TRIP REPORT 4-5/2000 - 6-11 NOVEMBER 2000
AND 13-16 DECEMBER 2000

With the many changes in the FRY and the preparations for elections in the FRY and BaH well underway, the Mediator chose to undertake two separate trips with the one purpose of assessing how all of the new changes will affect Bosnia and Herzegovina at the local level.  During the first trip the Mediator stopped in Belgrade to meet President Vojislav Kostunica and other credible sources to ascertain the impact that the changes in the FRY might have on the situation in BaH, in particular the establishment of official bilateral relations.  Thereafter the Mediator concentrated his efforts on Republika Srpska where he visited Bijeljina for an information visit.  In Banja Luka, he met with the three newly installed Serb ombudspersons and discussed with them their role in the RS and how they saw the situation.

In Prijedor the Mediator met with the Mayor and members of her government and local refugee associations. In addition, the mayor of Sanski Most was invited to attend and participate in the discussion.  The purpose of the visit was to shore up support for the new initiatives of the current government which are aimed at finding solutions to problems facing the municipality. Religious freedom, and the rebuilding of religious objects, is one of the main issues confronting the government.  In addition, the Mediator wanted to lend his support to the establishment of communication and information exchange between Prijedor and Sanski Most, an initiative started during the previous meeting. As a sign of good will and cooperation, the two mayors jointly visited a refugee return area and listened to the concerns of the returnees.

During the last two days of the visit, the Mediator initiated discussions with local and international officials in Sarajevo on the various pre-election perspectives.  At the international level he met with OSCE Head of Mission Robert Barry; US Ambassador Thomas Miller, High Representative Wolfgang Petritsch, Senior Deputy High Representative Matthias Sonn, Principal High Representative Ralph Johnson, and French Ambassador Bernard Bajolet.  At the local level the Mediator met with Vice President of the Federation of BiH Ivo Adric Luzanski, Chair of the Presidency of BiH Zivko Radisic, President of the New Croat Initiative Kresmir Zubak, Member of the Presidency of BiH Halid Genjac, Mr. Drazenko Primovac (Advisor to Member of the Presidency of BiH Ante Jelavic), and Prime Minister of the Federation of BiH Edhem Bicakcic.

During the second visit in December, the Mediator continued to concentrate his efforts on developments in the RS and met with the new RS President, Mirko Sarovic. In addition, he took the opportunity to initiate a dialogue with the HDZ on its position concerning its recent moves away from the Federation institutions. The Mediator held a discussion with Member of the Presidency Ante Jelavic, in which Mr. Jelavic presented his views and complaints.  While the meeting was held in a friendly atmosphere, it was clear to the Mediator that the HDZ position was a long-term threat to the peace process if reasonable solutions are not found. He also reminded Mr. Jelavic of his responsibilities to the Dayton Peace Agreement. More importantly, the Mediator was concerned with the commitment of all interested parties to the strengthening of state institutions in BaH. It is important that all peoples feel and see that their interests are safeguarded.

To highlight the point the Mediator chose to visit Drvar and Capljina, both hard-line HDZ areas, that have previously been black holes in the peace process.  The main purpose in choosing these areas was to engage the Croat side in dialogue and to assess the situation in areas that seem most problematic but essential to any resolution and progress.  In both cases the Croats seemed willing to engage with the Mediator, albeit holding the position dictated by the HDZ party.  In addition both areas are examples of the need for long-term mediation at the local level in an effort to bring the peace process to the peoples of BaH.
Both delegations consisted of the International Mediator, Dr. Christian Schwarz-Schilling, Mr. Dieter Wolkewitz (Executive Representative), Mr. Gerald Knaus (Political Advisor and Sarajevo Representative), Mr. Juan Diaz (Political Analyst), Ms. Amela Curkovic (Interpreter). During his visits, the Mediator was accompanied by Ms. Mirsada Jahic, the Co-ordinator of the Task Force Group in the Federation Prime Minister's Cabinet for the Support of the Mediator's Activities and Mrs. Sabira Jahic, Assistant to the Federation Minister for Refugees. The delegation would like to express its special gratitude to OSCE Operations for its logistical support; OHR, RRTF, UNBiH, SFOR and OSCE officers in Bijeljina, Banja Luka, Prijedor, Mostar, and Capljina for providing input and organisational support. During the trip the delegation was assisted also by ECMM, IPTF,OHR/RRTF, OSCE, SFOR, UNHCR and the Federation Ombudspersons.

Trip Report 4-5/2000 - 6-11 November 2000 and 13-16 December 2000
(WORD, 48KB)