Summit of the Three
The BiH Presidency announced Wednesday that they support an initiative to bring the leaders of BiH, Croatia and Yugoslavia (FRY) together for a so-called "Summit of the Three."
"Concretely, Presidency member Halid Genjac supported this idea during the visit of FRY President Vojislav Koštunica," said Presidency spokesperson Boris Kujundžić. He said such a meeting would probably be held by the end of spring and that BiH is interested in hosting it.
Other leaders are not so enthused. A spokesperson of Croatian President Stipe Mešić told Avaz Wednesday that Mešić said such a summit would be senseless as long as Serbia refuses to hand over the indicted war criminals on its territory.
"Presidents Koštunica and Mešić did not come to any concrete agreement in Davos, except when President Mešić said that he had nothing against such a meeting, provided that certain conditions were met," said Vjera Šuman. "These conditions are well-known: extraditing those indicted for war crimes... and democratising Serbia in every sense of the word. When those criteria are satisfied, then the President will meet with them—until then, no."
Ministries sign return protocol
A Republika Srpska (RS) refugee office will open in Sarajevo and a Federation office will open in Banja Luka soon according to a protocol that refugee ministers from both entities signed Tuesday.
"In opening this discussion, we have analysed the current state in regard to the implementation of Annex 7," said Council of Ministers Chair Martin Raguž Tuesday in Nezavisne Novine. Annex 7 is the part of the Dayton Accords that guarantees every refugee's right to return home. He also said that now the refugee ministries could begin to formulate their return strategies for 2001.
Raguž also favours the formation of an inter-parliamentary board made up of representatives from Croatia and BiH to address the problem of returning refugees. The refugee problem, after all, is not just a problem that is within Bosnia's borders. For instance, the Republika Srpska is not only full of displaced people from the Bosnian Federation but there are also many Croatian Serbs there who had fled to the RS during and after Croatia's "Storm" operation in 1995. Yugoslavia has a refugee problem as well—both Croatian and Bosnian Serbs moved there en masse between 1991 and 1995. Raguž said he expects some sort of trilateral co-operation between BiH, Croatia and Yugoslavia in the future.
International officials: partition not the answer
Advocating Bosnia's partition only suggests that the nationalists responsible for a war that killed 200,000 people deserve to be waving victory flags, wrote High Representative Wolfgang Petritsch in a letter that appeared in both The New York Times (NYT) and the International Herald Tribune this week. Petritsch was responding to a NYT opinion column that had said Croat areas should go to Croatia, Serb areas to Yugoslavia and the Muslim centre of Bosnia should be an independent mini-state. These "sectors" are largely imaginary, Petritsch stated.
"Ethnic cleansing has taken its toll," he wrote, "but Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks still live intermingled. Who will draw the line? Where would the 30,000 Serbs and 20,000 Croats who live in Sarajevo go?"
Petritsch said the international community is committed to making sure that refugees and displaced people are able to exercise the right to their stolen property, the right to return home and the right to see war crimes suspects prosecuted.
"So the real project for Bosnia is to integrate, not to separate," he wrote, adding that much progress has already been made to create functioning political institutions and economic reforms. He also said refugees were returning home to areas that experienced some of the worst atrocities during the war.
"A multi-ethnic Bosnia is therefore not an illusion designed by ambitious do-gooders," Petritsch wrote. "It is the answer to the war."
Parties want to join Alliance for Changes
The Alliance for Changes coalition may end up being larger if it admits two political parties that stated this week that they want to join. The Pensioners' Party announced Monday that it would like to be part of the coalition. Wednesday, the Democratic National Union (DNZ), at a press conference in the north-western Bosnian town of Bihać, said it, too, wanted to join. In most of the post-war period, it stated, the Party of Democratic Action (SDA) has tried to exclude everyone who was not in line with SDA politics. Party official Rifet Dolić said the DNZ wanted to be an Alliance partner to carry out change and that it had its own political values. The Alliance is currently made up of ten Federation parties.
Flu comes to Bosnia
The country's top epidemiologist, Dr Zlatko Puvačić, told Oslobođenje Wednesday that a type A "New Caledonia" flu virus has struck BiH, mainly in the towns of Tuzla, Grude and Lukovac. "It's looking like the epidemiological situation in European countries," Puvačić said, and recommended that people get vaccinated, especially children and the elderly.
Beth Kampschror, 2 February 2001
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