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Balkan Report: October 29, 1997

29 October 1997, Volume 1, Number 14

International Community Tells Bosnian Leaders to Reach Agreement. Jacques Klein, the international community's second highest representative in Bosnia, said in Sarajevo on 25 October that it might be necessary to "lock up in the National Museum" the leaders of the Croatian, Muslim, and Serbian communities in order to force them to conclude long over-due agreements on joint citizenship, a common currency, and state symbols.

Just three day's later, Klein's boss, Carlos Westendorp, warned the stubborn leaders of the three main ethnic groups that the international community will lose patience unless there is an agreement on a package of 20 issues by the end of the year. Westendorp added that if the three do not agree, the international community might give him what he called a new -- and presumably greatly expanded -- mandate.

No Compromise on Pale TV. Westendorp also told Momcilo Krajisnik, the Serbian member of the joint presidency, to hand back the missing pieces of equipment that his hard-liners took from a television transmitter in eastern Bosnia just before NATO seized it (see "RFE/RL Bosnia Report," 22 October 1997). Without the parts, SFOR cannot use the facility to broadcast Republika Srpska President Biljana Plavsic's Banja Luka TV to the eastern region of Bosnian Serb territory.

Westendorp made clear, however, that he will not bargain with Krajisnik for the stolen equipment. The former Spanish foreign minister added that the international community stands by its demands that Pale TV come under new management. That means, among other things, that Krajisnik and other politicians must leave its board of directors.

Bosnia is Being Partitioned. But although the international community insists that the three sides remove hate from the air waves and set up joint institutions, RFE/RL said on October 27 that Bosnia is already being partitioned on an ethnic basis.

One way that the nationalists are dividing the country is through the schools. Children in the Republika Srpska learn from Yugoslav textbooks, which promote Serbian nationalism.

Nor do the Muslims and Croats share joint texts. The Muslims have their own books, while Croatian children learn from Croatian texts that their country is part of Croatia and that their president is Franjo Tudjman.

The Croats, moreover, already have Croatian passports in addition to Bosnian ones, and the Serbs will soon have Yugoslav ones, too. The broadcast asked rhetorically how one can speak of a common Bosnian homeland when some Bosnians have a Serbian education and passport, and some others a Croatian education and passport. Under these circumstances, it should come as no surprise that the Muslims have come to think of themselves more as Muslims than as Bosnians.