Skip to main content
April 24, 1999
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 7-Special

Long and Persistent Destruction of a Country

The war continues like an endless horror.  On Wednesday morning, April 21, NATO bombed the Commercial Center "Usce", the seat of the Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS), a building which was dubbed "CK" after the former Central Committee of the Alliance of Communists of Yugoslavia, and which is now called the Commercial Center Usce.  Some twelve companies use this building for their offices, among them the TV station "Pink" and Radio Television "Kosava", with the transmitter on top of the building also having been used by BK Television (Karic Brothers Television), although the studios of this station are located elsewhere.  The building was hit with one projectile near the very top of the building, and it appears with another two near the bottom, with flames braking out soon after.  The problem with fires in such tall buildings is that they are hard to put out.  Some ten years ago a campaign was begun in Belgrade against the erection of high rises precisely because firefighting equipment (cranes, water canons, etc.) become unusable on the higher floors.  Initially there were fears that perhaps some people were trapped on the floors between the two raging fires (Commander of the Civilian Protection War Headquarters of Belgrade, Dragan Covic), but later it turned out that the building was evacuated in time.

The first indication that perhaps "CK" was hit was the observation that the programs of "Pink", "Karic", SOS Telvision, and "Kosava" stopped broadcasting (on Wednesday morning the NATO air force also hit the Radio Television of Serbia transmitter on Iriski Venac, so that there was also a momentary interruption in the transmission of RTS programing in the region of Vojvodina).

The targeting of this building quite certainly has no military purpose, and it will be quite interesting to see what will be the political justification for destroying the seat of a political party and several close commercial and media enterprises.  The one who issued the order certainly had the same presence of mind s Nikola Kavaj who was arrested in America in 1979 and sentenced to a total of 65 years in prison (in 1995 the sentence was reduced to 17 years, so that he was released recently) for hijacking a plane with the objective of flying it to Yugoslavia in order to destroy the CK, laboring under the conviction that Tito lives in this building and that by doing this he would manage to assassinate him.  The CK building was immortalized in postcards and served as a way of orienting oneself, surrounded as it is, Corbusier-like, with an expanse of forest and grass.  This place of employment for thousands of party aparatchiks was hardly identified by many people with a real seat of power.  Awhile back, at the time of the so-called "deal of the century", as the export of Zastava's Yugo in the program "Yugo-America" was called, the American Ambassador to Belgrade at the time, Skenlon, was driven to this building in a "Yugo".  As the Yugo is not a Lincoln, Skenlon had to sit in front, where he had more leg room, while Richard Miles, at the time only a Commercial Attache with the American Embassy, sat in the back, so that the reception protocol got a bit mixed up when Miles was received as the guest of honor.  However, later Miles became the American Ambassador to Yugoslavia, which he departed from when our country stopped diplomatic relations with America because of the aggression.

Different speculations are emerging regarding the choice of civilian targets: who and when designated them.  In one Turkish commentary (Turkish News, Reuters, April 10) this war was called a "legal war", with the explanation that the NATO campaign missed its objective because, among other things, targets were not chosen by soldiers but by politicians (some of which are lawyers), just as in this interpretation the Vietnamese adventure fell through because bombing targets were selected by Linden Johnson.  This polemically intoned, undecided source states that targets in Belgrade were personally approved already in 1998 by Bill Clinton, "with attention paid to political sensitivity", but even this "political sensitivity" turned out to be very strange in the very fact that attacks on Belgrade were clustered around the April 6 anniversary.

Among the targeted administrative buildings, perhaps the most architecturally valuable building is the Banska Palace or Banovina in Novi Sad, according to some, the most successful work by architect Dragisa Brasovan (1887-1965), one of our most prominent architects.  This building was hit on April 19.  The weekly magazine "Nezavisni" ("Independent") of Novi Sad reported that the draft of the future Banska Palace was exhibited in 1931, at the First Exhibition of Modern Yugoslav Architecture in Belgrade.  The Banska Palace is Dragisa Brasovan's first project after his period of luxury villas, public buildings of monumental character, churches, industrial and other buildings in which he used elements of medieval architecture, the magazine reports.  Before the Banska Palace, the School Dormitory in Veliki Beckerek, the church in Orlovat, the Ekscontna Bank, the Skarin and Gencic villas in Belgrade were all constructed according to his plans.  The Banska Palace was the seat of the Banovina of Danube, one of the nine administrative- territorial units of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, founded by King Aleksandar on October 3, 1929; from 1936 to 1939, seven hundred builders participated in its construction, with Brasovan himself supervising the works.  With an unusual shame, and a dome (42 meters) which for decades was the highest spot in Novi Sad, it was lined with slabs of the finest marble from Brac, built from armored concrete, at the time still a rarely used material, it occupied an area of 28000 square meters, 185 meters long, and 42.5 meters wide, it "inaugurated" the first boulevard in Novi Sad, at the time called the Boulevard of Queen Marija, presently called Mihajlo Pupin.  The building was blessed on September 25, 1939, and the first "Ban" who presided in it was Ph.D. Jovan Radivojevic.

