MILOSEVIC, MITTERRAND, VANCE AND OWEN HOLD PARIS TALKS ON BOSNIA SETTLEMENT
Serbian TV, Belgrade 2046 gmt 11 Mar 93
Excerpt from recorded interview with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic by Milorad Komrakov in Paris on 11th March
[Passage omitted: question and answer on significance of continuation of evening's talks with Vance, Owen and Mitterrand]
[Komrakov] The dinner [attended by the four negotiators] has been announced as a working one. However, can you tell us what issues you expect to be raised tonight?
[Milosevic] I think I have already told you that the basic issue that is preoccupying, with good reason, the two co-chairmen is forcing the final agreement on Bosnia-Hercegovina. You know that our country, all of us, have sincerely supported the principles of the Vance-Owen plan, both the constitutional principles, and the military arrangement - that is, all those things that could bring about peace. However, it is also well known that we are not a party to that conflict. We can help with our efforts and our influence to bring about peace, and in accordance with the principles laid down by the two co-chairmen, the final solution has to be reached through a consensus of the representatives of the three peoples. We cannot enter the discussion on the maps. That is an internal question which has to be discussed by the three peoples who are directly involved. It would be in extremely bad taste if we were to take a concrete attitude towards that. We have a principled attitude that it is a factual issue, that facts have to be respected and, based on the facts, the interests of all three peoples in Bosnia-Hercegovina have to be respected.
[Komrakov] We have learned that you were very determined in the attitude that sanctions against Serbia and Montenegro should be lifted as soon as possible as one of the main conditions for the solving of the Yugoslav crisis and the situation in general.
[Milosevic] It is completely logical that in these talks we have a situation that the co-chairmen see what is the most difficult problem in the conference on Bosnia, that is, the end of the agreement [sentence as heard]. It is logical that we, for our part, place priority on the things that affect us most, and that is the continuation of these totally unfounded sanctions which, while causing a lot of damage to our country, are not bringing closer the solution to the war in Bosnia-Hercegovina. The question simply arises as to why Serbia and Yugoslavia have to be hostages of the civil war in Bosnia-Hercegovina, and if the international community wanted to send a message to the Yugoslavs, to warn them to stop fighting, it would have been logical if it had warned all the sides, and not only one side, and particularly not the side that, even according to official UN representatives, does not have a single soldier on the territory of Bosnia-Hercegovina. That creates the impression that this is not a question of an objective approach, but an approach that has sided with one party to the conflict.
We respect, and I have supported that attitude with arguments, I hope with arguments, in talks with President Mitterrand, in the talks we had before this plenary meeting, and in plenary talks with President Mitterrand, David Owen and Cyrus Vance, that all the conditions in our view have been met for the sanctions to be finally lifted. I hope that this drawing nearer to an objective picture of the events in Yugoslavia will contribute to the lifting of the sanctions.
[Komrakov] At the end of this interview, allow me to ask, you have probably answered this question several times today, but it does interest the international community: were there any pressures exerted on you?
[Milosevic] Well, you see, the events are what are exerting the pressure. I personally have good relations with Vance and Owen. I think that they are men who are trying to take an objective stand. They are men who want peace, who want to help bring peace about in the Yugoslav region, so I could not call it unprincipled pressure. In any case, there is also great pressure on them, since it is pressure, I would say, by the Europeans and to some degree the American and world public, which has been poisoned by an avalanche of misinformation about the situation in Yugoslavia. If our citizens were to watch on their television every evening the accusations and untruths that are shown to people in Europe and the United States, they would only conclude that the Serbs are a wild nation, a nation of murderers, a nation that has to be stopped, and not people like all other people who only want to achieve their own interests without affecting anybody else's interests. The media war that has been waged against us has poisoned the public, which is putting on great pressure for military intervention, for many unprincipled moves, but there is no doubt that it is the duty of the politicians who know the situation, who know that all these things are not true, not to fall prey to these pressures, but to behave in an objective way.
I hope that the involvement in the talks of French President Mitterrand, a respected world politician, one of the most significant politicians in this century, will contribute to spreading an objective picture and an objective approach to the solution of the Yugoslav crisis more fully than would have been done without his participation and the participation of France.
[Komrakov] Thank you for this interview, Mr President.
[Milosevic] Thank you.
Copyright 1993 The British
BBC Summary of World Broadcasts
SECTION: Part 2 Eastern Europe; C.1 SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT;; EE/1636/C1;
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