Issue No. 212 - February 23, 2001

            By Zoran Mamula

            By Slobodan Rackovic

           By Radenko Udovicic

           By Farhad Mammadov


     By Zoran Mamula
    Last week's terrorist attack on a Serbian convoy in Kosovo
that left 11 people dead, along with the death of three policemen
in the security zone in southern Serbia, pose the biggest
challenge to Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica since he came
to power last October.
    The bomb placed under a Serbian convoy bus, which killed among
others a 3-year old boy, is certainly the culmination of Albanian
extremist violence against Kosovar Serbs, which has been going on
since June 1999, when Serbian forces retreated from Kosovo and
peacekeeping forces arrived after the NATO intervention against FR
Yugoslavia. The tragic result of this violence is the existence of
over 200,000 Kosovar Serbs refugees and more than 1000 missing
    The escalation of fighting in Kosovo and southern Serbia was
fiercely condemned by the European Union, USA and General Secretary of
NATO George Robertson, who reminded Albanians that the alliance
intervened to return peace and equality to all nations in Kosovo,
and not to exchange the repression of Serbian forces against
Albanian people for extremist Albanian violence against Serbs. UN
officials in Kosovo also warned Albanians that they would lose
support if they didn't stop the violence that has escalated over
the last several days.
    Chief of Mission of the UN High Commission for Refugees in
Pristina Eric Morris said it seemed that members of minorities
were exiled one after the other, and that extremists won't stop
until the province is ethnically "clean." Morris warned that this
would cause the withdrawal of the international support for Kosovo,
which will reflect on all persons living in the province. Morris
expressed grave concern for the future of the province, which is
losing the support of the international community with each
passing day.
    Kosovar Albanian leaders also condemned the attack on the
Serbian convoy, but only after pressure from the international
community. A respected intellectual from Pristina Veton Suroi said
the terrorist attack on Kosovar Serbs was a "black day for Kosovo"
and asked whether "Albanians are now using Slobodan Milosevic's
methods." However, publisher Skeljzen Malici said in a commentary
printed in the "Koha Ditore" newspaper that "the main problem with
terrorism in Kosovo is that it is still anonymous, and that not
one organization is taking responsibility for attacks on Serbian
civilians". Malici didn't exclude the possibility that "although
Albanian extremists have been accused of terrorism, it's possible
that assassinations were organized and ordered by non-Albanian
secret services and organizations. Analyzing these actions, one
might conclude that this situation is more desirable to certain
other groups than it is to the Albanians."
    Angry Kosovar Serbs don't accept the verbal condemnation of
violence, and are asking for the resignation of KFOR commander
Karl Kabidjozu and complete international protection in order
to avoid repeating last week's tragedy. They have been protesting
every day in their enclaves and have been blocking main roads to
show their dissatisfaction with what they see as international
    The Serbian National Council cut off all contact with the KFOR
commander and representatives of the UN mission in Kosovo.
Emphasizing that the newest wave of anti-Serbian violence is only
"the tip of the iceberg," Marko Jaksic, leader of Serbian National
Council, said the terrorist attacks were inspired by Albanian
political circles. In his opinion, violence in Kosovo will
    "The number of victims will keep increasing, and the number of
Serbs in the region will keep shrinking", said Jaksic.
    Jaksic thinks the basis for violent actions can be found in
institutions that the international community formed in Kosovo's
judicial and police systems.
    "During last year, 1,200 people were kidnapped in Kosovo, more
than 1000 were killed, and Kosovar police didn't catch one
kidnapper or murderer," said Jaksic.
    The unknown fate of kidnapped Serbs is one of the reasons
behind increasing pressures on creators of democratic changes, and
also behind the decision of Yugoslav president Vojislav Kostunica
and Serbian prime minister Zoran Djindjic to tighten their
attitude toward the international community and even order the
return of the army and police to Kosovo. That is also the demand
from the Association of Families of Kidnapped and Missing Individuals
from Kosovo, which has been protesting for days in the streets of
Belgrade demanding more decisive government action to find their
missing relatives.
