MILOSEVIC COMMENTS ON LONDON CONFERENCE,
BOSNIAN SITUATION, CHANCES FOR PEACE
SOURCE: Belgrade TV 1854 gmt 28 Aug 92
Text of ''exclusive'' interview with Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic by an unidentified ITN reporter; place and date not given; in English with superimposed translation in Serbo-Croat
[Reporter] [Word indistinct] travelling for
Belgrade, Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic gave an exclusive interview to
our TV station. I asked him whether he accepts the essence and the spirit of the
London conference, that is to say, returning to the prewar borders.
[Milosevic] Always, not now or a year ago, but much earlier, we made the Serbian stance on this issue very clear, namely, that we do not have any territorial pretensions. This is on the record and in the last two years, before all these clashes started, nobody who is honourable could say that we were striving for the creation of a Greater Serbia or something similar. I am glad that we have now started to join forces in our efforts to stop all these bloody events, and everything that is absolutely bad, and this unjust war.
[Reporter] You know that some people believe that you are striving for a Greater Serbia. Many terrible things have happened in the last few months. Parts of Bosnia, where the Serbia population is in a majority, are occupied, and all non-Serbs have been forced to leave. This resembles territorial conquests and seizure of territories.
[Milosevic] Although there are some who advocate such a type of ethnic cleansing, we in Serbia believe that this is a criminal action.
[Reporter] Why did you not prevent this?
[Milosevic] We made it officially known and stressed very clearly that such things must not happen and that all those who are committing such acts must be subject to criminal persecution. However, there is a civil war there. Nobody understands what is going on there. There are no innocent sides and no winners in a civil war, only victims.
[Reporter] But you know of some people who are doing such things, some of the warlords who approved this type of action?
[Milosevic] The people that I know, and I am speaking of the Serbian leadership in Bosnia- Hercegovina, assured me categorically that they are opposed to this, and only insane people can believe that such a sort of ethnic cleansing could be something good. This is a crime that cannot be accepted or justified, regardless of the side.
[Reporter] But you know that people believe that you can pull the strings and influence the Bosnian Serbs.
[Milosevic] Can you really believe that somebody would have such power to be able to pull strings in a republic in which he was not even elected?
[Reporter] But you are brothers with the Serbs in Bosnia.
[Milosevic] It is clear that certain links with them exist and that one can take advantage of these links to influence them. I used all my influence to stop the war. I would like to remind you, as perhaps you are not informed, that we, by the official statements of the government, in a most clear and resolute manner condemned the bombardment of Sarajevo, for example. We insist that those who perpetrate such actions must be prosecuted. However, in a civil war there is no formula for a solution. I believe that some of the other interested sides were resisting the conference for this reason.
[Reporter] How do you see the progress so far?
[Milosevic] I believe that it is positive.
[Reporter] Will you pull out from the occupied territories?
[Milosevic] Serbia has not occupied anything. Serbs in Bosnia have said categorically that they are ready to hand over some of the territory they control to the Muslims and close all the prisoner-of- war camps. I was astonished when I heard information that such camps existed there. I spoke to them and asked them if that was possible, and I got a reply from them that those were prisons where only war prisoners were held. I cannot say that there is nothing there. I can absolutely not state something like that; I cannot be sure. I cannot even be sure that those who inform me about it have the right information. However, whenever such an activity exists, it is a crime. But, let these camps be placed under the control of the Red Cross. What could be better than that? What could be better than that is if they were completely closed, and all those people released.
[Reporter] What if the local Serbian leaders refuse to implement these agreements; how will you force them to do so?
[Milosevic] I hope that their leadership will arrest such people and put them in prison.
[Reporter] What leadership is that?
[Milosevic] Well, Mr Karadzic, Koljevic, and others that were present at the conference, and who signed that they would do exactly that. I believe that they have to stick to their promise. No excuse should be accepted for any kind of failure in that sense. One should keep in mind that these are very important humanitarian problems. We do not want to support any different behaviour.
[Reporter] To solve all this, and when all this is over, what will your position be in Yugoslavia? What position will Serbia take?
[Milosevic] Bear in mind that, at the conference, I received a suggestion, and I am glad that your Prime Minister Major accepted that suggestion, which I made, and that is that all the sides in the conflict must accept the presence of UN officers in each and every unit. If they do so, then we willfinish that bloody war in a few days. Simply, that is all the time it takes to do that. However, I am sure that only those who do not want the truth to surface will oppose the realisation of this plan. If UN officers, who will be placed with every army unit, see what kind of units these are, and see if they are violating the cease-fire, after all, they will see that there are 50,000 regular Croatian troops, and not one from Serbia. There is so much pressure on that issue, and why can anyone not catch at least one Serbian soldier and put him in front of television cameras, and say, see now how those liars from Belgrade say that there are no Serbian soldiers there, and here he is.
[Reporter] This has been President Milosevic of Serbia, talking to [word indistinct] before flying off to Belgrade.
SECTION: Part 2 Eastern Europe; C. SPECIAL SUPPLEMENT; LONDON CONFERENCE ON FORMER YUGOSLAVIA; EE/1473/C1/ 1;
Copyright 1992 The British Broadcasting
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