Tuesday, August 5, 2008


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (August 5,2008) - The following is an exclusive full-length interview that Mohammad Sacirbey,former Bosnian Minister of Foreign Affairs (1995-96) and the Bosnian Ambassador to the United Nations (1992-2000), gave to the Iranian "Press TV" concerning the recent claims made by Serbian war criminal Radovan Karadzic that he had been protected by an agreement he had made in 1996 with Richard Holbrooke, who was then the US envoy overseeing the negotiation and implementation of the Dayton Peace Agreement in Bosnia :

Press TV: I noticed that Richard Holbrooke is saying that it is an outrageous fabrication. What did Karadzic mean by a deal with Richard Holbrooke?

Sacirbey: I have actually been aware of the deal from almost the day it was made. In the summer of 1996, Karadzic withdrew from Bosnian politics, presumably. He withdrew from the leadership of his party. Then he was already indicted, but in fact, he was also running to
become a member of the RS's chair in the presidency. All of a sudden he withdrew.

That night I met with a US diplomat, a very distinguished gentleman who I have a lot of respect for and he was quite enthused to tell me that Karadzic had withdrawn from politics, and, of course, when I said that why would he withdraw, what is the deal?…there was a bit of silence.

In the end, it was acknowledged that in fact Karadzic had been promised by Richard Holbrooke that he would not be arrested even though he was indicted and wanted by the war crimes tribunal if he did withdraw, and of course for the next two to three years, Karadzic, in fact, was quite free and was relatively at liberty and without any threat of arrest.

Press TV: Obviously, I don't expect you to name your source, but Richard Holbrooke is quoted here as saying "I never made such a deal. It would have been unethical and immoral."

Sacirbey: No, let me make sure. I have been very straight with the same picture for over a decade. My source was Ambassador Robert Frowick, at that time the head of the OSCE mission in Bosnia that was overseeing the elections. I have put this on the record, I think, at least 10 years ago.

Press TV: Would president Bill Clinton have been aware as well of this deal with Radovan Karadzic?

Sacirbey: Well, I am not sure of that. All I can tell you is that there was another deal that I think was much more serious and the consequences were much more grave and that was a deal that took place early in the summer of 1995.

That involved Richard Holbrooke and that involved Carl Bildt who, then, was the EU mediator and now is Sweden's Foreign Minister. It involved a French general who was the head of the military forces of the UN in Bosnia i.e. Bernard Janvier. It involved Yasushi Akashi who was the head UN civilian official. They, in effect, acquiesced, gave the green light to Milosevic, Mladic as well as Karadzic to take over the territory of Srebrenica but also Zepa and Gorazde.

At that time there was enormous pressure on us to trade these territories and to give, in effect, to Belgrade and the Bosnian Serbs what they wanted in return for them presumably during the peace talks what would end up being Dayton. We refused and as we resisted the green light was given to the Serbian forces to attack that enclave. Of course, I did not know about it.

I do not think anyone in my government knew about it and the result was 8000 people murdered. So the second deal probably is explained by the first deal. I suspect many people who were in the US administration at that time, even if they objected to making deals with Milosevic, Mladic and Karadzic, who all subsequently were indicted at that time, they clearly would not be very pleased if that information came out right now.

Press TV: The UN peacekeepers, of course, were watching the Srebrenica massacre in real time. Why do you think the Dayton agreement was so important to the United States that they would be willing to turn a blind eye to massacres like [the one in] Srebrenica. What is it about Dayton?

Sacirbey: First of all I am not sure that actually the Dutch peacekeepers knew of the deal. I think that the Dutch peacekeepers and the Dutch government were supposed to be left holding the bag as one would say. What I mean by that is they were supposed to be the excuse why, in fact, NATO and the United Nations did not act to protect Srebrenica as they were obliged to do under the UN and the NATO resolutions.

The defenders of Srebrenica were disarmed and the UN and the NATO were supposed to defend them, so when the Dutch peacekeepers were faced with substantial Serbian tanks and heavy weapons, clearly a superior force, all they had was small guns to fight back.

That is when the NATO was supposed to come in. In fact, the Dutch defense minister did call the NATO. I spoke to him on the evening before Srebrenica fell. He told me "I am calling in NATO. They are going to come in the morning and I am going to do it regardless of what the consequence are for the Dutch forces.

That call was not honored and that call resulted in a Dutch government falling. It obviously resulted in shame for the Dutch forces who were there and it resulted in 8,000 Bosnian men, children and also women being murdered. It also was a black eye upon NATO because obviously, NATO did not fulfill its commitment and it was clearly one of the worst moments for the United Nations.

