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OMRI: PURSUING BALKAN PEACE, V1,#5, Feb. 6, 1996

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

Open Media Research Institute: Pursuing Balkan Peace Directory

CONTENTS

  • [01] KEY DEADLINES MET IN BOSNIA.

  • [02] SERBS ADMIT THAT SREBRENICA MALES ARE DEAD.

  • [03] GOLDSTONE SAYS PROMINENT SERB SUSPECTS MAY BE BROUGHT TO JUSTICE.

  • [04] BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT ARRESTS SERBIAN GENERAL FOR WAR CRIMES.

  • [05] NATO TO GUARD MASS GRAVES . . .

  • [06] . . . AND ENSURE FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT FOR REFUGEES?

  • [07] RED CROSS FINDS 88 SERB PRISONERS IN TUZLA.

  • [08] SERBIAN POLICE TO STAY ON IN SARAJEVO UNTIL 19 MARCH.

  • [09] IFOR DEPLOYS MORE TROOPS IN SARAJEVO; UN POLICE LAG.

  • [10] BOSNIAN OPPOSITION DEPUTIES MEET ACROSS THE DIVIDE.

  • [11] SERBIAN PARTY TO STRESS BRINGING WAR CRIMINALS TO JUSTICE.

  • [12] KOLJEVIC VISITS GOVERNMENT-HELD PART OF SARAJEVO.

  • [13] "IFOR PLUNDERS SKENDERIJA."

  • [14] BIG MONEY NEEDED FOR BOSNIAN RECONSTRUCTION.

  • [15] REFUGEE UPDATE.

  • [16] SECRET SERB NETWORK HELPED MUSLIMS.

  • [17] BOSNIAN BISHOPS URGE FORGIVENESS AND RECONCILIATION.

  • [18] SACIRBEY SAYS FAREWELL.

  • [19] SAUDIS PROVIDED COVERT ARMS AID TO BOSNIAN MUSLIMS.

  • [20] CHRISTOPHER VISITS TUDJMAN . . .

  • [21] . . . AND MILOSEVIC.

  • [22] CHRISTOPHER OUTLINES TERMS FOR SERBIA.

  • [23] TALKING TO JOURNALISTS IN THE REPUBLIKA SRPSKA.


  • OMRI SPECIAL REPORT: PURSUING BALKAN PEACE

    Vol. 1, No. 5, 6 February 1996

    [01] KEY DEADLINES MET IN BOSNIA.

    The past week saw the establishment of new postwar governments for the Federation and for the Republic. The opposition in Sarajevo said, however, that the whole arrangement was nothing more than a power deal between the two governing nationalist parties, namely the Muslim Party of Democratic Action (SDA) and the Croatian Democratic Community (HDZ). Bosnian Serb parliamentary speaker Momcilo Krajisnik argued that the republican government was set up without Pale's participation and so his group could not recognize it. On the military side, an important deadline was met on the weekend for the withdrawal of forces from territories slated to be ceded to the other side. The Serbs left areas around Sarajevo, Mostar, and on the way to Gorazde, while the Croats pulled back from Mrkonjic Grad. The BBC said that IFOR's mandate was clear in enforcing the withdrawal if need be and that nobody wanted to provoke a reaction. In Sarajevo, however, a debate continued over the alleged politicization of the army by the SDA, while the U.S. made it clear to the government that too many Iranian mujahidin had been granted Bosnian citizenship and that they should leave. IFOR, for its part, killed a Serbian sniper in Sarajevo in the first such action against individuals shooting at peacekeepers. NATO aircraft also buzzed government forces near Mostar in the first use of air power against any one side since the Dayton agreement came into effect. -- Patrick Moore

    [02] SERBS ADMIT THAT SREBRENICA MALES ARE DEAD.

    But the issues of war crimes and war criminals continued to be at center stage. Nasa Borba on 5 February reported that Bosnian Serb officials in Srebrenica told UN human rights envoy Elisabeth Rehn that the missing men from Srebrenica were killed in battle. The BBC the previous day noted that few people are willing to believe that the deaths involved mainly combat casualties and will conclude that up to 8,000 people were indeed massacred. AFP reported on 5 February that still more mass graves are believed to exist in the Srebrenica area. The BBC said that the chief UN officer dealing with missing persons, Manfred Nowak, stated that there will be no lasting peace until the question of missing persons is cleared up. He added that the three sides have agreed to form a joint commission to deal with the matter. The broadcast noted that relatives of the missing, like the women who protested in Tuzla last week, are "at the end of their tether." -- Patrick Moore

    [03] GOLDSTONE SAYS PROMINENT SERB SUSPECTS MAY BE BROUGHT TO JUSTICE.