Whoever picked the targets evidently went after Brasovan - one of the earlier attacks seriously damaged the Military Air Force building in Zemun which was also engineered by Brasovan.

On Thursday evening, April 16, at 10:17 p.m. and on early Friday morning, NATO targeted the territory of Pancevo, and again early in the morning the gasoline refinery was once again hit.  We learned from Radio Pancevo reporters that evening that soon after the first explosions four firemen were injured because they inhaled poisonous gases while combating the fire.  The Beta Agency later reported that during the bombing of "Petrohemija" in Pancevo, 17 civilians were injured, with medical help having been administered immediately.  Later that figure grew to 50.  That evening the ammonium fertilizer factory was hit.  President of the Community Government of Pancevo, Srdjan Mikovic phoned into the Radio Pancevo program and initially said "Good evening," but quickly corrected himself by saying that this evening is not good at all, for "all three factories" in Pancevo's industrial section had been bombed that evening.  Luckily that evening, the air pressure and direction were favorable so that the thick column of smoke with poisonous gasses was very high, with the smoke somehow dispersing down the Danube.

Luckily, the two attacks on April 19 on the chemical industry in Baric, near Belgrade, did not have harmful effects on the immediate environment, although there were fears that further attacks on the factory in Baric could result in an environmental catastrophe of international proportions.

During the aggression by NATO forces on FR Yugoslavia in the night of the 27 of April, the bombed targets included facilities in Nis, Valjevo, Pristina, the village of Prilika, near Ivanjica, close to Fruska Gora, as well as in the area of Belgrade.  In the strongest attack thus far in Nis, at least one person was killed, with 12 people injured, 10 houses destroyed, and 15 houses heavily damaged.  The Nis Tobacco Industry, which has been completely put out of operation, was bombed in this attack on this city in central Serbia.  Radio Television of Serbia (RTS) reported that this attack also resulted in damage to a soft-drink factory, a research institute, an electricity distribution center, as well as a community cafeteria.  The doctor on call at the Surgery Clinic of the Clinical Center of Nis, Miodrag Lazic, stated this evening that after the NATO attack on this city, 12 injured people were brought into the hospital: "So far we accepted 12 injured people, with one patient fighting for his life after injuries to his backbone and stomach, while two are patients suffered injuries to their limbs," stated Lazic for Nis TV 5.  "Everyone is shocked and afraid.  These are all civilians who were injured in civilian buildings," stated Lazic.  TV 5 broadcast an interview with one of the injured, Javorka Minic, who said that "my neighbors, a husband and wife, are under the rubble of their destroyed house."  At 11:07, in two goes the enormous storage are of the trading company "Kopaonik" was targeted with seven projectiles.  An enormous fire broke out.  The biggest tobacco factory in Yugoslavi, the Nis Tobacco Industry, has been completely put out of operation.  An electrical post was knocked down on the corner of Lipovacka and Sarajevska streets, with enormous damage inflicted in the area of Sljaka.  There is grave symbolism in the names of destroyed urban areas of cities - in Novi Sad enormous collateral damage was inflicted in an area called Shanghai.  In the night raid in the Nis district of Sljaka (translation: gravel used in construction), on April 20, 10 houses were completely destroyed, while 15 were heavily damaged.  According to information available thus far, RTS reports that one person was killed, with fears that there are more dead, lying buried under the rubble of destroyed houses.

