"Bosnia must step out of the crisis through negotiations"

               Berlingske tidende, Copenhagen

               Jimmy Carter's comment in the Berlingske tidende of june 20,

               If the international community still wants to play a role in
               Bosnia and Herzegovina, it must choose between two
               alternatives: an escalation of the war conflict or an attempt
               to reach an allinclusive peace solution through negotiations.
               Except for the intricate problems which have been causing a
               discord among the political and ethnical groups in the
               Balkans, the absence of a clear view on the part of
               international peace mediators and military forces, causes
               confusion and may even have an adverse effect.

               Since 1992, the former EU and the UN have each had their own
               representatives who have been trying to jointly reach a peace
               solution for this area. The Contact Group was formed in April
               1994 and it took over the greater part of the responsibility.
               At the same time, the UNPROFOR and the NATO tried to divide
               the military competencies among themselves.

               Out of their own frustration due to the fact that nothing is
               happening in Bosnia and Herzegovina, certain politicians
               demand that the American arms embargo be unilaterally lifted
               so as to enable the MoslemCroat federation to increase and
               modernize its military potential.

               The UNPROFOR has announced that if that should takes place,
               it would not be able to fulfill its mission, and the leaders
               of France and Great Britain have stated that they would
               withdraw their troops. Withdrawal of the UN forces would
               cause the same consequences as lifting of the arms embargo.

               In both cases, there would be an even greater bloodshed in
               Bosnia and the result would be an increased American
               engagement. If the Serbs in Bosnia or the MoslemCroat
               federation realized that they would be defeated, the war
               could also spread to Croatia and Serbia and later on to
               Kosovo and Macedonia. In that case, Greece, Turkey and
               Bulgaria could be involved in the conflict. The NATO members
               could than be faced with a dilemma which would completely
               eclipse the current problems in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

               Considering the fact that there are no prospects for
               resolving the crisis by military means, it is time to
               consider the possibility of resolving the problem by
               negotiations. What are the conditions for such direct

               If such allinclusive unconditional peace negotiations are not
               acceptable for the Contact Group, I believe that the good
               will of both sides will suffice. It will be indispensable to
               undertake the obligations similar to those that both the
               Serbs and the MoslemCroat federation accepted last year in
               December: Termination of the hostilities and separation of
               the armed forces. Providing for the freedom of movement of
               the UN soldiers. Unlimited movement of the UN convoys for
               Sarajevo and other safety zones. Opening of the Sarajevo
               airport for the UN planes. Freeing of all those who are
               detained. Guarantees that human rights will be respected, as
               well as the rights of refugees to return home. As was the
               case then, both sides will have the same treatment during the
               negotiations. The policy of the Contact Group has been to
               isolate the Serbs in Bosnia and to negotiate only with the
               president of Serbia, Slobodan Milosevic on the issues which
               are the concern of the Serbs in Bosnia.

               Attempts of this kind have not been successful, and the
               prospects for their leading to peace in Bosnia are poor, even
               if Milosevic should opt for cooperation. The Bosnian
               government and the Serbs in Bosnia should take direct part in
               the negotiations. Now, just as it was the case last year, we
               still have an unresolved issue: The MoslemCroat politicians
               insist that the Serbs who are now controlling 70% of Bosnia,
               should accept the plan according to which they must cede a
               majority of their territories, as a condition for the
               negotiations. On the other hand, the Serbs would be ready to
               accept a reduction of their territory down to 53% and they
               have expressed their readiness to negotiate about other

               The best thing to do would be to organize peace negotiations
               in a neutral place under the organization of the Contact
               Group, and within a certain period of time. Both sides should
               be present during the negotiations.

               Such a period of peace should also involve the lifting of the
               UN trade sanctions imposed on the Serbs, as long as Serbia
               and the Serbs in Bosnia are acting in favour of peace
               negotiations. The agenda should include the issues of
               constitution and autonomy of the MoslemCroat and Serb groups,
               the mutually accepted partition of territories on the bases
               of the Contact Group's proposal, and the right to establish
               relations between the Serbs and the Croats in Bosnia on the
               one hand, and their neighbours in Serbia and Croatia, on the
               other. All those who are interested in peace, and the
               American Government is one of them, should support this
               attempt to find a peace solution to the crisis.

               Aspirations towards a peace strategy will not justify
               violations of human rights and ceasefire, taking hostages or
               absence of good will to respect the UN resolutions. These
               acts have been condemned by everyone. The most important
               task, however, is to establish lasting peace and to prevent
               its further violation.

               L'evenement de jeudi, Paris