    Some of the war criminals responsible for this state of affairs may face their day in court. Nasa Borba on 5 February reported that the chief justice of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, Richard Goldstone, said that the chances of Bosnian Serb leaders Radovan Karadzic and General Ratko Mladic going to trial in The Hague are increasing. He stressed that the odds for their extradition seem greater now than ever before. The South African judge did temper his comments by observing that he did not have a crystal ball, and could predict exactly how developments would unfold. Elsewhere, the Croatian deputy foreign minister indicated that Zagreb is changing its laws on extradition and may be able to send General Tihomir Blaskic to the court soon. -- Stan Markotich and Patrick Moore

    [04] BOSNIAN GOVERNMENT ARRESTS SERBIAN GENERAL FOR WAR CRIMES.

    The Sarajevo authorities, for their part, have already begun taking action. International media reported on 6 February that a Bosnian Serb general, a colonel, and six other high-ranking officers were arrested by government forces. The exact times and circumstances of the developments were unclear, but the BBC said that the general had taken a wrong turn in a Sarajevo suburb. News agencies, however, suggested that the mainly Muslim forces grabbed the Serbs en route to a meeting with IFOR. The Bosnian Serb general staff protested the arrests, saying they violate the Dayton treaty's provisions on freedom of movement. General Djordje Djukic was one of Mladic's commanders who kept Sarajevo under siege. The International Herald Tribune quoted former Bosnian Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic as saying that the arrest and prosecution of war criminals must be a top priority issue. -- Patrick Moore

    [05] NATO TO GUARD MASS GRAVES . . .

    And discussion continues about the role of IFOR in dealing with war crimes. To date its spokesmen have said they will guard investigators or arrest war criminals they come upon, but will not go out of their way to find or protect sites themselves or hunt down suspects. NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana reaffirmed on 3 February that IFOR will provide security at mass grave sites and detain any indicted war criminal they encounter. However, NATO's military commander, U.S. General George Joulwan, said at the same news conference that there were problems in guarding the sites before IFOR is fully deployed, which will probably be by the 19th. NATO does not want to officially guard the sites because it believes that is beyond its mandate as spelled out in the Dayton peace accords and fears "mission creep." -- Michael Mihalka

    [06] . . . AND ENSURE FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT FOR REFUGEES?

    In anotherdevelopment, Onasa news agency reported on 1 February that IFOR agreed to help refugees from Srebrenica return there because the Dayton agreement provides for freedom of movement. But IFOR also exhibited some of its now familiar waffling, with a spokesman claiming that "we can't compel the Serbs to let these people in." IFOR's mandate was designed by experts to prevent the hamstringing that plagued UNPROFOR, but IFOR's command often seems to be timid in interpreting that mandate. -- Patrick Moore

    [07] RED CROSS FINDS 88 SERB PRISONERS IN TUZLA.

    Meanwhile in Tuzla, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) found 88 unregistered Serb prisoners on 2 February when it was finally allowed access to the Bosnian government-run prison, international media reported. The ICRC gave no details on when the prisoners might be released. The government had denied the ICRC access to the prison since September 1995. The ICRC said on 1 February that the Bosnian Serbs still hold some 20 prisoners in defiance of the Dayton peace accords, which mandated that all prisoners except suspected war criminals be released by 19 January. -- Michael Mihalka

    [08] SERBIAN POLICE TO STAY ON IN SARAJEVO UNTIL 19 MARCH.

    Other deadlines were in the news in Sarajevo. CNN reported on 3 February that the international community's chief representative in Sarajevo, Carl Bildt, said that the Bosnian Serb police could remain 45 days more in the Serb-held Sarajevo suburbs slated for return to government control. He said this was necessary to avoid a vacuum in authority and to reassure the Serbian population. The BBC reported the next day that the Bosnian civilian authorities had tried to thwart Bildt's moves, but that the Bosnian military had complied. The Serbian police, however, announced a 9 pm to 5 am curfew in those suburbs, and it is not clear how the Bosnian authorities will respond. Oslobodjenje noted on 5 February that those suburbs will be under government control alone after 19 March. The paper added that the government meanwhile says that only IFOR and the international police should be armed there. Bildt's arrangement calls for the Serbian police to wear side arms. -- Patrick Moore

    [09] IFOR DEPLOYS MORE TROOPS IN SARAJEVO; UN POLICE LAG.

