bosnia report
No. 6 September - 1994
 
The Contact Group Plan

The Contact Group Plan for a negotiated settlement of the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina is the fourth in line of Western "peace initiatives". Not only does it follow upon the failure of its predecessors Carrington/Cutilheiro, Vance/Owen, Owen/Stoltenberg - it also builds upon them. Like them it is based on the faulty premise that this is a civil or inter-ethnic conflict, despite the overwhelming evidence that it is actually a war of conquest aimed at the creation of a Greater Serbia. In reality, it is little more than a revamped version of the failed Owen/Stoltenberg Plan. Its sole novelty lies in the now unanimous public commitment of France, Germany, Great Britain, Russia and the USA to a policy that disregards international borders, rewards aggression, legitimizes genocide, undermines democracy and destroys any chance of a stable post-Communist Balkans for the foreseeable future.

For the Serbian side, forced ethnic separation leading to partition has from the start constituted the essence of a strategy designed to destroy the Bosnian state and society. A "peace process" and "peace plans" that concentrate not on this fact, but rather on how best to achieve a territorial-political separation of the three main ethnic groups within B-H, concedes Serbia's victory in advance. Moreover, insofar as such separation of an indivisibly mixed population is achievable only by mass murder and the forcible deportation of millions, its pursuit in effect legitimizes the policy and practice of genocide.

The only barrier to Serbia's realization of its aims has been the political and military resistance of the Bosnian people. By endorsing Karadzic as sole "leader of the Bosnian Serbs", treating the Bosnian government as a purely Muslim "warring faction" and stubbornly maintaining an arms embargo that denies Bosnia its legitimate right to defend itself, the EU and the UN by the autumn of 1992 had abandoned all pretence to neutrality, suing instead for peace on Milosevic's terms. The plan sponsored by the Contact Group is simply the latest attempt to negotiate Bosnia's surrender.

The Plan allocates to Karadzic 49% of B-H's territory (against the will of the half of that area's population that has been forcibly deported), establishing through the corridor at Brcko a continguous Greater Serbian territory across Bosnia and Croatia. At the same time it fragments the territory under Bosnian government control into seven separate pieces - two enclaves in the east, the Bihac region in the west, the Orasje pocket in the north, the district of Sarajevo under UN administration, the city of Mostar under EU administration, and the rest - making it an unviable entity, territorially or politically. In addition, the lacunae with which the Plan abounds - regarding the principles on which the proposed map is based; the constitutional relationship between the Croat-Muslim Federation and Karadzic's para-state; the mechanism (if any) for implementation - indicate clearly that its sponsors envisage and are ready to sanction the break-up of Bosnia, even if they are not yet prepared to admit this publicly.

The simple truth is that it is impossible to create a viablÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌ`e Croat-Muslim Federation and a viable "Republika Srpska". We were told rejection of the Plan would lead to all-out war in Bosnia and its extension beyond Bosnia's borders; yet the Plan was purposely drafted to be incoherent, thus ensuring its failure   and readjustment to suit the aggressor. The Plan, therefore, is not a peace plan, but a war plan: an integral part of the process ensuring the realization of Belgrade's war aims. Indeed, in view of the Contact Group's studied silence regarding what is essential   Bosnia-Herzegovina's sovereignty and territorial integrity; the right of its population to return to their towns and villages   it is impossible to treat it as anything but a further step towards de-legitimization of the Bosnian state by the permanent members of the UN Security Council. Such international sanctioning of the erasure of a European state by genocidal aggression carries the gravest implications for the peace and security of the continent.

We are presented, once again, with a shameless attempt by the most powerful states in the world to carve up a small country, which has deliberately been rendered defenceless, for the sake of "peace in our time". However, the British government's grudging admission that, following the "No" from Pale, lifting the arms embargo against Bosnia is the only "stick" in town merely confirms what we have been saying all along: that an alternative to violent partition on ethnic lines does exist and that it involves recognizing Bosnia's inalienable right of self defence. The country's increased self-defence capability, coupled with the fulfilment of existing international obligations towards it, as enshrined in London Conference and UN resolutions - notably those calling for military units and weapons not under control of the legitimate Bosnian government to disband, disarm or withdraw, or be placed under the authority of the B-H government - alone offer any foundation for sustainable peace in Bosnia and the Balkans.

ADB-H statement, July 1994

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