    The president of this association Ranko Djinovich said that
families of  the kidnapped and missing in Kosovo will "begin a
personal fight". The Association, he said, will support their
further actions, but cannot be responsible for them.
    "For a long time we have had a problem with channeling despair
of the families of the kidnapped," said Djinovic. "There are cases
when people want to burn themselves in the center of Belgrade or
to begin a hunger strike in front of international and state
    Djinovic said that a crime is occurring in Kosovo in front of
60,000 soldiers from international forces.
    "It is the final hour for the international community to take
responsibility for enforcing UN Security Council Resolution 1244,"
said Djinovic. "Yugoslav authorities are in an even worse
situation because of the increasingly fierce fighting in the
"security zone" in southern Serbia, on the territories of
Bujanovac, Presevo and Medvedje, counties mostly populated with
Albanians. Armed Albanian extremist located in the "security zone"
have increased their attacks proportionately with the escalation
of violence in Kosovo, which has resulted in deaths of three
Serbian policemen. Radical political options, especially
Milosevic's Socialist Party and Serbian Radical Party headed by
ultra-nationalist Vojislav Seselj that lost power in the last
elections, are trying to take the advantage of this crisis and are
asking for Serbian military and police forces to "enter the
security zone and destroy the extremists with all means at their
    As opposed to the former government, the new government
realizes that entering the "security zone" would also mean
fighting with the international community because according to Kosovo
resolution of the UN Security Council, army cannot enter the zone
5 kilometers wide, while police forces can, but only with light
personal weapons. Instead, the government once again called on
Albanians from southern Serbia to participate in the urgent
negotiations, on the basis of a plan outlined by the
vice-president of the Serbian government Nebojsa Covic. This plan
consists of the gradual demilitarization of the region and the
inclusion of Albanian representatives in government institutions.
    Albanian political leader Riza Halimi in general agreed to
negotiations and abstaining from radical demands, but the problem
is armed Albanians calling themselves the "Liberation Army of
Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedje." This group demands that all
Serbian forces retreat from the region prior to any negotiations,
and they want representatives of the international community as
mediators, and they want the results of the 1992 referendum, when
Albanians from Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedje voted in favor of
joining Kosovo, to be acknowledged. Local analysts think armed
Albanians have set totally unacceptable conditions in order to
prolong negotiations, because they know too well that they have
the short end of the stick owing to the international community's
support for the Serbian plan. NATO general secretary George
Robertson said at the beginning of the week that the alliance is
ready to consider lowering the "security zone," which should serve
as a reward to Belgrade for its moderate reaction to Albanians
armed actions. However, considering the almost daily victims among
Serbian police as well as internal pressure, the big question now
is how much longer the Yugoslav authorities' patience will last.
                        *  *  *

     By Slobodan Rackovic
    Despite warnings and even threats to cancel international
financial aid if it leaves FR Yugoslavia, Montenegro is rushing
unstoppably to independence.
    It seems more and more certain that world powers won't be able
to save a third Yugoslavia made out of two member states. The
situation is similar to the one in 1991 when they weren't able to
save the second, Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia
consisting of six republics and which, as is already known, was
torn apart in bloodbath.
    The similarities to 1991 are striking. Ten years ago, as now,
the ruling American Republican Party didn't want to hear about the
breakup of Yugoslavia. Then State Department head James Baker
tried desperately to save an already clinically dead country, the
death of which he wasn't ready to admit. His colleague Collin
Powell made an unusual diplomatic, one could say even insulting,
move, when he refused to meet with Montenegrin president Milo
Djukanovic during Djukanovic's seven-day visit to Washington and
New York. Ten years ago, the American president was also George
Bush (that, is, Senior), and threats were being heard from the
European center of Brussels that no state that separates will be
    As we know, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Macedonia failed to
listen to these warnings, and they are now free and independent
countries. Almost ten years after that, Montenegro will probably
join them. Especially since now there is no danger of war, since
the "Balkan butcher" Slobodan Milosevic was removed from power on
October 8 of last year. New politicians in Belgrade are
peaceful, but not less inclined toward the idea of the Greater Serbia
than he was. So, Montenegro waited to see the downfall of the
militant regime and the man who threatened it violently for ten
years, so it could become the only country besides Macedonia that
has achieved its independence without war.