    IFOR then deployed additional troops in those Serb suburbs to reassure the local population, international and local media reported on 6 February. Meanwhile in Davos, Switzerland, U.S. negotiator Richard Holbrooke dismissed Bosnian government concerns about the armed Serb police, saying the issue was not "critical." Back in Bosnia, the deployment of UN police to Bosnia continued to lag with only 215 in place out of an expected 2000. -- Michael Mihalka

    [10] BOSNIAN OPPOSITION DEPUTIES MEET ACROSS THE DIVIDE.

    Turning to civilian affairs, one of the hopes for a lasting peace in Bosnia is that the post-Dayton environment may encourage a restructuring of the political landscape, which has long been dominated by the respective nationalist parties of the Croats, Muslims, and Serbs. Onasa news agency and AFP reported on 31 January that Bosnian Serb opposition deputies from Banja Luka arrived in Sarajevo for a meeting with their counterparts there. The visitors were led by Liberal Party leader Miodrag Zivanovic and the hosts by Social Democratic chief Sejfudin Tokic. They issued a declaration that called for: the participation of opposition parties in organizing upcoming elections; the renewal of economic contacts; the punishment of war criminals; and the right of refugees to go home. A joint opposition council will be set up to encourage mutual trust, and an economic delegation from Banja Luka will go to Tuzla. Zivanovic added: "Democratic forces in Banja Luka believe that our lives cannot be built on ideas which understand an absolute reduction of life to ethnic background, which are advocated by the ideology of blood and evil, and which represent the past and a myth." -- Patrick Moore

    [11] SERBIAN PARTY TO STRESS BRINGING WAR CRIMINALS TO JUSTICE.

    Another organization of Serbs, namely the opposition Serbian Renewal Party (SPO), has announced that writer Vladimir Srebrov will head its campaign as the first Serbian political organization to contest the upcoming elections outside the Republika Srpska. Some 200,000 mainly anti-nationalist Serbs live on the territory controlled by the Federation. The SPO will focus its campaign on the return of refugees and cooperation with the Hague-based war crimes tribunal, Onasa news agency reported on 30 January. -- Patrick Moore

    [12] KOLJEVIC VISITS GOVERNMENT-HELD PART OF SARAJEVO.

    In yet another story of cross-border contacts, Nikola Koljevic, vice-president of the Republika Srpska, on 30 January visited the government-held part of Sarajevo for the first time since the war began, Oslobodjenje reported the same day. He was invited by OSCE officials to participate in talks on forthcoming elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina, but also discussed refugee issues, media, and the Serbs around Sarajevo with Federation President Kresimir Zubak. Asked by journalists how he felt during his first visit to Sarajevo in four years, he said: ". . . weird, maybe nostalgic." -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [13] "IFOR PLUNDERS SKENDERIJA."

    There was also other news that brings the word "weird" to mind. Some may say that IFOR has been timid in its behavior, but not the people who work at Sarajevo's city sports complex, Skenderija. Oslobodjenje on 3 February quoted officials of the center saying that IFOR soldiers moving from the complex to a Serb-held suburb had spent some days dismantling Skenderija's restaurant, dining room (including the curtains and piano), shower area, and bathrooms, leaving "only the tiles on the walls." The Sarajevo police had no authority to intervene and so they did not. The officials said that an IFOR officer told them they would get the things back some day if they could prove ownership, the daily reported. -- Patrick Moore

    [14] BIG MONEY NEEDED FOR BOSNIAN RECONSTRUCTION.

    Skenderija, of course, is hardly the only thing in Bosnia in want of repair. Nasa Borba on 6 February quoted Prime Minister Hasan Muratovic as stressing that Bosnia needs much money and soon. Muratovic estimates the bill at $3 billion per year for the next five years, and he quoted a World Bank projection of $5.1 billion in emergency aid for the infrastructure alone. On 30 January Onasa cited the transportation minister as saying that his first priority if he gets the money is to rebuild the Ploce-Mostar-Zenica-Doboj-Tuzla road connection, and then the railroad that links Ploce via Doboj to Hungary, Banja Luka, and Tuzla. He dismissed ideas about building a new railroad system independent of the Republika Srpska and called for the reconstruction of the prewar route. -- Patrick Moore

    [15] REFUGEE UPDATE.

