By Milorad Obradovic
In the last few days of 1995 Presidency of Republic of Bosnia
and Herzegovina abolished state of war on the territory of Bosnia
and Herzegovina. Following this, Minister Muharem Cero requested
from the cabinet to declare that official New Year's holiday be two
days. Such was not the view of other members of the cabinet,
because the "immediate danger of war is still in place," so
factories will be shut down for only one day.
When the average personal income is considered (around 50 DEM
a month), then there is no reason why employees should be enraged
by this decision. In fact, the holiday season has lost its sense
around here a long time ago. This is especially true of the military
personnel, who wouldn't dare think about any celebration unless
there were news of demobilization.
Still, until then Sarajevans use every occasion to meet and
have dinner together. It was so during the (Catholic) Christmas --
same is to be expected for the New Year's Eve. Aware that it has
to be this way, because in the current circumstances it cannot be
different, every conversations reduces to the idea that there is
no other way but life together.
Such is the opinion of most civilians, but the same story is
coming from the "upper spheres." At the Christmas reception,
Archbishop Bosnian Cardinal Vinko Pujic said that political will is
a necessary precondition for any peace to actualize, so that all
possible burdens on the rest of the process would be lifted. "Let
us hope that ideology and mythology of history and political aims -
- are history. Let us open the possibility for normal life, and
help the right of everyone to come back to their homes become
reality," said Puljic, asking that "we should do everything to be
recognizable in our differences. Nobody should build their
identity on the account of another. Let it be seen that this land
is our only homeland, and that we should stay here."
Before New Year's president of the Serbian Citizens' Council
(SGV) Mirko Pejanovic, spoke once again to the Serbs of Ilidza,
Grbavica, and Vogosce, delivering a message of trust in the peace
process. "Do not fall for propaganda that Sarajevo will be
Tehran. Instead, it will be more like New York, Brussels, a
multicultural and multiethnic environment, city of equal rights for
all its citizens and nations," said Pejanovic in the name of SGV.
In the last two years SGV fought for universal principles and
universal protection of human rights, for which it received an
international alternative peace prize.
Meeting with American Ambassador in Bosnia, John Menzis,
Pejanovic stressed that trust of the Serbian population around
Sarajevo in the peace process will also depend on the future
actions of the Government of the Federation of Bosnia and
Herzegovina. "It is a crucial moment in the implementation of the
peace agreement and for retaining of the Serb civilians to bring
about the appropriate legislation regarding amnesty," said
Pejanovic during talks with Menzis. He also informed Menzis of the
SGV initiative to arrange a meeting of respected Serb citizens from
parts of Sarajevo under the control of Government of BH and Serbs
from Grbavica, Ilidza, Ilijas, Vogosce and Hadzic.
President of the Presidency of Republic of Bosnia and
Herzegovina and President of the Party of Democratic Action (SDA)
used the New Year's SDA press conference to express his opinion
about the faith of Serbs around Sarajevo. "We were given bitter
and cold peace," said Izetbegovic, "and into 1996 we go with the
recognition that nothing is yet final. But the war is
Stressing that "Serb civilians can stay in their homes, except
for criminals, which we will prosecute," Izetbegovic reminded
journalists of the letter with the same message he sent to the
Commander of the Peace Forces in Bosnia, Admiral Layton
While we are at letters, for the establishment of trust
between the "two sides" in and around Sarajevo, it is important
that telephone lines be reinstated. According to the PTT (Post
Telegraph Telephone) director for Sarajevo Adnan Mujagic, telephone
lines between Bosnia, Yugoslavia and the Serbian entity in Bosnia
could be reestablished early in 1996.
All the necessary conditions for such an act are in place, but
"the other side has not responded to such initiatives. Serbian
side has not been cooperative on the issue of communication links
in the unified Sarajevo" -- those were the words of Mujagic.