In the night between April 20 and 21, the Krusik factory in Valjevo was bombed for the fourth time.  Two suburbs of Valjevo, near the Krusik factory were left without electricity after NATO planes bombed Krusik for an entire 3 minutes and 17 seconds with six projectiles, with a segment of the Valjevo-Belgrade highway being covered with stones and earth.  Firefighters and Civilian Rescue Units arrived on the scene quickly...  Citizens were further disturbed by subsequent detonations within the factory in the early hours of Wednesday morning, even though Krusik's Director, Miladin Ciric, gave a statement which calmed everyone slightly.  According to him, secondary detonations are "the result of various things, for instance the firefighting equipment which is located in the factory.  Even though material damages cannot be estimated, luckily there are no victims.  As far as is known, several workers suffered minor injuries, with one injured citizen who was observing the explosions  from outside of the factory grounds.  Our correspondent in Valjevo writes that if there were no direct victims of the NATO aggression, there are many indirect ones.  In the night between Saturday and Sunday (during earlier bombings), 15 citizens were treated in the hospital in Valjevo, most of them with serious injuries - broken hip bones, necks, ribs.  The reason - they observed the flying of airplanes and cruise missiles and were ejected from their balconies and windows.  The director of the hospital stated that there are more injuries due to lack of caution on the part of citizens than to the the bombing of Krusik, while the Director of the Health Center and MP, Dr. Miroslav Sreckovic, publicly warned citizens: "Behave normally, what do you need to look at those airplanes for?!"

Otherwise, court sentences began to be passed in the atmosphere of war.  B.S. from Lajkovac was sentenced in the local community court to three months, conditionally to one year, for spreading false rumors.  Our correspondent reported that in the night after the NATO aggression began - "with information that 34 airplanes left Aviano airbase, heading for Lajkovac" - this citizen took a hundred of his neighbors underneath the old railway bridge, three kilometers distant from the town.  The unfortunate residents of Lajkovac returned to their homes at dawn, after the SPS member of parliament "got through" to Lajkovac in order to see what was to be done with those people.

While NATO forces are bombing the bridge over the Lim River for the third time on April 20, on the section of the Belgrade-Bar railway line near Donja Bistrica, you will remember (some of you) how we chanted with enthusiasm, "Train 73 is leaving", and how we called that railway line B.B., after Brigitte Baradau, and how we used to ask ourselves whether our lads finished the railway in Tara.  Now, instead, we listen to children who risk their lives, peering into the dots in the sky, rooting for our lads, wondering whether they managed to bring down another plane or missile "To the left, the left, brave lads!", shouting with glee when they see a fireball drop from the sky.  The radio meanwhile briefly reports on the destruction of bridges and factories...

While discussions are conducted in strategic institutes, in the press, in the cabinets of foreign affairs ministers regarding whether a ground invasion will follow, whether anyone wants it or not, the war is spilling over into neighboring countries.

The Commander of the Third Army and the Pristina Corps of the Yugoslav Army, Lieutenant General Nebojsa Pavkovic and General Major Vladimir Lazarevic visited the units of the antiaircraft defense units in Kosovo on April 19.  General Pavkovic stated that it is his duty to survey the members of the Yugoslav Army in military positions, and to demand from subordinate officers that they share the fate of war with their men.  In this context, General Pavkovic stated that his army is ready to meet the aggressor with retaliation, and that the forecasts by NATO planers that the KLA will greet NATO troupes on ground have fallen through - General Pavkovic decisively states that the KLA no longer exists on Yugoslav territory.  General Major Vladimir Lazarevic stated for RTS his assessment that a ground intervention against Yugoslavia has already begun, given that in a 20 kilometer area within Albania the attacks by KLA and various other elements are being organized against border patrols  of the Yugoslav Army, with the Army managing to successfully neutralize those attacks.  On April 19, the Beta Agency quoted a NATO military spokesman, General Giuseppe Marani, who stated that Yugoslav forces, including "ever growing helicopter raids which NATO is unable to prevent," are curbing the activities of the remains of the separatist Kosovo Liberation Army, mostly on the border with Albania, and a little around Malisevo and on the eastern part of Kosovo.  There is evident tension in western capitals regarding the relation NATO is cultivating with the KLA.  Americans openly admitted that the KLA supposedly captured a Yugoslav officer on Yugoslav territory, that they handed him over, and that he is being treated as a prisoner of war.  There cannot be a more open admission that the KLA is in fact an ally in the war.  However, beside their attempts to conceal the strategic failure of the intervention, NATO spokesmen are also trying to conceal the defeat of the KLA on ground.  According to Reuters, some unnamed diplomat complained that NATO ignored targets which the KLA wanted bombed, supposedly trying to keep a distance from the KLA which was characterized one year ago by some in Washington as a terrorist organization.  In the Reuters news it si said that the KLA officer Sokolj Basota, using a satellite phone, requested air strikes in an area called the Berisha mountains of central Kosovo.  Parallel with this a story is being perpetuated that the KLA "like a phoenix is once again coming out of the ashes." (Jamie Shea)   Once again the stories of KLA numbers are surfacing.  It was believed that they had between 12 and 15000 soldiers when the NATO intervention began, and immediately after it is said that the relation between the KLA and western governments is "virtually non-existent", that information offered by the KLA are imprecise and uncertain as they come over "open" satellite phones, only to repeat that the KLA "is not vanquished", for "we  speak to their commanders regularly, and that they send daily reports from their operating headquarters, etc.

