying that the current conflict in the region "is a conflict between those who want a better future and those who are slaves of the past. Choose peace and the future, and hold out open hands to your neighbors." -- Stan Markotich

    [27] SERBIA'S DEMOCRATIC PARTY ON NORMALIZING RELATIONS.

    Nasa Borba on 12 January reported that Slobodan Vuksanovic, Democratic Party (DS) spokesman, said his party supports Belgrade's initiatives to normalize relations with neighboring states, including Croatia. However, what may have prompted Kuksanovic was the DS's commitment to restoring ties with Bosnian Serbs. Vuksanovic stressed that if Belgrade is sincere, then it was obliged to giving priority to the Republika Srpska: "If the [rump] Yugoslav administration successfully cooperates with the Republic of Croatia then, according to the DS representative's way of thinking, [the government] has no justification for the blockade along the Drina," says the report. On 15 January the same daily reported that Milosevic had on the previous day held talks with the Bosnian Serbs aimed at reopening political, economic and cultural ties. The Dayton agreement allows the Bosnian Serbs to have ties to rump Yugoslavia similar to those between the Muslim-Croat federation in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia. -- Stan Markotich

    [28] A NEW INDEPENDENT BELGRADE DAILY?

    On 7 January AIM Belgrade newsagency reported that three dismissed editors of Belgrade's independent daily Nasa Borba have decided to launch a new publication, a daily to be called Borba Danas, or simply Danas. This move follows in the wake of a long-standing dispute between some Nasa Borba staffers and the paper's owners and management. Danas has not appeared in print, and AIM reports that many Nasa Borba staffers doubt that it ever will. At the moment, Nasa Borba has a circulation of 25,000 and some observers speculate a readership that size may not be large enough to support two publications. -- Stan Markotich

    [29] SERBIAN AUTHORITIES EXTEND CONTROL OVER MEDIA.

    BETA on 9 January reported that on that same day the Serbian government formally requested the parliamentary committee on culture and information to overhaul management at the state-run Radio and Television Serbia corporation. The government's list of candidates included prominent members of the ruling Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), their political allies, such as members of Milosevic's wife's tiny leftist party, and their sympathizers. According to the authorities, the selections for the new management team were drawn for lists of those people most uniquely qualified to carry out their mandates. Opposition party members and critics of Milosevic, however, have pointed out that political affiliation appears to have determined the changes at RTS, and some observers allege that this latest move may be another government attempt to put even a wider distance between the dominant media and opposition voices. Earlier, on 26 December, the federal parliament allocated some 2.5 million dinar (about $576,300) for the state-controlled daily Borba, alleging that without the financial backing the paper would incur unacceptable losses. Meanwhile independent media, the periodic targets of government crackdowns, are forced to survive with limited resources and on shoestring budgets. -- Stan Markotich

    [30] MONTENEGRIN PRESIDENT ATTENDS AID CEREMONY.

    Tanjug on 13 January reported that on that same day Montenegrin President Momir Bulatovic attended a ceremony in the Herzegovinian town of Nevesinje to mark the arrival of some 150 thousand tons of food and humanitarian aid. The delivery is part of a drive organized by the Montenegrin government. Nevesinje has a population of roughly 20,000; almost all are ethnic Serbs and about half are refugees. -- Stan Markotich

    [31] MUSLIM PARTIES IN RUMP-YUGOSLAVIA TO FORM COALITION?

    The Party ofDemocratic Action of Sandzak (SDA) has called on other ethnic Muslim parties to settle political disputes and to form a joint coalition in upcoming elections. The SDA Sandzak send an open letter to the SDA branches in Montenegro and Kosovo, the Reform Democratic Party of Sandzak, the Party of Sandzak Bosniaks (Muslims), the Liberal Bosnian Organization, the Muslim National Council of Sandzak and the Democratic Reform Party of Muslims in Prizren pointing out that they may get direct candidates into parliament only if they form a coalition. Due to the division of Sandzak into two electoral districts and the electoral law, which favors direct candidates, the Muslims fear they may not get proper representation in parliament unless they form a joint list. Nasa Borba carried the story on 15 January. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [32] KOSOVAR ALBANIANS WELCOME U.S. OFFICE IN PRISTINA . . .

