Bosnia Mediator Optimistic About Sarajevo-Belgrade Diplomatic Ties
The top international mediator in Bosnia, Wolfgang Petritsch, expressed optimism Monday over the prospect of diplomatic ties being opened between Sarajevo and Belgrade, a day after a landmark visit of Yugoslav leader Vojislav Kostunica.
"I am quite optimistic," Petritsch told AFP.
"It is now basically a technical process that has actually started yesterday when Bosnian Foreign Minister Jadranko Prlic met with the president" of Yugoslavia, he added.
Kostunica's brief visit to Sarajevo on Sunday was seen as a breakthrough in relations, which have been in tatters since Bosnia's brutal 1992-95 war.
Petritsch said he expected diplomatic contacts to start "soon" once the new Yugoslav government is formed.
Yugoslavia's ousted president Slobodan Milosevic was one of the signatories of the Dayton peace agreement that ended Bosnia's war.
Although Yugoslavia and Bosnia granted each other mutual recognition, diplomatic relations have not yet been established.
Milosevic's regime conditioned ties with the withdrawal of Bosnia's genocide suit against Yugoslavia, filed in 1993 before the Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ).
In the early stage of Bosnia'a war -- which claimed some 200,000 lives -- the Yugoslav army supported Bosnian Serb forces.
It was not clear if Kostunica and the new Belgrade authorities would accept an unconditional establishment of diplomatic relations.
Petritsch said that they should be established "without any preconditions from neither side," stressing that issues of the genocide suit and relations "need to be kept separate" -- SARAJEVO (AFP)
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