Yugoslav Army and Police announcements regarding the KLA in Kosovo last week merely mentioned desperate, broken bands and indicated that they are being gathered, recruited and trained on the other side of the Yugoslav border, above all in Albania.  Washington is demanding 5.9 billion dollars for continuing that war.  It is pressing neighboring countries to offer corridors and air installations for the newly arriving planes, and are announcing the use of "Apache" helicopters and multi- barrel canons.  Parallel with this, NATO is quite outspoken about forcing an imposition of a sea blockade against Yugoslavia and about stopping all incoming gasoline.  Blair is flying to Bruxelles in order to meet with Solana, with increased rhetoric.

In this context, NATO spokesmen still continue to speak about a humanitarian catastrophe and to illustrate it with ever growing figures - at the beginning of the week it was said that as many as 850,000 Albanians from Kosovo are still on the run because of Serb attacks, even though as many as 600,000 of them left the southern region.
The Yugoslav side is attempting to demonstrate that it is trying to return refugees to their homes on the ground, proving that NATO is bombing refugees when they return to their homes.  On Tuesday, April 20, 20000 refugees (on tractors, under nylon, sunburnt from the spring sun) were returning to the area around Istok, with food being dealt out to them (bread, milk, pate, which the hungry children eat in front of the cameras).

Western media still continue to focus on the sad pictures of human suffering of the refugees on the other side of the border.  Still, this did not manage to conceal some unpleasant questions directed at NATO.  Judging by the Beta Agency surveys, British papers are not all equally satisfied with NATO's explanation of the bombing of refugees southeast of Djakovica, with the "Independent" saluting NATO's willingness to accept responsibility, while the "Guardian" is publishing a list of unanswered questions.  Now we know that NATO carried out attacks which correspond to footage shown on Serbian television, that in this tractors full of refugees were destroyed, and that the attacks were stopped in order that it be found out whether civilians were hit.  However, it is still not clear whether the convoy had Serbian military vehicles, as NATO claims, the Guardian writes.  As BBC Radio reports, the paper poses the question "why the flight controllers did not react on time to the pilot' s warning that there are civilians in the convoy", wondering "whether the human factor or technical deficiency was responsible for the mistake."  Referring to information from their correspondent in Skopije, the Times write that NATO is using the KLA indirectly for surveillance on ground, but that it is keeping its distance because it expects that at one point the KLA will itself become a problem which will need to be solved.  The Times correspondent reported that the German Federal Agency for Monitoring Capital called on all German banks to control more closely the flow of capital for financing the Kosovo Liberation Army, and warned that Kosovo Albanians who are living in Germany are "laundering" money earned through heroin trafficking, and are sending it to the Kosovo Liberation Army through the fund called "The Call of the Motherland."  Radio France International, on the other hand reports that the Parisian "Le Figaro" warns that caution must be exercised in making accusations of supposed massacres and genocide over Kosovo's Albanians.  "It is hard to get firm proof.  When the NATO action began, journalists and officials of international agencies had to leave Kosovo, while the few observers who rushed back to the region did not manage to verify the mentioned accusations," Le Figaro writes.  The International Court in the Hague sent its people to conduct investigations, but Graham Blewit, Deputy to the Head Prosecutor of the Hague Tribunal, Louise Arbour, stated that the biggest problem is to prove the existence of massacres in a relatively short time and without the possibility of working on the scene.  According to NATO reports, around 3200 civilians have been killed since the beginning of the aggression against FR Yugoslavia.  The American Ambassador for Human Rights, David Sheffer, claims that this report is based on solid information.  However, Le Figaro points out the accusations that the Serbian government is carrying out genocide in Kosovo are made relative, for the supposed murder of 3200 people, however horrible it might be, cannot be called genocide.  The paper quotes Fred Abrahams, an official with the Human Rights Watch, who notes that care should be taken and that accusations should not be made without confirmed information.