    Last Monday, Montenegrin parliament made some steps in that
direction. It passed new law on referendums. President Djukanovic
promised to hold one immediately after the early parliamentary
elections on April 22, right after the formation of a new
parliament with a supposed majority of pro-independence parties.
Since according to the new law, the deadline for referendum is 45
days after its announcement in parliament, and it is normal to
expect that by the end of June at the latest, Montenegrin citizens
could have the final word on the future of their tiny country,
encompassing 14,000 square kilometers and made out of only 700,000
    President Djukanovic himself set April 22 as election day
last Tuesday. He stressed on many occasions that the end of June
would be the final date for holding a referendum. The new law on
referendums, created according to those in democratic countries
and with the participation of OSCE representatives, supports such
a view.
    However, the pro-Yugoslav and pro-Serbian parliamentary
parties that support a unified Yugoslavia, namely the Socialist
People's Party and People's Party, have criticized the law and
refused to vote for it, threatening even to boycott the
referendum. They are mostly disappointed that the 150-200 thousand
Montenegrins living in Serbia won't be able to vote in the
referendum, which significantly lowers their chances to save the
Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. Most parliamentary parties that have
supported the new referendum law think this demand doesn't make
sense, because those people are Serbian citizens that have lived
in Serbia for decades, voting in Serbian elections. They therefore
supported the proposal that only individuals who have been living
constantly in Montenegro for at least two years can vote.
    Socialist People's Party and People's Party also demanded that
Montenegrin independence could be legal only if more than half of
the total number of voters says yes, not just the number of voters
that participated in the elections, and it was finally decided to
incorporate this objection into law. One should emphasize that the
two most significant parts of the new law are the same as those
from the old law, following which Montenegro agreed to constitute
a joint country with Serbia on March 1, 1992.
    "We should leave Yugoslavia with same laws as were in force
when we were entering it," say representatives of Democratic
Socialist Party, Social democrat Party, Liberal Alliance,
Democratic Union of Albanians and Democratic Alliance of
Albanians, who voted for this law. However, nobody would like it
if supporters of the Socialist People's Party and People's Party
boycotted the referendum, since its results would then be
diminished, especially in the eyes of the international community,
which will seek in every way to challenge the validity of the
independence process. It would also be bad if there were an
atmosphere of antagonism during the referendum campaign. In this
small country, with its various divided political options and
national emotions, such an atmosphere could lead to unnecessary
civil unrest. The old division of Montenegrins into "greens"
(pro-independence) and "whites" (pro-alliance with Serbia) have
recently caused bloody conflicts in the country, especially in
1918, 1948, 1989 and 1998, and this causes a fear of new
    Belgrade isn't ready to lose this beautiful country with its
200-kilometer long Adriatic coast. Its loss would turn Serbia into
a continental country, oriented eastward, so pressure has
been piling up on Podgorica since Slobodan Milosevic left. Trying
to keep Montenegro in Yugoslavia, the new regime in Belgrade
headed by president Vojislav Kostunica (unrecognized by
Montenegro, along with all other federal institutions) is
spreading negative opinion about Djukanovic and his colleagues
across the world. Serbs have Italy as their most loyal ally in
this dishonest action. The Italian government has been launching
pretentious accusations that Montenegro is a "mafia state" and its
leadership "sponsor crime", namely an illegal cigarette and drug
    Luckily for Djukanovic and his colleagues, it was disclosed
that part of Italian government, especially Foreign Minister
Lamberto Dini, is closely related financially to Slobodan
Milosevic, which skewed Italian politics towards open lobbying for
Belgrade. Belgrade is also receiving help from Paris and Moscow,
but the most recent moves of the Montenegrin government clearly
show that nothing can stop this brave and proud nation in its road
to independence and freedom.
    Furthermore, all unbiased and international polls claim that
those who want independence carry a great majority over those
opposed to them. Several days ago, a research institute from
Ljubljana (Slovenia) showed results saying that twice as many
Montenegrins want independence as those who would like to stay in
    "Despite pressure and threats from the international community,
nobody can stop Montenegro on its road to independence," said
Djukanovic recently in Washington. "The international community
may be angry about it, but it'd better look the truth in the eye."