So it is rather unfortunate, someone who always wants to speak of multilateralism, in fact, betrayed multilateralism in Srebrenica and here I am speaking specifically of Richard Holbrooke but I also must include people like Carl Bildt, like Bernard Jean Vieh and Akashi.

Press TV: Some people say it is even higher up than your making out and that right from the start it was a deal by Bill Clinton's government with the German government to dismember Yugoslavia and the Dayton agreement was about privatizing all the resources of a state which had resources in the hands of the government.

Do you think it goes as far as that and in fact all of this is part of an agenda for big companies? And do you think this will all come out in The Hague as we watch Radovan Karadzic defend himself?

Sacirbey: Well, I want to be very careful that I speak of what I have at least some limited first-hand knowledge of. I do have some, now, first-hand knowledge of the deal that was made, simply because as the Bosnian Foreign Minister certain things were told to me… certain things happened rather peculiar and coming back upon it all it fits into a deal.

Was this something that was arranged at the very highest levels? That I leave for someone else to speculate but clearly, I think, what would be more appropriate now is to talk about if Dayton was achieved through, in effect, genocide, if Dayton is the consequences of embracing the results of that genocide shouldn't we talk about reversing Dayton, in effect, reversing that which in fact rewarded genocide?

Let me be very clear on this, Bosnia is a multiethnic country. We have there not only Bosniak Muslims but we also have the Serbs who are orthodox. We have the Croats who are Catholics but Dayton is a form of Apartheid. Dividing these people in a way that they have never been divided and creating clear ethnic enclaves and this is something that I do not believe is consistent with the history of Bosnia nor with the future of Bosnia in a European family and I certainly can not see how Europe can tolerate that.

How the Euro-Atlantic family can tolerate that type of division in a country that clearly has a future as part of the Euro-Atlantic family. So there seems to be something rather funny here, which is that, that one country that has a Muslim majority seems to be subject to a different set of criteria. I will grant you that and as an American, remember that I am also an American, I see this very clearly these double standards.

On the other hand, the rather bigger game that you speak of, whether that exists or not, as I said, I leave that for someone else to speculate but I cannot understand how either the United States or the European countries can now tolerate the continuation of the Dayton. Built not only upon the framework, the foundation of genocide, but, in effect, perpetuating what amounts to fascist and racist ideas.

Press TV: Well, I can assure you that German companies, shipping, construction and so on and other European countries are very happy with the present deals. Do you think, in the end, that this was not NATO just out there in the former Yugoslavia trying to help Muslims and do you think that the people are quite frightened in Washington and in London and in Berlin and in Paris at the prospect of what we are going to see here at The Hague in the coming month?

Sacirbey: Well, I think that is a good guess. They have been rather upset with some of the things that I have said as you can imagine and I have been saying this for over a decade. It is just that most people weren't either paying attention or they, of course, tried to make sure that my words were not heard too loud beyond the four walls I am sure there will be much more that comes out.

Nonetheless, as I said, looking at this as a Bosnian, I cannot be happy with what I have seen for the Bosnian people. It clearly is not something that is sustainable nor does it make a normal country and as an American I cannot stand behind something that is, in my opinion, so inconsistent with the values of the United States, a country that is divided along ethnic lines, along religious lines and, in fact, when something was achieved like that through the genocide of a significant portion of the Muslim population of Bosnia Herzegovina.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (August 5,2008) - The Bosnian State Court has confirmed the indictment against Croatian war criminal Slavko Šakić, former member of the Croatian fascist aggressor's formations, who is charged with crimes against Bosnian civilians in the central Bosnian town of Bugojno,during the Croatian aggression against Bosnia in the early 1990s.

The indictment states that Croatian war criminal Slavko Šakić participated in the detention of Bosnian civilians from Bugojno in July 1993. The Bosnian civilians were then detained by the fascist Croatian aggressor in the basement of the Aquarium motel in Vrbanja settlement.

The Bosnian State Prosecutor considers that, while the Bosnian civilians were being detained, Croatian war criminal Slavko Šakić "searched them and forcibly took their money and jewelry away." It is also states that he participated in torture of detained Bosnians from July 17 to July 28, 1993.

Croatian war criminal Slavko Šakić is charged with having taken one Bosnian civilian from "Aquarium" motel in late July 1993. In August 1993 this Bosnian civilian was found dead below a bridge in Vrbanja settlement.