    Xhemajl Mustafa, spokesman for Kosovar shadow-state President Ibrahim Rugova, welcomed an initiative by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke to open a United States Information Agency office in Pristina, Reuters reported on 10 January. Mustafa said that "the United States wants to follow directly and from nearby the situation in Kosovo." According to latest international media reports the office may open as early as late January. Nasa Borba on 15 January added that the Kosovars have also announced plans to open an office in Washington in the near future. Meanwhile, Rugova has called on Holbrooke to take a leading role in mediating between the Serbian government and the Kosovar shadow-state. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [33] . . . BUT ARE SPLIT OVER AUTONOMY PROPOSAL.

    Various ethnic Albanian Kosovar parties publicly reacted to an earlier call by Albanian President Sali Berisha to start negotiations with the Serbian government. Berisha had implied that such negotiations may lead to a restoration of autonomy, comparable to that status which Kosovo had after 1974. Even though Rugova did not clearly reject Berisha's initiative, the idea was criticized both within the leading Democratic League of Kosovo and other parties, Nasa Borba reported on 15 January. BETA on 9 January quotes leader of the Liberal Party of Kosovo Gjergj Dedaj as saying that autonomy within rump-Yugoslavia is unacceptable for the Kosovars because the "political will of the people" for independence was expressed in a September 1991 referendum. Mark Krasniqi, the leader of the Kosovar Christian Democrats backed Dedaj's position, Nasa Borba reported on 8 January. Krasniqi used identical arguments and demanded that Kosovo be demilitarized and made a UN protectorate. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [34] MEETING OF KOSOVAR ALBANIAN POLITICAL PARTIES AND ORGANIZATIONS.

    A meeting of all major Kosovar Albanian organizations of the shadow-state began on 15 January behind closed doors, Nasa Borba reported the next day. The meeting was initiated by the Parliamentary Party, the second largest party in the shadow-state parliament, and joined by 27 representatives of political parties, the parallel school system, the Forum of Albanian Intellectuals, the Association of Independent Trade Unions, the Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms and other independent intellectuals and non-party personalities. Rugova did, reportedly, not show up at the meeting. Observers expect the parties to discuss a joint strategy under the new circumstances following the Dayton agreement, which some have suggested could be an impetus to solving the Kosovo question. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [35] RUMP-YUGOSLAV INTERIOR MINISTER REJECTS KOSOVO NEGOTIATIONS.

    Rump-Yugoslav Interior Minister Vukasin Jokanovic is quoted by KIC on 10 January as saying that "there will be no negotiations with the leaders of the Albanian separatist movement in Kosovo and Metohija, though all questions raised by the citizens of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia can be discussed." He added that "a lot of people come to see me. They come up with their grievances. I discuss with them the ways some of their basic problems can be solved." KIC concluded that the Serbian government is not willing to recognize the shadow-state government as a legitimate negotiating partner, as demanded by the Albanian government and all Kosovar Albanian political parties. KIC also points out that Jokanovic played a leading role in the violent abolition of the province's autonomy in 1989 and adds that the statement proves "primitive arrogance." -- Fabian Schmidt

    [36] MONTENEGRIN ALBANIANS DO NOT RECOGNIZE GOVERNMENT HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL.

    The Democratic League of Montenegro (LDMZ), the main ethnic Albanian party in the Rump-Yugoslav Republic, and the Montenegrin Helsinki Committee protested the formation of a Republican Council for the Protection of Rights of Ethnic Groups and Communities of Montenegro. They argue that the Montenegrin Government had ignored all requests for proportional participation of the Albanians in the Montenegrin authorities, including the newly founded Council, KIC reported on 9 January. The council's creation was proposed by President Bulatovic and approved by parliament earlier. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [37] SERBIAN POLICE HARASS KOSOVAR IMMIGRANTS TO SWITZERLAND.

    About 100 Kosovar Albanian immigrants to Switzerland were robbed of money and goods when returning during the Christmas holidays, the Albanian-language service of Radio Deutsche Welle reported on 10 January. According to the reports, Serbian police halted busses as many as four times when bringing the travelers from the airport to their home towns. According to KIC on 11 January, Swiss human rights groups have called on their government to protest the incidents, some of which involved police seizing travelers' passports. The Council for the Defense of Human Rights and Freedoms in Kosovo had said that the Albanians are supposed to pay between 3,000 and 5,000 Swiss francs ($2,500 to 4,500) to get their passports back. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [38] ALBANIA TO SEND CONTINGENT TO BOSNIA.

