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Interview: Bosnian Wartime Leader Says Refugees Are Still Bosnians

Haris Silajdzic in RFE/RL's Sarajevo bureau In an exclusive online interview with users of the RFE/RL South Slavic and Albanian Languages Service website on 12 October, Haris Silajdzic, who was Bosnia-Herzegovina's foreign minister and prime minister at different times during the 1992-95 conflict, said that any new Bosnian census should include people "who were forced to flee their homes" during the war.

Referring to the current Bosnian domestic political situation, Silajdzic said that Bosnia does not need a Presidency but did not propose an alternative.

Silajdzic said that he is not in a position to be "completely objective" about High Representative Paddy Ashdown, "because we walked together under shellfire in Sarajevo" during the war. Silajdzic added nonetheless that Ashdown "has good intentions but has not made the [kind of decisive] moves that could significantly change the current situation in Bosnia." The former minister argued, however, that Ashdown's "presence has been positive" on the balance.

When asked about the involvement of clerics in politics, Silajdzic replied that "everybody should deal with his own profession."

He admitted that his own small Party for Bosnia-Herzegovina (SBiH) did not manage to improve its performance in the recent local elections, saying that it could have campaigned harder, particularly in Sarajevo.

Silajdzic noted that he is currently engaged in consulting work, frequently attends international conferences, and is reading avidly to catch up with all he missed out on during his years of active political engagement.