Croatian war criminal Slavko Šakić has been held in custody since May 18 this year, when the Bosnian State Investigation and Protection Agency, (SIPA), arrested him in the western Bosnian town of Livno.

Citing the reasons for the custody motion, the Bosnian State Prosecutor mentioned the possibility that he might attempt to escape, due to the fact that Croatian war criminal Slavko Šakić has Croatian citizenship and the fact that he tried to hide his true identity by telling the investigative organs that his name was Anto.

A plea hearing before the Section I for War Crimes of the Bosnian State Court, in the case of Croatian war criminal Slavko Šakić, has been scheduled for tomorrow,August 6, 2008, starting at 11:00a.m. in courtroom 3,the Bosnian State Court said today.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (August 5th,2008) - Bosnia has yet to meet the necessary conditions to have the Euro as its official currency, Kemal Kozaric, the Governor of the Bosnian Central Bank,said yesterday.

There are “strict and clear rules” on the adoption of the Euro as an official currency. Bosnia met only some of these conditions.

“Our currency is stable and inflation is not that high,” Governor Kozaric said. “But a huge issue is unemployment, which has to be lower than 10 per cent, as well as a reduction in the foreign trade deficit, which is very high now in Bosnia”.

Kozaric said he would like to see Bosnia “part of the Euro zone as soon as tomorrow, but there is a certain procedure and lots of things… to be done before that”.

According to official data, unemployment in Bosnia is between 25 and 30 per cent and inflation is running at around 9.9 per cent a year. One Bosnian Mark is currently worth about half a Euro.

Following the information on introduction of Euro as official Bosnian currency, prior to completion of reform processes in the country,the Bosnian Central provided the following explanations:

"Above all, the Bosnian Central Bank would like to emphasise that for the Bosnian Central Bank, as monetary institution in Bosnia, exit strategy from the currency board arrangement, which, as monetary policy has been used since 1997, is introduction of Euro, for which, there is a consensus at all levels of the authority. That includes accession into the Economic Monetary Union (EMU) and membership in the Eurosystem, which is comprised of Central Banks of the countries, EU members, which had already introduced Euro.

However, in order to achieve the above mentioned, Bosnia needs to fulfil a number of preconditions, while unilateral introduction of Euro is not permitted by the European Central Bank (ECB), nor by the European Union (EU).

First precondition is full membership of the country in the EU. By signing the Agreement on Stabilisation and Accession recently, Bosnia has made a first step in that direction. In order for Bosnia, as EU member, to become the member of the EMU, apart from political willingness, it needs to meet the criteria agreed in Maastricht in 1992, and which are written in the Deed of EU. Those are the criteria that regulate premitted inflation rate, budget deficit level, public debt, average nominal long-term interest rates, as well as exchange rate stability.

Apart from the aforementioned criteria, a country member of EU must support economic policy of EU, and aim at harmonisation with other macroeconomic indicators of Eurozone including unemployment rate and level of foreign trade deficit, which, unfortunately, in Bosnia are far above the Eurozone criteria.

Bosnia fulfils the criteria related to monetary stability, but fulfiling of other criteria is necessary in order to get integrated into the EMU, which requires engagement of all authority structures.

Until all the conditions are fulfilled for entering the Eurozone, the Bosnian Central Bank shall consistently implement monetary policy through the currency board arrangement, which means that Bosnian citizens can have full trust in stability of domestic currency, given that each Bosnian Mark in circulation has full coverage in foreign currencies. Foreign reserves data from the end of May this year indicate that Bosnia's net foreign reserves amounted to 6,48 billion Bosnian Marks, monetary liabilities amounted to 6,08 billion Bosnian Marks, with 400 million Bosnian Marks in net free reserves. These indicators clearly show that stability of Bosnian Mark cannot be questionable," the Bosnian Central Bank said in a statement yesterday.


SARAJEVO, Bosnia (August 5,2008) - Europe's biggest car maker,Volkswagen, plans to move an assembling line from Slovakia to Bosnia, the director of Volkswagen's partner firm in Bosnia said yesterday.

Volkswagen runs an operation with Bosnian company ASA Holding, assembling Volkswagen and Skoda models at the Sarajevo plant.

"The steering board of Volkswagen Sarajevo is due to approve on August 27 the decision to move a factory from Slovakia to Bosnia," ASA Holding General Manager Nihad Imamovic told a news conference in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo.

"It will employ some 600-700 people," Imamovic said. He gave no reason for the move from Slovakia.

Volkswagen owns 58 percent of Volkswagen Sarajevo, and ASA Holding, its official dealer and car parts maker, owns the rest.