October 4, 1995
Web posted at: 9 a.m. EDT (1300 GMT)
From State Department Correspondent Steve Hurst
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A framework plan for Croatian Serbs to reintegrate the key region of Eastern Slavonia into Croatia proper has been worked out. It is expected to pave the way for Serbs to return land that was seized from Croatia earlier in the Balkans war.
The deal was made Tuesday in Eastern Slavonia among the Serbian leaders there and U.S. Ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith and U.N. negotiator Thorvald Stoltenberg.
State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said the Eastern Slavonia deal "is tantamount to the September 8th pact," under which the foreign ministers of Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia agreed to the framework plan for any future peace agreement. The Eastern Slavonia plan still must be approved by Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic and Croatian President Franjo Tudjman.
The 11-point plan, given exclusively to CNN, contains the following provisions:
An undefined transition period for the hand-over of the region to Croatia will be established.
A U.N. transitional authority will be responsible for protecting the safety and rights of all citizens of the region.
Eastern Slavonia will be demilitarized and international forces will maintain the peace.
The U.N. authority will facilitate the return of refugees and displaced persons, and will re-establish telephone services, postal services, banks, utilities, pension offices and passport and citizenship offices.
The United Nations will establish a transitional police force with representatives from Croatian and Serb ethnic populations as well as from other ethnic groups in regions where they live.
The government of Croatia promises to protect and respect the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all ethnic groups.
All those eligible or holding Croatian citizenship will be free to return and live in their former homes.
All property will be restored to former owners or those owners will be compensated if their property was damaged or destroyed.
The rights in section eight shall apply to all ethnic groups if they held or were eligible for Croatian citizen ship.
International monitors will guarantee the agreement.
At the end of the transition period, which was undefined, local elections will be held.
Secretary of State Warren Christopher called the plan a significant step. "I think we'll be talking about that in the region. It's a first step, but I think it's a significant one, and as I have said before, dealing with the problem of Eastern Slavonia is one of the key elements of the picture."
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