    Many neutral world analysts and politicians agree that the EU
and the USA shouldn't do the same mistake they did to Tito's
Yugoslavia ten years earlier.

                          *  *  *

     By Radenko Udovicic
    Member of B-H Presidency Ante Jelavic issued a letter to the
UN Security Council and officially requested a new peace
conference about Bosnia as a way to revise the Dayton Accord in
order to overcome, as he said, seriously endangered equality of
Croatian people in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
    Motive for this request was the fact that Serbian and Bosnian
member of B-H Presidency voted in favor of giving Bozidar Matic
the office of Bosnian prime minister which was fiercely opposed by
Jelavic because he said that candidate for that position could
only be a Croat from the biggest Croatian party - HDZ - headed by
Jelavic. Matic IS a Croat, but he belongs to the leftist and
partly multi-national Social democrat Party (SDP). According to
HDZ, Croats in Bosnia can only be represented by a person that
enjoys full support of Croatian voters - and that is HDZ which won
over 70 percent of Croatian votes. Matic is criticized as "not
being Croat enough" and as a member of the party that mostly got
votes from Bosniaks, not Croats. Only at the basis of this
criticism and accusations, one can get a clear picture how much
Bosnia is still marked by distrust among nations.
    According to the Bosnian constitution, Presidency of the state
is nominating the person who will form the government. Almost a
month ago, all three members decided to propose HDZ's Martin Raguz.
However, Raguz wasn't supported by enough MP votes in the parliament
in order to become the prime minister and form the government so
that Presidency had to name another mandatory who could ensure
majority in the parliament. Presidency found itself in a difficult
situation because not one member of it is part of the Alliance for
Change, group of parties that have majority in the parliament.
Such situation is caused by the fact that in Bosnia's presidential
and parliamentary elections aren't held together so that members
of the presidency come from parties that have partly lost their
support during the past two years and don't have majority in the
parliament anymore. The most radical attitude towards new
mandatory was adopted by Ante Jelavic, who said several times that
if HDZ didn't get the office of prime minister, he and his party
would create a constitutional block since most important decision
in Bosnia had to be brought by national consensus.
    However, representatives of the international community that have
a kind of protectorate over Bosnia didn't flinch from such
threats. They interpreted constitution as not requiring consensus
of all three presidency members when deciding on prime minister.
Then they exerted a huge pressure on Jelavic's colleagues in
presidency (a Bosniak and a Serb) to vote for Bozidar Matic which
they finally did. After that, Jelavic wasn't hiding his anger. He
called the whole situation a conspiracy of the international community
as well as Serbs and Bosniaks against Croats and left the session
of the presidency with the warning that it was the end of Bosnia
and Herzegovina in its current form.
Shooting from the empty barrel
    How realistic is to suppose new peace conference on Bosnia,
initiated by Jelavic? One might freely say that such demand
doesn't have any realistic support in the present constellation of
political forces in the region as well as in world. General
opinion is that the Dayton Accord is basically unchangeable and that
any radical change could cause a new war. That is why Jelavic's
request can be seen more as a method to get attention on the
problems of Bosnian Croats, but also to serve as an alibi for some
radical solutions Croats themselves might use in order to achieve
their goals.
    Croatian question in Bosnia and Herzegovina is a burning issue
for some time and is caused by a constitutional solution from 1994
when Federation B-H was created. In that war year USA initiated
creation of balance to the Serbian side. Then Croatian president
Franjo Tudjman exerted pressure on Bosnian Croats to accept such
constitutional arrangement, motivated primarily by wish to annex
that federation into Croatia someday. At the negotiations on
ending war in Dayton, Bosnia consisting of Federation B-H as a
territorial unit of Bosniaks and Croats and Serb Republic as
Bosnian Serbs' territorial unit was created. However, functioning
of Federation B-H was rendered difficult due to constant struggles
between its two people. Croats accused Bosniaks for domination in
the Federation while Bosniaks blamed Croats for their separatist
tendencies. As the time passed Croats and their ruling party HDZ
developed an attitude of necessarily creating the third territorial
unit where Croats would form majority. It would practically mean
reconstitution of Bosnia that would consist of three entities on
equal footing. That situation already existed for the most part of
war in Bosnia. However, both Bosniaks and the international community
strongly opposed similar intentions. Under HDZ leadership, Croats
constituted the Assembly of Bosnian Croats at the end of last year,
consisting of representatives from most Croatian parties, cultural
organizations and representatives of the Catholic Church in Bosnia.
