BH NEW TELEPHONE CODE ++387 // 09. 1993.
HAJRUDIN SUMAN // EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE PTT COMPANY
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT

September 1993

Hajrudin Suman
Executive director of the PTT Company
BH NEW TELEPHONE CODE ++387

‘After that we applied for, and in ‘94 got, recognition of the status of founder member of the Telecommunications Union. You know, from the time of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy, the PTT service in BH was autonomous, and was in fact one of the founder members of World Telecommunications Union.’

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SEPTEMBER 1993


• Soup kitchens are opened for the survival of pensioners.
• Geneva, September 1, 1993. In Geneva peace negotiations continue. The following representatives from the BiH government take part: Alija Izetbegovic, Haris Silajdzic, Miro Lazovic, Ivo Komsic, Irfan Ljubljankic, Muhamed Filipovic, Fikret Abdic, Kasim Trnka and Mugdim Cukle.


• Geneva, September 4, 1993. Peace negotiations collapse.
• In Sarajevo the paper “Zadrugar” is published, with advice on the topic “How to Survive.”
• Mario Braco Kolak, graphic designer for “Oslobodjenje” newspaper, makes a hydroelectric generator on the Miljacka to supply electricity.


• The Ukraine battalion of the UN is charged with smuggling and importing heroin hidden in oranges
• BiH receives the international telephone code of 387.


• U.S. President Bill Clinton meets in Washington with Alija Izetbegovic.
• Large amounts of electricity enter Sarajevo. Elektroprivreda makes a reduction plan.
• Humanitarian aid only comes to the city through the air bridge; land convoys are halted.
• Islam Dzugum, marathon runner, does not reach the Mediterranean Games in Montpelier but is held up at Jablanica. Nevertheless, his views on training: “My task is to train, and the day will come when I will show how much it paid off.”


• The Children’s Embassy and the air transport company “Air-Commerce” seek out an air corridor for the return of refugee children in Sarajevo, as well as a means of delivering food into the city.
• For the organization “Nasa djeca”, the children of Sarajevo draw pictures for the children of New York, while those of New York do the same for those of Sarajevo.
• The writer Valerijan Zujo works on compiling his lexicon “Sarajevo”.


• Sadako Ogata, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, announces a complete cessation of humanitarian aid until a political agreement is reached to end the war.
• Geneva, September 15, 1993. In Geneva, Alija Izetbegovic and Franjo Tudjman sign a Declaration on terminating hostilities and ending military conflict between the Army of BiH and the HVO.
The resolution
1. Insures an immediate end to all hostilities and military conflict between the ARBiH and the HVO, in accordance with the agreement of July 30, 1993, effective immediately, no later than September 18, 1993;
2. Ensures the mutual unconditional closure of all camps and the release of prisoners in territory under the control of the ARBiH and the HVO, effective immediately, no later than September 21;
3. Ensures both sides create conditions for the free and unimpeded passage of humanitarian convoys and the activities of charity organizations;
4. Establishes working meetings for the supervision and protection of human rights in the territory under the control of the ARBiH and the HVO in accordance with the directives and recommended resolution of the peace conference on BiH;
5. Establishes a working group on the issue of territorial demarcation between the two republics for the planned union of Bosnia and Herzegovina, including the issue of sea access as a common development interest;
6. Establishes a working group for the development and implementation monitoring of the restoration and strengthening of trust and co-existence among the Croat and Muslim peoples, including media and other programs to overcome existing hostility.
Signatories of the Declaration on behalf of the BiH delegation: Alija Izetbegovic, Haris Silajdzic, Ejup Ganic, Muhamed Filipovic, Ivo Komsic; on behalf of the Republic of Croatia: Franjo Tudjman, Hrvoje Sarinic, Zeljko Matic, Miomir Zuzul, Hidajet Biscevic.


• 50 years of the newspaper “Oslobodenje” celebrated. As a sign of support, guests from across the world attend the celebration in Sarajevo.


• Ana Mrdovic, agronomist, gives advice to Sarajevans on maintaining a garden during the fall.