One of NATO's claims about the existence of mass graves is refuted by RTS with images from the Village of Izbica where plowed wheat fields can bee seen.  In this footage one of the residents states that there were no massacres or graves in that place.

On the other hand, the Beta Agency and AFP reported on April 20 that members of the KLA are using confrontations in Kosovo in order to use Macedonia as its base.  Macedonian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pavle Trajanov, states that this is being done with the plan of drawing this country into the conflict.  In an interview with AFP, Trajanov announced official information that many secret KLA arms warehouses were recently discovered in Macedonia.  "Those weapons are stored because armed activities are being expected in which the KLA wishes to begin a war in Macedonia, beginning in September."  Last Saturday, Macedonian secret service men found a weapons warehouse in the abandoned chromium mine near the village of Lojani, close to the border with FR Yugoslavia.  It is claimed that, all in all, more than 4.5 tons of weapons were confiscated in several days, including 230 grenades and over 10,000 bullets, also discovered on Saturday, in the village of Radoliste, near Struga, close  to the Albanian border.  Last Friday, the police discovered 300 grenades, hand guns and automatic rifles on a trailer hitched to a tractor near the village of Lojani.  Western military officials who wanted to remain anonymous, claim that they "have difficulty accepting this as fact."  Still, on Monday Macedonia got the assurance from ambassadors of western countries in Skopije, beginning with the American Ambassador Christopher Hill and so on, that NATO will not support KLA activities on its territory.  The same assurance was formulated on Sunday by the NATO Supreme Commander for Europe, American General Wesley Clark, as Trajanov claims.

However, on April 21, Macedonian president Kiro Gliogorov told his National Security Council that it should declare a state of martial law, our correspondent reported.  The influx of refugees from Kosovo is threatening to destabilize Macedonia, stated Gligorov, describing the present situation as "the most dangerous" since the founding of the country eight years ago.  "I believe that the threat to Macedonia is growing...  (its) interest is to maintain internal stability and outside security," stated Gligorov for the private television A1.  Ethnic Albanians make up a third of the population of Macedonia, and the government is warning that the coming of more Albanians from Kosovo, on top of the already 130,000 thousand which have already come, could destabilize the country.  There are 16,500 NATO soldiers in Macedonia.  Gligorov stated that in the coming days the arrival of another 4,000 is expected and that he fears that those soldiers will enter Kosovo, even though Bruxelles categorically denies speculations about plans of a ground intervention against Yugoslavia.  Our correspondent from Skopije reports that before leaving for Washington Grigorov expressed reservations about whether NATO will respect the attitude of Skopije that Macedonian territory should not be used for attacking any country.  This was Gligorov's interpretation of Wesley Clark's answer: "He thought a little and then said - no, there is no such decision for now.  Well, during that 'for now', my stomach turned..."

West of the zone of military operations in Montenegro, things are moving along a thin red line.  After the relations between the police and the army were resolved (Maras claims that they are correct), and after the atmosphere surrounding the Yugoslav Army accusations against Ph.D. Novak Kilibarda got heated, news arrived that tempers are soaring over Prevlaka.  Then on Tuesday, April 20, tensions grew surrounding an event in Kaludjerska Laz.  Vice-President of the Government of Montenegro, Dragisa Burzan, claimed that civilians were killed there, that this killing was associated with "paramilitary units" and reservists who are located in the north of Montenegro.  The Vice-President of the Government of Montenegro stated that he got information about the killing of civilians from eyewitnesses and that he is not familiar "with many details" because the region has been cordoned off.  According to Montenegrin state radio reports, Burzan called the Yugoslav Army to "bring to justice" those people who are responsible for the killing of civilians in the area of Rozaje.  He added that measures will be taken "to prevent those who are seeking to spread the conflict in Kosovo to Montenegro."  The President of the Community of Rozaje, Nusret Kalac, called on Montenegrin authorities to take measures to prevent the spreading of the conflict into Montenegro.

