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May 29, 1995
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 191

A Wedding Without a Groom

by Filip Svarm & Petar Svacic

The latest state union between the Serbs west of the Drina is underway. The decision to implement it as soon as possible was taken by the Krajina (RSK) parliament unanimously and the Bosnian Serb (RS) parliament by acclamation.

This time they're serious and to prove it they formed three member commissions on both sides charged with adapting state regulations and finding the best form of union. Their job should be completed by the end of May with the announced constitutional assembly in Knin.

The commissions lost no time in meeting (Banja Luka, May 24). The RSK delegation was headed by Milan Babic (local foreign minister and ruling SDS party leader) with justice minister Uros Funduk and SRS parliament group chief Ranko Vukic. The Bosnian Serb delegation was headed by vice-president Nikola Koljevic with parliament deputy Miroslav Vjestica and RS constitutional commission chairman Gajo Mijanovic.

The commissions were closely scrutinized by both presidents of the unrecognized Serb states (Radovan Karadzic and Milan Martic) and their parliament speakers (Momcilo Krajisnik and Rajko Lezajic).

The elation somehow seems to lack sincerity. Krajisnik did welcome the initiative as soon as the RSK parliament adopted it in Borovo Selo but added that Pale would not exert pressure to force the union. His deputies didn't fail to ask what's good and what's bad in the whole thing at a closed session in Banja Luka.

Karadzic's statement in that context is interesting. He said he is ready to "treat the Contact group plan as the starting point for negotiations". Until recently, that gesture would have been seen in the FRY as a sign that Pale is backing down and appropriate measures would be taken. But now Karadzic has been told that he can't "treat" the plan but has to accept it as "official Belgrade and the international community expect him to".

All that happened, informal reports said, after a recent Karadzic-Milosevic-Krajisnik meeting. Milosevic told them that if they wished their people well they should resign.

Knin motives are also interesting, mainly since the initiative came from Babic. We don't know whether he met Milosevic together with RSK prime minister Borislav Mikelic during the latest parliament session but it is certain that the union document says the process will not be implemented against the interests of the Serb lands.

Another thing is worth noting. Mikelic, the only RSK politician who opposes the union openly, hurled accusations at Karadzic, Krajisnik and Martic but said not a word about Babic. Babic also did not comment the demand to oust Mikelic "for obstructing a parliament decision" which SDS secretary Vjestica announced.

The union of the Serbs across the Drina into a state which is to be called the United Serb Krajina shows the final fall of the project for "all Serbs in one state" rather than its renaissance despite the bragging by political leaders.

There are ample reasons for that. First, the mood in Serbia is that there is no more readiness to join the war. That is evident in that the united opposition block gave the union mild support.

Also, the Serbs west of the Drina are growing militarily weaker as opposed to the armies of Bosnia and Croatia who could win or prolong the war indefinitely.

It seems that the union is primarily an effort by Serb leaders to avoid the consequences of everything they caused together with Milosevic. The difference is that they have to pay the piper and he doesn't. So after the union, if they can profit in preserving their political authority, they will start the process of secession.

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