Political happenings in Bosnia, August 1999

*Stability Pact, one Month Later

The first stability pact is over. Thirty days later, after all the pomp up that followed this event, it is possible to take a look at some of its most important decisions. The first summit gathered nine countries from the European Southeast, 15 members of European Union and representatives of the USA, Russia and Turkey.
42 world delegations visited Sarajevo during those two days. In fact, all big leaders of the current political scene got together in Sarajevo Zetra in those two days.
Just to remind you, the stability pact conference was initiated by Germany and its goal is moving toward final peace stabilization of the southeast European region.
The first meeting started on the first day, in the late afternoon hours. It was a regional meeting of the pact members. The presiding was Mahti Ahtisaari, the president of Finland, who is currently the head of the European Union.
The regional conference had three leading themes which were presented by three members of Bosnian Presidency.
Alija Izetbegovic, leader of SDA (Party of Democratic Action) spoke of human rights which is absurd, considering the policy of his party. Ante Jelavic, leader of HDZ (Croatian Democratic Union) spoke of the democratic process which is also absurd, considering the policy of his party.
Zivko Radisic, member of Presidency from Republika Srpska, spoke of the possibilities of improving economic situation. Also absurd, Republika Srpska has been in economic collapse for some time. All of them together expressed the general attitude of the misfortunate Bosnia and Herzegovina.
It is interesting to mention that one chair in this regional meeting remained empty. FR Yugoslavia will not be admitted as long as Slobodan Milosevic continues to be the president. Although Yugoslavia did not have the status of an active participant, there were several delegations who had the status of observers - from Montenegro, Sanjack, and from Serbia itself. The presence of Dragoljub Avramovic, one of the strongest oposition leaders in Serbia, was very indicative. This clearly shows who is the favorite of the International Community, and who they would like to see as the new president of FR Yugoslavia. Most of the participants of the regional conference expressed their optimism about admittance of FR Yugoslavia because they consider Yugoslavia an important element in the safety of the entire region. Does it mean that the International Community will start an action to replace Milosevic, remains to be seen.
The second day of the summit started with the signing of an agreement on frontiers between Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Franjo Tudjman, president of Croatia,and Alija Izetbegovic, member of Bosnian Presidency, signed the agreement by which all the problems concerning the border lines between these two countries are solved in a peaceful manner.
The last part of the summit was a meeting in which all the representatives of the stability pact and the European Union, USA, Russia and Turkey took part. After the two hour session, they adopted the Sarajevo Declaration on Stability Pact of the southeast Europe. The declaration is nothing new, of course. It's full of things like human rights, tolerance, cooperation between countries, economic progres, region demilitarization, war against crime...
The only question is the possibility of realization of these things.
Judging from the ambitions, this time the results should be real. There will be a new meeting in September in order to see the results.
The future will show the true meaning of this summit. These matters have been discussed many times before, but their realization often failed
. Will the International Community and the region countries have the right for new hesitations and wars after this meeting? Or this depends on other factors. Like the American, for example.
The situation in Sarajevo has lost some of the euphoria that was present in the local media during the summit. It's important to mention that most of the roads were blocked so our feet were used for transportation what made a lot of people remember the war days and also caused many swearing on the count of many delegations that passed by in their cars.
How different is the Stability pact from many other previous attempts of solving the problem of the European southeast? It seems to me that the International Community saw this moment as the last opportunity for making peace among these tribes. Along with the possibility of making personal profit, of course.
It was no coincidence that this moment was chosen for the summit. The region of southeast Europe is at the new beginning. After the wars and the breakdown of fascist regimes, which have marked the region over the last decade, the International Community is using the opportunity to affirm a new world order which is based on economic cooperation and personal interest instead on wars. The strategy is changing. People were divided before so it could be possible to rule them, but today, in order to rule the European southeast, Internationals have to calm it first. Things have gone too far. Or that's exactly where they should have gone.
Bosnia and Herzegovina has made a big profit in the first summit. And also lost a great deal of money in some parts of it. Personal profit of the Bosnians who took part in the organization of this circus will not be considered this time.
The agreement on borders between Bosnia and Croatia has been signed. Franjo Tudjman had to sign the paper in front of all the politicians of the world, by which he denies himself every right to Bosnian terrirory. While Izetbegovic and co. had happy smiles on their faces, it probably was not very easy for Tudjman. Especially because this same Bosnia and its borders could take him to Haag.The fact that the matter of western borders of BiH is settled proves that this signature is not just a formality. Also, the matter of Neum area. Just as a reminder, all of these locations had been discussed before, but there was no progress.
Economic plan of connecting the region is more durable so it will take more time to see its realization. It is clear, however, that if intensive contacts should continue after the summit than it will make sense.