After this the Second Yugoslav Army announced that four members of the separatist Kosovo Liberation Army were killed in the evening hours, April 18, in a conflict with the Yugoslav Army in the region of the village of Kaludjerski Laz, near Rozaje, on the territory of Montenegro.  The announcement points out that Yugoslav soldiers "broke up this group of terrorists" and that there were no casualties suffered by the Yugoslav Army.  "The military investigative officers carried out an investigation, during which time they were also fired upon by the terrorist," the Second Army announced.  A search for the remaining members of this group is in progress...  The latest news from our correspondent in Podgorica indicates that the situation surrounding Prevlaka has calmed down, that is to say that the solution was found "for misunderstandings (between the army and the police) in the carrying out of duties to be avoided."

As bombs fall and as the Balkan war is developing in its insane manner, more light has been shed on the Russian peace initiative.  On April 19, Russian President Boris Yeltsin held consultations at the Kremlin regarding the Kosovo crisis with Premier Yvegni Primakov, Special Envoy to Yugoslavia Viktor Chernomirdin and foreign affairs and defense ministers Igor Ivanov and Igor Sergeyev.  After the meeting Ivanov stated for journalists that the nearly one month of bombing of FRY confirms the correctness of the Russian position which is founded on the conviction that "there cannot be a military solution to the problem of Kosovo."  According to him, gave each participant in the consultation a list of concrete tasks for the further search for a way out of the crisis.  "We are ready for close cooperation with all those who are interested in going back to a political solution to the crisis.  Such a possibility exists.  It is important for the necessary political will to exists in the  NATO states," Ivanov pointed out.  "Russia is ready for this, along with the General Secretary of the UN," stated the Chief of Russian Diplomacy.  Chernomirdin stated that Russia's position was once again considered, and he announced that all efforts will be undertaken in finding a peaceful solution to the crisis.  We must "work with all sides, both with the FRY, and the NATO leadership," stated Chernomirdin.  He pointed out the danger of the spreading of the military conflict in the Balkans and stressed that a ground operation by NATO against the FRY cannot be allowed.  The Russian side will continue negotiations and consultations in different ways and at different levels, stated Chernomirdin.

The Patriarch of Moscow and of Russia, Aleksei II arrived to Belgrade by plane on April 20, a little before seven o'clock, having received permission to fly over Hungary and Rumania.  Around 8:30 a.m. the Russian Patriarch, together with the Serbian Patriarch Pavle and bishops headed toward Belgrade's Shrine of St. Sava in Vracar, where with Patriarch Pavle and the clergy he held a liturgy and implored for peace.  Tens of thousands of people filled this great plateau.  Aleksei II stated that the main condition for beginning peace negotiations is the stop to the bombing of Yugoslavia and all military activities in Yugoslavia.  Following this the Patriarch of Moscow and the Patriarch of Serbia spent some time at lunch with the FRY President Slobodan Milosevic, who received them together with his wife and son.

One day later, April 21, news arrived that the Patriarch of Moscow assessed his visit to Belgrade as a success.  "We return with optimism," stated Patriarch Aleksei II, after he returned from Belgrade to Moscow late in the evening of April 20.  "I was convinced of this in my meeting with Ibrahim Rugova (Leader of the Democratic Alliance of Kosovo) who is also supporting an exclusively peaceful solution to the problem of Kosovo," stated the Russian Patriarch.

