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August 2, 1997
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 304
Jovica Stanisic in Banjaluka

"The Casual Conversation"

by Tanja Topic

Last week’s "silent" visit of the chief of the Serbian State Security Jovica Stanisic to the president of Republika Srpska Biljana Plavsic has again stirred the spirits who, for weeks now, have been speculating about the possible arrival of Slobodan Milosevic, now already the president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Although last week he did not believe that this meeting was possible, the legal adviser of the president Plavsic, Milan Dupor, has stated these days that Milosevic’s "emissary" has already been there. Recently, Dupor was positive that the meeting would happen, and, of course, "it should happen". Among Plavsic’s special forces, it is believed that the visit of Stanisic is the overture for the comming of the big boss. Stanisic’s "colleagues", Banjaluka’s security people, who believe to know him, say that he is known to be the man who comes unnoticed, therefore they were surprised that he has let himself be "noticed" in Banjaluka. Of course, Stanisic was seen only while leaving the Banski dvori, late that night.

First the hardheaded president let him wait for approximately one hour. Whether Plavsic was busy or she, diplomatically, left him wait in order to show him how much she cares about him and his boss, in any case we confidently know that it was not too pleasant for him to kill the time nervously pacing around Banski dvori.

All that time, just like in the next "five to six" hours of "casual chatting", as Plavsic has described the conversation with Stanisic, two automobiles were waiting for the chief. Six members of his escort, who marched into the Banski Dvori, were greeted by the cold shower instead of welcome. Four of them had to return to the car. Only one security officer was allowed to enter in the Cabinet with Stanisic, while the other waited in front. During "the conversation in strict confidence", as claimed by the RS president in a statement to the Banjaluka newspaper Reporter, Stanisic offered her nothing.

After whispers among the RS socialists several weeks ago about Milosevic’s possible visit to Plavsic, this was the first official messenger from the president of Yugoslavia, who, as it seems, needs this meeting more than the RS president.

How to get around it after Plavsic’s refusal to come to see him and yet avoid to acknowledge the institution of the president of RS by his arrival, currently must be giving Milosevic headaches. Apart from the theory that Stanisic is, in fact, Milosevic’s forward patrol, the Serbian securitz chief's visit is interpreted in some circles as his intent to "apologize" to the president of RS, or to deny the theory about close ties between the two states’ security services. It is a public secret that upon the return of Biljana Plavsic from Belgrade to Banjaluka, when it all started, four security officers were arrested during the attempt on the life of the president of RS. Stanisic’s arrival in Banja Luka should, according to this version, clearly show to her that the State Security of Serbia had nothing to do with it, especially in respect of the present opinion of the many that these two services are linked closely. It can hardly be said that this theory holds, and thus the question to whom did Stanisic apologize several days later in Pale, since he was seen there too.

After the "casual conversation", ended somewhere around midnight, no official statement was published. Whether this visit can even be tagged as "official" is another question, bearing in mind the comparatively cold greeting in the presidential residence, where half of the president’s security did not even know who the guest of honor was.

Firmly sticking to the qualification that the talks were "casual", the president herself stated for Reporter that she did not wish to speculate about the sudden turn of Milosevic’s attitude towards her - from the recent threats in the form of "we sincerely hope that it won’t be too late", to the sending of the emissary to Banjaluka.

Plavsic's security people were especially excited by the fact that the chief of the Serbian security spent the night in Ambalazerka, or more precisely Sinekoop of Slavko Rogulja, the well known businessman from Banjaluka, who is in certain circles considered to be one of the key men from the infamous Selekt-Impex. Or the man who used to host Radovan Karadzic during his visits to Banjaluka. So we come upon another closed circle.

Staff at Banjaluka’s airport were at one moment getting prepared for the arrival of Milosevic, but on Sunday, when according to assumptions Milosevic was supposed to arrive to Banjaluka, they got signals that the visit is being postponed, in spite of the fact that the delegation from Banjaluka’s airport has been in JAT to work out the details of Milosevic’s landing.

Milos Prica, Plavsic's cabinet chief was also in Belgrade over the last weekend.

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