The first regional Stability pact table will take place in Brussels in mid September. Every once in a while new ideologists will gather and analize the results.
And maybe that's not so bad?
*Carlos Westendorp left BiH
Almost two years after taking over the function of High Representative for BiH, Carlos Westendorp is leaving. Were the two years too much or not, we don't know, but he is leaving to represent his country in the European Parliament.
As a High Representative of the International Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Westendorp made his last speech in the Security Council in New York. The speech was a resume of his two year odyssey in Bosnia. To remind you, this Spaniard had to replace 16 high political officials (including the president of Republika Srpska Nikola Poplasen). Without mentioning the small ones. He also had to bring 45 decisions according to Madrid and Bonn conference. Decisions that local power was not able not make. And as such he was mentioned in these reports more than Izetbegovic, Jelavic and Radisic all together. It is more or less known that Westendorp created the identity of the country as we know it. National anthem, flag, passports, currency...the list would be too long. Experience shows that it is the only way possible to work with Bosnian chiefs. And he was successful. At least it looks like it from this point of view. After two years of Westendorp, there are some chances that Bosnia could become a state eventually.
The new High representative comes from Austria. Time and actions will show if Wolfgang Petric is worthy of his predecessor. He has a stable political situation and a platform left from Westendorp. How is he going to use it, remains to be seen. It also remains to be seen how much the local power is going to change. If anyone expects it anyway.
Or maybe there are some things that are simply unchangeable.
*Public Embarrassment
Embarrassment is out in the open. New York Times, in the 17 August issue, published that Izetbegovic and co. have nicked over one billion dollars in the last couple of years. American dollars, of course. In many different ways - only stealing is their common mark.
Izetbegovic's ass-kissing media- Dnevni Avaz and BHT along with the Zelene Beretke, Mladi Muslimani and other patriots have tried for hours after that to explain what a terrible lie that is. They were doing this in the most convincing and heart-breaking way, calling upon the ghosts of those who gave their lives for "free, democratic, and what else..." Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Chris Hedges, the clumsy author of the article calls upon the report of an anti-corruption team which was printed on 4000 pages. Without the support of evidence which could cost him a law suit, as the Izetbegovics say. Although, those who want to know, need no evidence. They are out there. If we wish to see them. At the beginning of the last year, there were information coming from London about the corruption in Bosnia. Of course, Izetbegovic asked them to give evidence, if they had it.
It is absurd, but the evidence about the corruption in the country came from Izetbegovic himself, although he intentionally minimalized the guilt of those who did it. Sort of like "folks, the stealing was done for your sake...". And the folks are so naive to believe it. A team from Bosnia went to London to examine these statements, but when they got back they were not able to publish their findings in the right way. It looks as if the evidence is not welcome in public after all.
The same story happened this time. Izetbegovic's appearance was rude and emotional. If they have the evidence they should make them public, while, at the same time he prays that the anti-corruption team doesn't do it. There are plenty of evidence.
I am curious to see the end of this episode. Is there going to be a new report in a year and Izetbegovic's new requests for evidence, or...
In the meantime, stealing, corruption, mafia and similar things in Bosnia today will still be happening.
Franjo Tudjman - on the way to Haag (trough Sarajevo)
Wishing it or not, the last issue of the Sarajevo weekly magazine BH Dani faced strong reactions. Especially in some countries of the former Yugoslavia. And here's why.
There was a title on the front page which reveals secret preparations for the charge against Franjo Tudjman, the president of Croatia. And inside the magazine there was a text which gave more detail about the case. All this under a code IT - 99 - 35, which is really a mark for the charge against Tudjman. The bringing up of the charge is no longer in question, as Dani claims. It is only unclear if it will be done by Louise Arbour during her final mandate days or Carla Del Ponte, the new-coming prosecutor.
This is shocking and unacceptable to many people. A charge! And other people have expected it for years.
The fact is that the charge itself will make relations between the West and Croatia worse. They are already bad enough because of the refusal of Croatian government to hand the generals suspected of war crimes over to the Haag Tribunal. How is this going to effect the global situation in the region?
"Association of Croatian journalists for protecting the constitution and Franjo Tudjman" reacted hastly saying this case was fabricated. But they haven't really tried to give arguments for it.
Whether it's true or not (and I see no reason to doubt it, considering the leader's recent past) there is a conclusion to be made. A few months back, Mate Boban ended up in Zagreb graveyard, Karadzic, Milosevic and Tudjman are getting closer to Hague cells and courtrooms. There is only Izetbegovic missing to make a full poker of rats.
Judging from the good Tribunal work, we won't have to wait long for the final rat.
Unless he decides to follow Boban's (leader of radical bosnian Croats) footsteps - to die.