The activation of Chernomirdin and the visit by the Patriarch of Moscow awakened hope in the Serbian political ranks that at a time of great destruction, peace is still possible.
On April 19, New Democracy (ND) assessed that the latest peace initiatives by the Russian President Boris Yeltsin are "a great chance for a victory by reason, for a stop to the bombing of the FRY and for establishing political dialogue which is the only thing that can bring peace to the territory of Kosovo and Metohija."  The President of the Serbian Renewal Movement (SPO) and the Vice-President of Federal Government, Vuk Draskovic, stated on April 20 that "he has great hope in the upcoming mission" by the Russian Special Envoy Viktor Chernomirdin, expressing the conviction that "peace will soon rule in the FRY."  At a press conference, Draskovic expressed a hope that the NATO aggression will be stopped through "compromise" which will be verified in by a UN Security Council Resolution.  He assessed that thus far the Security Council "has been bypassed, and without that there would not have been any aggression against the FRY."  According to him, a UN Resolution "must establish permanent peace which will burry the causes of the conflict," and these, according to Draskovic, are the desire for an ethnically pure Greater Albania on the territory of Serbia and the support of Albanian terrorism.  The leader of SPO expressed a conviction that Yugoslav officials will accept any solution which "stops the aggression against the FRY, and which does not threaten the sovereignty and integrity of Serbia and Yugoslavia."  He stated that after the end of the aggression, "the Serbian people will have to make peace" both with the aggressors and the Albanians, and to get down to the rebuilding of Yugoslavia in cooperation with them.

Draskovic also condemned "extremist attitudes by individuals" in Yugoslavia, stating that "now is not a time for digging red stars from graves, but that it is instead necessary for Serbs to gather under common symbols."  According to him, SPO will not permit the state of war to be used for "persecuting political adversaries from their patriotic positions."
The president of Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS), Vojislav Kostunica, applauded the joining of Viktor Chernomirdin, Special Envoy to the Russian President Boris Yeltsin, to the negotiating process on Kosovo, stating that it is important for diplomatic processes not to be stopped, "and at the same time it is important for the bombing of Yugoslavia to come to an immediate stop."  Kostunica stated that the decision by Yugoslavia to stop diplomatic relations with Albania is justified, assessing that this should have been done even earlier, given that "arms were being brought from Albania to terrorist in Kosovo and Metohija."

Nearly one month of NATO aggression against FR Yugoslavia has demonstrated that the strategy of the wester alliance is not successful, wrote the Washington Post on April 19: "The reason for this lack of success is not hard to find.  There is a rift between the objectives and the policies.  The military force used is simply not adequate for the given objective," it is assessed in the commentary of this paper.  The Washington Post notes that NATO entered the solution of the Kosovo crisis with "ambitious objectives, but modest tools," and added that as the result of this "it is transforming the population of Kosovo into refugees... while the credibility of NATO itself is being brought into question."  According to this paper, such a development in the aggression against FR Yugoslavia thus far has divided western allies into those support isolationism and who would limit themselves exclusively to humanitarian aid to the population of Kosovo, and to those who are ready to intensify the military aggression until all objectives are achieved.  "The existing problem is that our interests are simply not justifies by such sacrifices in blood and equipment," observes the American commentator.

The Serbian public is well prepared for an eventual escalation of the war.  The President of FRY states that the Yugoslav side is considering a ground attack as a certainty.  The alliance has amassed so many aircraft that there is some likelihood that they might begin to knock each other down.

A graffiti in one of the main squares in Belgrade, Slavija, sends the message "You don't have a chance, Serbia's in a trance..."  In Herceg Novi someone wrote "I stand at the end of my nerves and the end of the Balkans, and I'm afraid because there's nothing I fear..."

The author Mirko Kovac (this should be known by those who understood him when at the risk of changing countries, he lobbied against war, and by those who were angry with him at the time) stated recently that he is horrified by the bombing of Yugoslavia for "innocent people are suffering, an entire state, an entire people."  "Even though (FRY President Slobodan) Milosevic attempted to realize his goals for too long through violence, I cannot support in any way that he be stopped with bombs.  I do not believe that anything can be solved in politics using bombs, and I am horrified by this.  It is all horrible," stated Mirko Kovac in Ljubljana in an interview with the Beta Agency.  "Every time I hear overflying planes in Rovinj, I experience some sort of trauma, as if I find myself there where the bombs I falling.  I simply cannot accept that en entire country, an entire infrastructure is being destroyed," stated Kovac.  According to him, it can no longer be said that NATO has not  committed crimes, for now "this is evident."  These words appear to confirm the latest news which arrived in our editorial office via the Tanjug Agency: on Wednesday, April 21, around 10 a.m., in the refugee camp in the settlement of Majini, ten kilometers from Djakovica, ten people were killed by NATO bombs, among them the seven-year-old Ivan Ivanovic, a refugee from Krajina.

Team of VREME Journalists

© Copyright VREME NDA (1991-2001), all rights reserved.