Foundation of the Assembly came as a result of Croatian
dissatisfaction with the new election rules imposed by OSCE that
relativize national approach to decision-making in Bosnia.
Although assembly was presented as a kind of all-Croatian advisory
institution, its real role is eventual transfer of legislative
functions in the name of Croatian people if HDZ decides to leave
state institutions. In that case, assembly would be given the role
of a classic Croatian parliament in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which
would de facto mean creation of the third entity.
Political platform for future of Croats in Bosnia and
    Yet, extremely negative attitude of the international community
towards these intentions spurred HDZ to start proposing some ideas
for a different constitution of Bosnia. From well informed sources
close to the Croatian Assembly one can find out that Croatian legal
experts are preparing a proposal of reconstitution of Bosnia and
Herzegovina called "Platform - how do Croatian people see the
future of Bosnia and Herzegovina". Document should enter its final
draft at then next Croatian Assembly session on March 3.
Platform expresses view that each nation should vote for their own
representatives in the houses of nations in both entity and state
parliament. Similarly, House of Nations of the state parliament
should elect members of the state presidency.
    It is the most painful issue for most Croats, since HDZ began
its rebellion against the international community because of imposed
rule that members of the houses of nations, where all decision are
consensus-driven, should be chosen by representatives of all three
nations on a given territory, not just Croats. HDZ was frightened
that Bosniaks would give their votes only to Croats that weren't
members of HDZ and were close to civil option.
    The document also asks for the international community to change
methods of decision-making in government institutions. It asks for
a system of highest-ranking functions to be based upon national
equality, with rotating leader positions and consensus during
decision-making on all important issues.
    But the most important principle deals with the administrative
and territorial part.
    There will allegedly be two versions. One will demand Bosnia
without entities, with many multi-ethnic cantons with guaranteed
equality of all nations. However, there is also another version
with proposal for the establishment of a third entity for de facto
equality in a territorial sense. And finally, what is the most
interesting, the alleged proposal that will be issued to the
international community that in case of accepting these principles
HDZ will transform and open its door to all Croatian political
elements in the government. This should be an answer for open
criticism from the international community that HDZ is a conservative
party that is inhibiting progress in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
    This legal document should be object of discussion at the new
conference on Bosnia that was requested by Jelavic or, what is
much more likely, among international circles within Bosnia with
participation of Bosniak and Serbian side. HDZ hopes that all
these factors will seriously consider Croatian offers since behind
them stands the Croatian Assembly that is made out of parties that
collectively have 95 percent of Croatian votes.
    But, this fact notwithstanding, it is not probable that
platform in development can get a passing grade. First, proposal
on disbanding entities cannot get any support of Bosnian Serbs.
One can say that it will be rejected by all Serbian political
forces in the Serb Republic even at the cost of a new war. On the
other hand, Bosniaks find unacceptable option of the third entity,
because territorial boundaries between Croats and Bosniaks were
never resolved. Some Bosniaks would maybe accept Croatian
territorial unit, but only if it encompassed only western
Herzegovina, while Croatian enclaves in mid-Bosnia would have to
come under Bosniak entity. Neither is the international community
benevolent to any new proposals that mean change of the Dayton Accord.
It is aware that any radical move on constitutional system of
Bosnia and Herzegovina might start an avalanche of various other
demands and spur discontent among other two nations. That is why
international representatives in Bosnia make gradual ac hat soften
awkward constitutional system that has divided the country
according to the ethnic principle, but without changing basic
principle upon which the country was founded. However, it is
not unlikely that some principles from future Croatian platform
will be adopted, primarily those that would lessen Croatian phobia
from losing equality in Bosnia and Herzegovina. But the question
is whether that will satisfy HDZ.
