CNN Balkan Conflict News

Bosnian Serbs still a question mark on peace agreement

November 22, 1995
Web posted at: 10:00 a.m. EST (1500 GMT)

BELGRADE, Yugoslavia (CNN) -- The presidents of three warring Balkan factions initialed a peace agreement in Dayton, Ohio, Tuesday -- but a fourth party to the four-year-old war rejected the agreement before the initialing ceremony took place.

Bosnia map

Serb negotiator Momcilo Krajisnik blasted the agreement just moments after it was announced, saying that the "maps are bad, blackmailing and servile."

"We have warned President (Slobodan) Milosevic that no one has the right to sign such a plan," Krajisnik said. "Our delegation has not accepted the plan, and we were unanimous on that."

Krajisnik, the speaker of the Bosnian Serb assembly, said that the Bosnian Serbs rejected agreements that kept Sarajevo unified, linked the Bosnian capital with Gorazde via a land corridor, and provided a too-small corridor linking Bosnian Serb lands in the east and west.

Slobodan Milosevic

But the Serbian president did initial the agreement, along with Bosnian president Alija Izetbegovic and Croatian president Franjo Tudjman. Milosevic simply ignored the Bosnian Serb objections, and, according to one source, even removed the Bosnian Serb delegation from the room as the final draft of the agreement was under discussion.

And officials from the U.S. and NATO -- which will be charged with enforcing the agreement -- say they expect Milosevic to keep the Bosnian Serbs in line.

"This is bound to infuriate the Bosnian Serb nationalists, but we expect Milosevic to handle that," said one western mediator.

It was not immediately known how Milosevic would crush this defiance on the part of Bosnian Serb leadership, especially because their chief leaders, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic have nothing to lose in continuing their defiance of the plan.

Richard Holbrooke

Both have been indicted for war crimes in the 43- month old war, and under the agreement, would be barred from holding positions of power. "I don't think their future's very bright," said chief U.S. negotiation Richard Holbrooke of the Bosnian Serb leadership.

Karadzic and Mladic, however, have crossed Milosevic in the past.

"No one has the right to give up the territories our people have defended with blood," negotiator Krajisnik said. "Milosevic did not respect the initial agreement on the maps which included much larger territories for the Serbs."

The agreement is set to be formally signed in Paris early next month.

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