    Restoring the infrastructure is central to rebuilding normal life, including the return of refugees, and one of the central points of the Dayton accords is the right of all displaced persons to go home or receive compensation for their property. Nasa Borba on 5 and 6 February noted that Serbian refugees have begun returning to the Mrkonjic Grad area, which just passed from Bosnian Croat to Bosnian Serb control in keeping with the Dayton agreements. Most of the homes there were so badly damaged that the refugees will not be able to return permanently for some time. The Serbs charged the Croats with deliberately devastating the area. Vecernji list on 5 February reported that a Serbian radio station in Eastern Slavonia continues to urge Serbs uprooted in last year's allied offensive to move into Croatian homes there. Western press reports last week said there are several signs that the East Slavonian Serbs have no intention of letting the region return to Croatian control as it is supposed to do. Meanwhile in the Muslim-Croat Federation, Novi list described a pilot project to enable 600 families to return to their homes in the other group's area. The regions in question are Travnik, Bugojno, Jajce, and Stolac. One key test for the Federation will be the extent to which Muslim families can return to their homes in Croat-held areas and vice-versa, since this will indicate whether the two sides are able to overcome the legacy of the 1993 internecine war and cooperate for a common future. The Guardian reported on one specific case of people putting animosities behind them when an elderly Serb couple returned to their home in Breza. After a short time the Muslim and Croat neighbors welcomed them back, noting that "ordinary people never understood why the war was being fought. For ordinary people, it is possible to go back to the way things were." -- Patrick Moore

    [16] SECRET SERB NETWORK HELPED MUSLIMS.

    Croatian and Muslim refugees who were victims of "ethnic cleansing" often tell stories of clandestine aid they received from anti-nationalist Serbs, often old friends or neighbors, who quietly went against the orders of Serbian extremists, who tended to come from outside the community in question. Oslobodjenje on 31 January quotes the mufti of Banja Luka, Ibrahim Halilovic, as saying that a whole network of such Serbs existed and gave great assistance to Muslims. Halilovic added that it is too early to name names or make the whole story public, but that he will do so in due course. Meanwhile, on 2 February Bosnia's senior imam, Mustafa Ceric, went to Banja Luka for the first time in four years. He said prayers with some 4,000 Muslims who remained in the city, Oslobodjenje said the next day. Ceric's visit was made possible by Carl Bildt. According to UN agencies, the Serbs expelled about 40,000 Muslims and 26,000 Croats from the Banja Luka region during the war. -- Patrick Moore and Daria Sito Sucic

    [17] BOSNIAN BISHOPS URGE FORGIVENESS AND RECONCILIATION.

    Roman Catholic leaders were also in the news. The members of the Bosnian Bishops' Conference sent a special message to all Catholic communities and people to express their thoughts on the Church and the world at large at a time that is neither war nor peace, Novi list reported on 6 February. The bishops stress forgiveness, including on the part of those who feel they were wronged by Catholics during the war. The president of the Conference, Cardinal Vinko Puljic, and Bishops Franjo Komarica and Ratko Peric reached out to the Serbian Orthodox Church and to the Islamic Religious Community, stressing the importance of choosing a path of peace and mutual respect. "More than this cannot be said nor done by one regional church leadership," the Rijeka daily commented. The Roman Catholic Church leadership in Bosnia and Croatia has consistently supported peace and reconciliation, in keeping with the teachings of Pope John Paul II. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [18] SACIRBEY SAYS FAREWELL.

    On the diplomatic front, one of the figures in the Bosnian conflict best known abroad, Foreign Minister Muhamed "Mo" Sacirbey, held a final press conference in Sarajevo after leaving office, Oslobodjenje reported on 2 February. He stressed that Bosnia needed good relations with both the West and the Muslim world, and that it could serve as a bridge between them. He also recalled the case of the thousand civilians still held prisoner by the Serbs. Sacirbey said that the Bosnian foreign service had become more professional during his tenure and that more embassies would be opened with fewer employees on the payroll. He added that he would take part in an army training program as President Alija Izetbegovic's special representative, but suggested that his own future might lie in business. Sacirbey's father, like Izetbegovic, was an Islamic activist who was persecuted by the communists. He later emigrated to the U.S., where the family name was changed from Sacirbegovic and Muhamed was raised and educated. -- Patrick Moore

    [19] SAUDIS PROVIDED COVERT ARMS AID TO BOSNIAN MUSLIMS.

