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November 26, 1995
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 217
Interview: Obrad Kesic

Dayton Is The Utter Defeat of Serb Politics

by Zoran Culafic

Obrad Kesic, an American of Serb origin, military-political analyst and program researcher at the International Research and Exchanges Board in Washington spoke to VREME about the Dayton peace talks.

VREME: What's your assessment of the peace talks?

KESIC: "There can be no other interpretation of what presidents Tudjman, Izetbegovic and Milosevic achieved than a great victory for the Croats, a compromise victory for the Moslems and humiliation (in the worst sense of the word) for the Serbs. The Serbs had had a much more favorable agreement on Saturday, accepted by Moslems and Croats. Things changed dramatically in the next 24 hours. The Moslems imposed new demands, and Tudjman reneged on the small promises he had made a week earlier especially on access to the sea and certain concessions on the Posavina corridor. All that disappeared within 24 hours, with the agreement of Slobodan Milosevic. The Serbs showed they were ready to accept whatever was offered to them. Strange, if it is known that they had indications that they could get more favorable agreement."

Why did Milosevic, in you opinion, agree to those concessions?

What Milosevic accepted, especially on Sarajevo, the corridor and the status of Brcko which is now under international arbitration, is a clear signal that the Serbian President has written off the western parts of the Bosnian Serb Republic. That also shows clearly that both Serb Krajinas were not of the vital interest, not only to Milosevic but also to the Serb state. I think we can't realistically expect the Serbs to keep the corridor after the one year deadline. We can assume with great probability that the international arbitration commission will very easily find a legal way to put Brcko under the control of the Moslem authorities and simply abolish the corridor. Unfortunately, I think this decision from Dayton will have far reaching implications for the future of the Serbs in the western RS and Sarajevo.

What was the solution to Serb access to the sea?

Access to the sea was agreed on Saturday. Actually, in direct contacts, Milosevic and Tudjman had agreed on that ten days before. The Serbs got access to the sea from Prevlaka to Cilipi (Dubrovnik area), a total of 25 kilometers. All that was annulled in the final round of the negotiations when Tudjman abandoned his concessions on the corridor and access to the sea.

After an intervention by the US President, Tudjman agreed to return Mrkonjic Grad and Sipovo but it isn't clear whether the towns will be returned in whole, or just certain parts. But without guarantees for the corridor this does not mean much, since Croatia has shown that it is willing and able to conquer those territories whenever it wants to, while Milosevic has shown that he is not concerned over these areas.

Sarajevo, amid opposition from the RS, has become a united city. How did those negotiations go?

Milosevic simply accepted the issue of Sarajevo in the last 24 hours. He accepted all Moslem demands - to give them all Sarajevo neighbourhoods. The only concession Milosevic managed to push through was to leave Pale under Serb control, something Moslems did not have problem to agree with. This is why I interpret this agreement as the utter defeat of Serb politics. No territorial concessions were won from the Moslems and the Serbs handed over Sarajevo, despite the fact that this issue was resolved on Saturday. Under that agreement Sarajevo was to have been divided into 10 local communities with full political and legal autonomy. All that was annulled."

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