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    Copyright: The following text is for personal information only. Any professional use or publication in written or electronic form is subject to an agreement with AIM, 17 rue Rebeval, F-75019 Paris, France

    THU, 16 NOV 1995 21:17:04 GMT

    SLOVENIAN REACTIONS TO OHIO

    AIM, Ljubljana, November 8, 1995

    Just before the beginning of negotiations about peace in B&H in Air-Force base Wright-Patterson in Ohio, among numerous public opinion polls in Slovenia, there was a poll which included a questions whether Slovenes would agree, within Partnership for Peace through which Slovenia cooperates with the North-Atlantic Treaty Organization, to send their soldiers to peace units which would control implementation of the peace process. Almost 60 per cent of the pollees gave a negative answer to that question. Slovenian public opinion in this way wishes to disasociate itself from the war which is waged in its immediate vicinity, because it does not feel responsible for the war. Would the Slovenes help the victims of war, that is, Muslim fugitives? The answer is - of course, that they would, but only if there is a possibility that they stop coming to Slovenia, if the assistance can be sent to them somewhere else. Humanitarian aid is also implied, but also knowledge and resources needed for reconstruction of the economy.

    Since Slovene policy carefully takes into account the mood of the public (Prime Minister Drnovsek never reaches a single decision before he is informed about results of a public opinion poll concerning the issue), official political actions are in compliance with publicly expressed interests. Representatives of the state still refuse to comment on the developments in Dayton, but on several occasions declared that they should successfully be completed. In New York, at the ceremony held on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the UNO, President Kucan repeated the constant stance in the policy of Slovenia which was expressed even before the conflict in B&H had begun: Slovenia advocates respect of all principles the new world order is founded on, in other words, it is in favour of united B&H within its internationally recognized borders. The form of state system must be chosen by the citizens of B&H in free, democratic, multiparty elections, organized under international supervision, which Slovenia would be ready to give its contribution to. At the Forum for assisting B&H held in Crans Montana, Prime Minister Dr Janez Drnovsek repeated these theses and expressed the readiness of the Slovene state and economy to actively contribute to reconstruction of B&H.

    Slovene opposition does not even think about B&H because it still prefers busing itself with fabrication of scandals which agitate the public and then are forgotten after a days or two, because verything ends with a lot of noise and no evidence whatsoever.

    Daily newspapers, radio and tv stations mostly carry agency reports about negotiations, because sources of information are closed, but the commentators are tirelessly trying to draw some kind of forecasts and diagnoses of the developments based on tiny pieces of specific information.

    Four greatest dailies in Slovenia (Delo, Dnevnik, Vecer and Republika) with the total sold circulation of about 250 thousand copies a day, generally assess the developments with pessimism. In its editorial titled "Rattlesnakes and Grass-snakes", Delo, for instance, quotes a high official of the American State department who declared that negotiations in Dayton would be a "true snake nest", but that the Americans would be the greatest snake of them all. All three (meaning Izetbegovic, Tudjman and Milosevic) have been warned in the past few months, and Tudjman and Izetbegovic have heard it from President Clinton himself: Izetbegovic was told that the NATO was not Bosnian air-force, Tudjman was told that he could for certain count on economic sanctions if he continued to threaten the others with arms, Milosevic who is always followed by Montenegrin President Bulatovic, not to count on quick lifting of the sanctions... It is true that the Americans will continue rattling their tails in order to warn the Balkan self-proclaimed power-wielders that they can be bit, but it is also true that the Balkan grass-snakes are slippery animals which can be driven crazy by rattling, so...

    Under a title which reads "Dayton Peace", Dnevnik writes that the actors playing the main roles... have come to seek each his own solution and catarsis, while search for Bosnia as a united state is just a pretext for them all. For Milosevic, this is the last opportunity to save the state before a total economic and political collapse, and for him personally, although he is the spiritus movens of the Yugoslav tragedy, this is the last possibility not to end his career in the Hague Court. Europe and the USA are catching the last opportunity to pass the exam called solidarity, humaneness, ensuring the fundamental postulates of international relations... The Muslims, most tragic of all parties in this war, can do nothing but accept an ordinary, and not a just peace, which will enable them, as the majority nation, at least not to be either banished or physically completely destroyed or divided between the Serb and the Croat state...

    Maribor daily Vecer warns that the negotiations will be long and difficult, because "Izetbegovic must not allow and agree to have Bosnia become a state with two sub-states each of which would be capable of undermining the joint state at any moment in the future...

    Under a title "Ohio will (not) bring peace", Republika writes that in the four war years "Milosevic and Tudjman have to a certain extent pushed Izetbegovic into the shadow with their territorial aspirations and policy of chameleons", and he was forced to "swallow numerous bitter pills in the last several months which political analysts call formal dismemberment of B&H"... Izetbegovic is going to Ohio as a representative of a victim of the war in the Balkans and contrary to the whole democratic world, he dos not suffer of amnesia: four years of bloodshed and aggression have faded the difference between the victims and the executioner. In Ohio, representatives of "all parties involved in the war" will sit at the table, who know that "despite the convenient moment for peace" there still exists the possibility that they might reach out for guns...

    Zoran Odic, AIM