April 3. 1995 Vreme News Digest Agency No 183

Bosnians in Belgrade

No One to Argue With

by Milos Vasic

A delegation of the Serb Civic Council of Bosnia-Herzegovina finally made it to Belgrade where they met and talked with a lot of people; they were received by Dragan Tomic, the Patriarch and Vuk Draskovic and all the curious except president Milosevic. Everyone who isn't interested in Sarajevo said nothing

"I came here to get into a human, good argument with people and no one wants to argue," said Boro Bjelobrk, head of the SDP parliamentary group in Sarajevo and delegation chief of the Serb Civic Council (SGV) of Bosnian Herzegovina which paid visits to Belgrade, Podgorica and other places last week.

"We didn't come to Belgrade to find a shoulder to cry on," Bjelobrk said and added that Serbs share everything with their neighbors. He said they came to talk and mediate, to explain that Bosnia has 200,000 Serbs whom Radovan Karadzic does not represent, that many of them believe in a single, federal Bosnia-Herzegovina, that they do not feel guilty that they didn't escape to Pale. One of their main criticisms was of the Serbian Orthodox Church whose priests all left the territories Karadzic deemed uncapturable a week before the fighting began. That left the 200,000 Serbs without priests. Was the message from the church meant to say: whoever isn't with Karadzic is not interesting to us? Those and similar questions in the field of Christian charity were - we hope - discussed at a meeting between the SGV delegation and his holiness Patriarch Pavle.

The delegation (Nada Mladina doctor from Tuzla, Vasa Radic one of eight former Sarajevo mayors, Boro Bjelobrk, architect Boro Spasojevic, Dragan Cicovic music teacher, Mladen Pandurovic lawyer and Ratomir Jovicic) started their journey in late September 1994 but were turned back from the Hungarian border for reasons that must have been political. Now, after long and complex preparations, they made it to Belgrade just days after Bosnian ambassador to Switzerland Muhamed Filipovic was received by Milosevic which might and might not be a coincidence. There has been a need for dialogue between Belgrade and Sarajevo for a while now and it's clear the Bosnia-Herzegovina Serbs could be an important element in bridging that gap and it's clear that acceptance of their mediation role would be a slap in the face for Karadzic. At the time this article was finished (Wednesday afternoon) it wasn't clear whether Milosevic would see the delegation which could be carrying a message for him. In that sense, the attacks on the delegation from Pale and Vojislav Kostunica are clear; both accused the delegation of not representing the Bosnian Serbs but the Sarajevo government.

So how is it that Bjelobrk couldn't find anyone to argue with here? It could be the blind spot phenomenon. Here, hardly anyone wants to know that Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbs in it exist.

It's unpleasant to look a compatriot in the eye after he's been under siege for 1,000 days and wants to talk and doesn't complain.

"I don't want to hear alibis and excuses," Bjelobrk said, "I want to hear opinions about how to end this."