Bosnia International Mediator Concerned at Kostunica Trip
The international community's top mediator in Bosnia, Wolfgang Petritsch, expressed concern Friday at the proposed visit of Yugoslav President Vojsilav Kostunica to the Bosnian Serb half of Bosnia.
Kostunica "needs to keep in mind that we are now in the middle of an election campaign," Petritsch said after meeting with the newly elected Yugoslav leader.
Some people as getting involved in internal affairs would consider siding with any of candidates, he added.
"This would be the first time that he, as the president, would cross the border into Bosnia-Hercegovina and according to long standing diplomatic practice the visit to the capital would be the preference," Petritsch said.
"The president assured me the visit was in a private capacity," he said. "It was not up to me to ask him not to come."
Bosnians will go to the polls on November 11 to choose assemblies for the federation's central parliament, and assemblies for both of the country's entities -- the Serbs' Republika Srpska and the Muslim-Croat federation.
Presidential elections will be held in the Republika Srpska on the same day.
Diplomatic ties were never established between the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Bosnia after the end of the Bosnian war in 1995.
"One should move on fast and establish a state-to-state relationship between Belgrade and Sarajevo to ... stabilize the situation here," Petritsch said.
He stressed the need for the new Yugoslav leadership to respect the sovereignty of Bosnia.
Kostunica is to travel to the Bosnian Serb town of Trebinje to attend the burial of the remains of Serb nationalist poet Jovan Ducic, who died in exile in the United States in 1943.
The Bosnian central government had objected to the Republika Srpska's invitation to Kostunica, saying it broke an agreement to inform the central government of any contact with Yugoslavia.
Kostunica however tried to calm the situation by writing to Bosnian Foreign Minister Jadranko Prlic to stress it was a private trip.
Petritsch arrived in Belgrade Friday for a one-day visit to meet Kostunica and the leaders of his Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS).
Later in the day he was due to meet Belgrade mayor Milan St. Protic.
Before he was nominated the High Representative in Bosnia, Petritsch served as Austrian ambassador to Belgrade for two years.
The Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was one of the signatories of the Dayton Peace Accords that ended Bosnia's 1992-95 war. Former president Slobodan Milosevic signed the agreement -- BELGRADE (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)