    Albanian President Sali Berisha said Albania wants to send a small peacekeeping group of 40 soldiers to Bosnia, AFP reported on 11 January. Berisha said that Albania wanted to participate in the multinational force as a contribution towards peace and stability in the region. The deployment of Albanian troops will be based on the Partnership for Peace program Albania joined in February 1994. According to the daily Albania on 10 January, troop training for Bosnia has begun. Albanian soldiers were already trained in the U.S. for peacekeeping missions in summer 1995 and Albania held a total of nine military exercises with U.S. troops and other Partnership for Peace members last year. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [39] MACEDONIAN RADIO AND TV OPENS STUDIO FOR MINORITIES.

    Macedonian state-run Radio and TV opened a studio for broadcasts in the languages of ethnic minorities on 11 January, Radio Deutsche Welle reported on 13 January. The studio will broadcast three hours a day in the Albanian language one and a half hours in Turkish. There will also be two half-hour broadcasts each week in Romani, Vlach, and Serbian. The programs will start in February, MIC reported on 12 January. The project coordinator is the head of the working group on ethnic minorities at the Conference on the Former Yugoslavia, Gerd Ahrens, and financing is supported by the Danish and Swiss governments. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [40] TIRANA AND SARAJEVO TO FORM CITY PARTNERSHIP.

    Following a proposal by the Mayor of Sarajevo, Tarik Kupusovic, which he sent to Tirana's city council in October 1995, the two capitals will become partner cities, the Tirana daily Republika reported on 14 January. The partnership is to involve cultural and social-economic cooperation, and a delegation from Tirana is scheduled to visit Sarajevo in January. During the visit both sides want to make detailed plans for future projects. The daily points out that Albanian relations with Sarajevo date back to 1613, when Gjergj Kastrioti Skanderbeg met a delegation from Sarajevo in Petrele, near present-day Tirana. -- Fabian Schmidt

    [41] KAPOSVAR SEEKS STATE SUBSIDIES FOR REPAIRS.

    The town of Kaposvar in southern Hungary wants a 300 million forint ($2.1 million) state subsidy to implement urgent infrastructural projects related to the deployment of NATO peacekeeping troops, Magyar Hirlap reported on 12 January. The Kaposvar municipality set up a working group to coordinate plans with U.S. peacekeepers. The subsidy is designed to be spent on road maintenance, construction and the building of a truck terminal outside Kaposvar. -- Zsofia Szilagyi

    [42] GREEK DEFENSE MINISTER CALLS IFOR TROOPS "DIPLOMATS OF THE NATION."

    Gerasimos Arsenis during a special ceremony at the Alexandria military base on 9 January described the Greek IFOR contingent as "diplomats of the nation," Greek media reported the following day. Arsenis said Greek participation in the peace force allows the country to actively take part in moves to rebuild Bosnia and in the consultations on the political future of the region. "It also gives our country a chance to play its historic role as a peace factor and as a center for the development of cultural, economic and defense initiatives again," he added. -- Stefan Krause

    [43] GREEK MILITARY SAYS "NO PROBLEMS WITH THE BELGIANS."

    A Greek defense ministry spokesman on 10 January denied reports about friction between the Greek IFOR contingent and Belgian military, Greek media reported. He also said reports that the Greek troops' housing is "deficient" are not true. The Greek unit is deployed in Visoko northwest of Sarajevo and is placed under Belgian command. -- Stefan Krause

    [44] BOSNIAN SERB CHILDREN ARRIVE IN GREECE.

    Some 50 children from the Serb-held town of Zvornik arrived in Thessaloniki on 10 January for two weeks of vacations. The children arrived on a bus sent by the Kalamaria municipality of Thessaloniki and were sent on to Kavala and Imathia where they will stay with Greek families. Another 50 children from Zvornik which had spent Christmas and New Year in Greece returned to Bosnia. -- Stefan Krause

    [45] ROMANIAN PREMIER RECEIVES BEOBANKA CHAIRMAN.

    Nicolae Vacaroiu on 15 January received the chairman of Beobanka, the main bank in the rump Yugoslav Federation, Radio Bucharest and Romanian TV reported. Vacaroiu said after the meeting that Romanian-Yugoslav economic ties should be set on a new basis following the suspension of the UN sanctions. He further mentioned the need for a free trade agreement between the two countries. The Yugoslav guest told Vacaroiu that his bank was particularly interested in boosting relations with Romania in the banking and industrial sector. Beobanka, he added, was planning to start in the near future a series of joint projects with Romanian banks. -- Dan Ionescu

    Copyright (c) 1996 Open Media Research Institute, Inc. All rights reserved.

    This material was reprinted with permission of the Open Media Research Institute, a nonprofit organization with research offices in Prague, Czech Republic.
    For more information on OMRI publications please write to info@omri.cz

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