    Meanwhile, other aspects of Bosnia's relations with the Muslim world have come to light. According to one account, Saudi Arabia provided some $300 million in arms to the embattled republic over the last three years with the tacit support of the U.S. government. A senior White House official called the report, which appeared in the Washington Post on 2 February, "preposterous and insulting," but stopped short of saying that the U.S. was unaware of the Saudi actions, which were in direct violation of the UN embargo. A Saudi official said that the American role "was more than just turning a blind eye to what was going on . . . . It was consent combined with stealth cooperation . . . . American knowledge began under (President George) Bush and became much greater under (President Bill) Clinton." Aid usually came via Croatia, which was also under embargo and which took a cut of up to 50%, although some night flights were made directly to Tuzla and other airfields under Bosnian control. French officials had repeatedly complained about several mysterious flights by American C-130s transport aircraft to Tuzla, but the U.S. had suggested a possible Turkish role. The unnamed Saudi official said that he was making his disclosure to show how much his country had done for Bosnia at a time when Iran was trying to take the credit. He said that Iran simply "had the biggest mouth." -- Michael Mihalka and Patrick Moore

    [20] CHRISTOPHER VISITS TUDJMAN . . .

    Regardless of what Washington did or did not do in the past, the U.S. is certainly active now in holding the signatories to their Dayton obligations. The Secretary of State visited Croatia on 2 February, where he held talks with President Franjo Tudjman on many important issues related to the peace implementation, Hina and AFP reported the next day. Besides stressing that Washington "will continue to support the peaceful return of the Croatian land of Eastern Slavonia," Christopher urged Croatia to cooperate with efforts to bring war criminals to trial in The Hague. Tudjman replied that Croatia had cooperated in settling the crisis in ex-Yugoslavia and that it was also ready to cooperate with the tribunal, "but Croatia has its constitution and the Croatian government is preparing a bill to define this cooperation." As it now stands, the constitution prohibits extradition of a citizen who has already been tried in Croatia. On another delicate issue, Christopher again made it clear that Washington considered fragile Federation in Bosnia as a critical element in the peace process. -- Daria Sito Sucic

    [21] . . . AND MILOSEVIC.

    Nasa Borba on 5 February reported that during his visit to Belgrade the previous day, Christopher held extensive talks with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic on the question of Belgrade's cooperation with the court. Milosevic said he would allow an international war crimes investigator to establish an office in Belgrade, but resisted pressure to say that his authorities would extradite suspected war criminals, notably Karadzic and Mladic, to face trial in The Hague. Milosevic described the talks as "frank and open," which is diplomatic language indicating there were strong disagreements. For his part, Christopher noted that US relations with rump Yugoslavia were improving "step by step," but also observed that Washington was not yet prepared to post an ambassador in Belgrade or to approve financial aid to the rump Yugoslavia. The daily also observed that Christopher suggested to Milosevic that international sanctions might be re-introduced if Milosevic fails to cooperate fully on the issue of war crimes and criminals. Milosevic's main reason to back the Dayton process was to get rid of the sanctions. -- Stan Markotich

    [22] CHRISTOPHER OUTLINES TERMS FOR SERBIA.

    Milosevic is interested not only in getting the sanctions lifted, but also in returning to international organizations and normal diplomatic life. During the Belgrade talks, however, Christopher pointed out some obstacles in the way. He raised the issue of human rights violations in Kosovo, urging Milosevic to "ensure the status for Kosovo that would ensure respect of political and human rights" for the Kosovar Albanians. The International Herald Tribune on 5 February quoted Christopher as threatening that rump Yugoslavia "will never achieve full acceptance into the international community, will never achieve full approbation by the United States until it reconciles the status of Kosovo." Earlier Kosovar shadow-state President Ibrahim Rugova had urged the U.S. and EU not to recognize rump Yugoslavia as the legal successor of the socialists Yugoslavia until the Kosovo conflict is solved. Following the Belgrade visit, Albanian President Sali Berisha welcomed Christopher's statement not to admit rump Yugoslavia into international organizations yet. According to Christopher, Milosevic at least agreed to the opening of a United States Information Agency office in Kosovo, international agencies reported on 4 February. -- Fabian Schmidt

    Compiled by Patrick Moore

    [23] TALKING TO JOURNALISTS IN THE REPUBLIKA SRPSKA.