    And while Croatian lawyers are preparing a platform that would
urge more extensive constitutional reforms, new Prime Minister
Bozidar Matic is conducting intensive consultations on forming a
new government. It is certain that the new government won't be
composed of members from the so-called national parties SDA, SDS
and HDZ, which have ruled Bosnia for the last ten years. This will
certainly be a big change. Matic rather self-confidently said that
the "new government will sweep away everything before it",
announcing strong reforms, especially in economy. The goal of
future Matic's government is to create conditions in the country,
both political and economic, for accepting Bosnia into the Council
of Europe. HDZ will make things harder for him because Matic won't
have effective power in the territory where Croats have the
majority, although Matic is a Croat himself.
    Both the new government and the international community will
have to try hard to get past HDZ's stubbornness. They will have to
make certain concessions, but certainly not the ones that would
allow HDZ to be resurrected from the political death planned for
                                    *  *  *
      By Farhad Mammadov
    Azerbaijani community is concerned with the results of bilateral
negotiations between Heidar Aliev and Robert Kocharian.
    The negotiations for the regulation of Armenian-Azerbaijani
conflict that was activated at the beginning of this year with the
initiative of Russia and France still continue. Recently a
representative of the U.S. Department of State has given
information that the next meeting of Aliev and Kocharian will be
held at the Armenian-Azerbaijani borders. But the Azerbaijani side
has denied this information and later the Armenian side has stated
that the next meeting will be held in Paris with the moderation of
the French president Jack Sherack as well.
    On February 20 2001, there was a telephone conversation
between the Russian president Vladimir Putin and presidents of
France, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. The official statement says that
the main subject of discussion was the Karabakh conflict. It is
interesting that the role of the third co-chairman is not seen-
the U.S. at the diplomatic activation held around the
Karabakh conflict. According to the newspaper "The New York
Times", "Jack Sherack gave information to the American president"
about the negotiations held in France.
    Azerbaijani community is observing the negotiations with great
concern. For several days the local newspapers are stressing that
Heidar Aliev has given his agreement to concessions that do not
correspond to Azerbaijan's interests in Paris. Concretely, it is
stated that Heidar Aliev has agreed to accept the "common
state" suggestions proposed by the OSCE Minsk Group in 1998 with
small changes. That suggestion was rejected by the Azerbaijani
side, but Armenia agrees to sign it.
    Information at the local press and concerns of the community
have made the government leadership give explanation. Chairman
of the parliament Murtuz Alasgerov has stated that "Nobody has
held confidential talks in Paris and soon the president Aliev
will present the main point of the negotiations held in France to
the parliament discussion".
    On February 21, 2001, the official newspapers have,
unexpectedly, published the text of all three proposals of the
Minsk group until now. Nevertheless, these proposals were not
given to public discussion completely until now. Let's remember
that the first two proposals of the Minsk Group were rejected by
Armenia. From this viewpoint it is expected that the last
negotiations be held just around the third suggestion. According
to that suggestion, Upper Karabakh should be given a state status
and formed a common state with it, within Azerbaijan's
internationally recognized borders. And there is nothing about
releasing Azerbaijan's regions- Shusha and Lachin from Armenian
occupation in the suggestion.
    Putting on the media the suggestions of the Minsk Group
following the telephone conversation among the president of
Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and France on February 20 does not
seem by chance. Perhaps, Aliev is interested in learning about
the reaction of the society to the "common state" suggestion
before the next negotiation. And the date of the next talks between
Aliev and Kocharian has still not been stated. If the efforts of
Russian-French pairs give any results and present concrete results
in the settlement of Upper Karabakh conflict, the role of the
third co-chairman- the U.S. in the region will weaken.
    It is notable that during his visit to Baku the Russian
president Vladimir Putin had stated that he is ready to be "a
guarantor of the agreement that the sides will get". And it means
that if the conflict is settled with the moderation of Russia and
France, the Russian soldiers will realize the role of a peace
guarantor at the conflict zone. And France has promised a
financial support of the European Union to both sides.

                                    *  *  *