• In Sarajevo a cigarette is worth more than gold. An older “golf” is worth three cartons of cigarettes.


• In a meeting at Sarajevo airport a ceasefire is proclaimed between the HVO and ARBiH.


• Celebration of the Jewish new year.
• Formation of an international firefighters brigade.


• On a U.S. aircraft carrier, the “Invisible”, in the Adriatic Sea, a meeting is held between Alija Izetbegovic, Mate Boban and Radovan Karadzic with Lord Owen. Izetbegovic seeks access to the sea at Neum. The Croats are against it.


• The BH “Pen center" is accepted into the world “Pen center".


• The Presidency of the City Assembly decides: “Thieves of transformer oil will be shot without warning.”


• Lord Owen: “The Bosnian Presidency holds the keys to the peace plan.”


• The Children’s Embassy plans the opening of “Child Land”.


• Tow trucks appear on the streets of Sarajevo, towing away “improperly parked automobiles” to the delight of Sarajevans observing this spectacle. .


• The Office for transport publishes a list for the departures of convoys. Those eligible for work detail are removed from the list.


• NATO is ready to send peacekeeping troops.
• CSB discovers miniature marijuana plantations in apartments in the city.
• The Government issues a decision introducing daylight saving time.


• “Bosnalijek” produces 20 new medicines in small batches.
• “Velepekara” lacks oil even for transport, let alone to operate generators
• Geneva, November 29, 1993. In Geneva peace negotiations being. Participants: Alija Izetbegovic, Franjo Tudjman, Slobodan Milosevic, Mate Boban and Radovan Karadzic.

Telephone lines

Telephone lines are going through satellites since August of 1992. Those expensive phones - each about $ 50,000 - are with foreign correspondents in the Holiday Inn, in the Office of Defense, in the Police Ministry, and in two industrial strongholds. Since December, citizens could try to get on a waiting list at the Post Office. Waiting is about a week long, and payment is in US dollars, 15-20 per minute, three minutes maximum. Some foreign journalists were known for charging ‘their’ communication favors i.e. use of satellite telephone, for double the price. That only shows you how expensive it is to go out into the world. However, it has been observed that lines with that world are working when the Postal tower on the occupied mountain of Trebevic sends a red light. Pay attention in case you have a working telephone and a view of the tower! Telephones are also working while the news from Belgrade is on, and while reporters from Pale, from the TV channel called Serbia in Bosnia, are linking into the Big System. Lines are open during their reports. What you need, again, are a working telephone and quick reflexes.

City communication is reduced to yelling under and in front of large blocks. Where there is no electricity, there can be no bells! Messages are delivered through messengers who carry them from one part of the town to another. Post offices are not selling Bosnian stamps yet. They haven’t been printed. To tell the truth, they aren’t necessary. There are no letters that can be mailed. It is only those scarce taxi-drivers who can establish links between sealed parts of the town. It happens this way: a cab-driver in one zone calls by the car radio his colleague in Grbavica. Then the colleague goes to the address of the person who is being looked for. He tells her to come in the car. While they are driving conversation goes on. The only disadvantage is that everyone in any cab can eavesdrop.

THE POST OFFICE

The Austro-Hungarian building of the Post Office, located on the riverside, was destroyed during the night of May 2, 1992. Terrorists placed the dynamite inside the building and after it blew up it was shelled by inflammable shells until it burnt down. The bags containing the last Sarajevo mail to places outside Sarajevo burnt down. The phone-boxes were destroyed by the shelling. The outcome of the destruction of the central Post Office and the lack of electricity was, according to the Sarajevo Municipal Assembly data from April 1993, that out of more than 150,000 phone lines only 2,000 were operational. Telephone lines between Sarajevo and the rest of the world were not operational during the whole time of the siege. During the siege the communication with the outside world was maintained by amateur radio operators and a few satellite phones. Links with relatives, friends and business partners were established through foreigners who brought in and out the messages, which often grew to book size. In February 1996, an exhibition of sculptures was placed inside the burnt out Post Office building.

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