    Driving the road from Sarajevo to Pale in the cold of February is a lonely experience. All the checkpoints and most of the bunkers are gone and there are few reminders of the cruel battles fought over the last four years. Rocks falling from the roadside cliffs litter the asphalt. At the end of the canyon lies Pale, the former ski resort , whose status as the capital of the Republika Srpska has been given international acknowledgment through the Dayton agreement. But even a peace accord can't make a village bigger or more imposing.

    Dragan Bozanic is the minister of information of the Republika Srpska. He left Sarajevo, where he had spent his whole life, when the war began. An educated city man, a former well-traveled foreign correspondent for Yugoslav media, he works in a ground floor office, behind a desk on which lie bits of ammunition, the debris and souvenirs of battle. Under the official portrait of President Radovan Karadzic hangs a homemade pistol flanked by two religious icons. Two propaganda posters express sentiments of undiluted feeling. One bearing the legend, "The Beast Is Out Again," shows a hairy Devil's claw clinking glasses in a toast with a human, on whose hand there is a cufflink with Croatia's checkerboard symbol. In the background there is a Nazi flag with swastika. The other uses a play on words linking the words "deutsch" and "ustasha" over the slogan: "Ready for Deutsch Democracy."

    The reason for my meeting with the minister is to discuss the possibility of establishing contacts between professional journalists from the Republika Srpska and those from the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The minister addresses the issue: "We and our journalists are willing to make working contacts with our counterparts on the other side. But we have to deal with a strong lack of understanding [for such contacts] that exists among people here. You must not forget we were enemies in a war for four years." Bozanic describes the journalists who are about to arrive for the meeting. "These journalists tried to stop the war from breaking out. We, the Serbs, are peaceful people and we wanted nothing more than to live on a territory that belonged to Serbs for centuries. We did not want to break up Yugoslavia. The war was imposed on us and you have to understand that these journalists are people who were forced to leave Sarajevo. For thousands of years the Serbs were patient and peaceful. But every injustice and every violence against our people was like a small dose of radiation. It does not kill you but it leaves a trace which builds up in your body. It cannot be allowed to go on, otherwise you would die. We were patient for a thousand years but now our patience is gone and for our survival we had to say enough. We cannot live together with Muslims and Croats anymore."

    Minutes later the seven senior journalists arrive and they begin talk of being shunned and misunderstood. "We did not have the means to hire American public relations firms like the Muslims did," said one. "All the foreign journalists go to Sarajevo and only a very few come here to hear our side," said another. A third revealed his doubt about the possibility of meeting with the other side to draw up basic rules of journalistic behavior and expression. "Bildt says that journalists from both sides should work as professionals together. But the Muslim side has not stopped the media war yet. They still use the word 'they' when they talk about us." After two hours, four of the seven agreed to give their names.

    Sona Lakic, from SRNA news agency, had worked for Sarajevo TV before the war. She knows many of journalists who stayed behind there and she admits that some had been her friends. But then she asks: "What moral right do I have to sit down with them and talk about professional problems at a time when my people are forced to leave Serb Sarajevo."

    The talk went on into the evening. There were complaints that the Muslims in the past had published a list of Serb journalists from Pale identifying them as war criminals. "The Croat-Muslim Federation talks about amnesty but nothing has happened, said one of those who did not give their names. Another mentioned that a week earlier during an exchange of prisoners at Sarajevo airport, a Serb journalist had been rebuffed when she asked Amor Masovic, a Muslim overseeing exchanges for the Bosnian authorities, for an interview. "He told her she will not get one in the next five years. If it had been one of our politicians who had done something like that, it would have immediately caused an incident."

    The meeting drew to a close, without anything clearly established or clearly precluded, like the peace process itself. Would it possible for journalists from the two sides to sit around a table and talk about attending joint press conferences or finding mutually inoffensive language? The trip from Pale to Sarajevo covers less than 18 kilometers. It is downhill, and in the darkness and the cold you have to watch for the rocks and ice, but maybe it will be easier once spring arrives. -- Jan Urban (OMRI's special correspondent in Sarajevo)


    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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