SIGHTSEEING IN THE MARKET PLACE // 02. 1994.
MUHAMED KRESEVLJAKOVIC // MAYOR OF SARAJEVO
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT

February 1994

Muhamed Kresevljakovic
Mayor of Sarajevo
SIGHTSEEING IN THE MARKET PLACE

‘The tragedy at the Markale open-air market was one of the worst tragedies to hit this city. It was those were tragedies in which scores of people lost their lives in one instant. On February 7th, 1994, Akashi visited Sarajevo, and expressed the wish to visit that site with me. I was on was a very good friend of one of the people he worked with, Mr. Sergio Dimello, a man who has done a great amount for this city. His role should be mentioned in some way. International representatives such as he are hard to find. Perhaps it was Sergio Dimello himself who suggested it to him. We visited the site at around 9 in the morning. At that moment Markale looked very innocent, empty, clean, everything was in storage. However, in town one could still feel the tragedy in the air. Because Sarajevans felt such tragedies with the same pain, sorrow, regardless of whether they had relatives or friends among the dead.’

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FEBRUARY 1994


• Prediction of Croatian President Franjo Tudjman: Bosnia and Herzegovina is possible only as a NATO base.


• Sarajevo visited by the president of the Turkish government, Tansu Ciller, and the president of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto. From Sarajevo, the two presidents send universal messages to the world about civilization, tolerance and coexistence.


• Massacre of civilians at the football field in Dobrinja.
• UPI, the agricultural directorate, provides tips on raising plants in an apartment.


• Massacre at the marketplace "Markale" in downtown Sarajevo. 66 dead, 197 wounded. Reactions across the world: NATO Secretary General William Claes: "Attack!" The U.S.: "First, we need to determine who fired the shell." The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the U.K., Douglas Hurd, "We need to return to negotiations." UN Secretary General, Boutros Boutros-Ghali: "An abhorrent act of violence."


• The Mayor of Sarajevo, Muhamed Kresevljakovic, tours the marketplace - the site of the massacre - with the UN General Michael Rose, Yasushi Akashi, and Jean Cote. Akashi asks for a complete ceasefire.
• BiH authorities demand that the Bosnian Serbs remove their artillery from the surrounding hills. The Bosnian Serbs refuse to withdraw their guns.
• By order of the police (MUP), all the markets in the city are closed.


• Statement of the Croatian government regarding possible sanctions for Croatia due to the entry of the Croatian army in Bosnia and Herzegovina: "If Croatia is hit with sanctions we will expel all of our Bosnian refugees to the countries which support these sanctions."


• The French Foreign Minister Allain Juppé demands decisive action or the withdrawal of troops.
• In Paris, a demonstration for the lifting of the siege of Sarajevo. The philosopher Bernard Henri-Levy organizes the demonstration.
• SDS leader Radovan Karadzic seeks an immediate expert investigation of the shell crater at the "Markale" market and autopsies of the victims: "The fate of all nations, as well as the fate of Europe itself, now depends on it."


• NATO sends an ultimatum to the Bosnian Serbs: Ordnance must withdraw to 20 km from Sarajevo. If not, air strikes will follow. On this occasion, the U.S. president, Bill Clinton, says: "With NATO's decision, the United States has shown it will no longer be only an observer to a conflict that offends the conscience and endangers peace."
• A UN team of experts makes a ballistic analysis: "The direction from which the missile approached was approximately at an angle of 18 degrees between north and east, which corresponds to the wider region of Mrkovici, which was controlled by the Bosnian Serbs."
• The U.S. recognizes Macedonia.


• UN troops are placed along the line of demarcation.


• Stocks fall on European stock exchanges: world capital concerns over the possible eruption of conflict in the former Yugoslavia.


• Negotiations in Geneva fail. Thorvald Stoltenberg: "Will the Serbs withdraw from territories that the Muslims are asking for? We were unable to resolve this issue. In late February or early March we expect to continue negotiations. "
• BH Olympians participate in the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer.


• The Bosnian Serbs halt the handover of heavy weapons, setting new conditions. "Hercules" planes monitor them by night and locate places where the Bosnian Serbs are hiding weapons.
• Croatia lays out requirements for the withdrawal of the Croatian army in Bosnia: They request that the UN insure the security of the Croat enclave in central Bosnia.


• U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin meet: They agree on their respective roles: the U.S. will influence the Muslims and the Russians the Serbs.
• Meeting between Akashi, UN and NATO representatives. They discuss air strikes. UN Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali gives authorization to Akashi to perform the strikes. Officials at embassies are leaving Belgrade because of the danger of attacks.


• February 21st is D-Day for the withdrawal of the Bosnian Serbs′ heavy artillery. The procedure for the strike and the beginning of the strike: Commander of UNPROFOR, General Michael Rose, revokes the strike, while Yasushi Akashi approves the strike. British Prime Minister John Major has the task of convincing the Russian president, Boris Yeltsin that the Brussels ultimatum does not mean that the West is leaning toward the government in Sarajevo, but rather is an effort to end the massacre and terror against civilians.
• In Sarajevo, a new round of humanitarian aid, containing: 1,250 grams of beans, 333 grams of oil, 300 grams of sugar, 1 kilogram of flour.
• Sarajevo doctors complement professional medical nomenclature: dispersio corporis or total disappearance of individuals from the effects of an explosion.


• The commander of the Bosnian Serb army, Ratko Mladic: "We will not withdraw our weapons, we will not leave our people defenseless before fanatical Muslim units." Radovan Karadzic, leader of the SDS, "The Atlantic Alliance wants to show its power to the Russians over the Serbs. This could lead to World War III, and the Serbs have never lost a war.”
• China is against attacks.


• Juan Antonio Samaranch visits the former Olympic city, Sarajevo.


• Vitali Churkin hands a letter to Yeltsin requesting the Serbs withdraw their weapons in order to stop the bloodshed. The Serbs promise to withdraw their weapons.


• Clinton rejects Yeltsin's proposal for holding an international conference on Bosnia. In the future, yes, but not now.


• UN checkpoints where the heavy artillery of the Bosnian Serbs is kept are guarded by 10 UN soldiers. The checkpoints are located in populated areas making air strikes impossible. Even if the international community wanted to perform an intervention over these weapons, they would not be able to do it.


• Manfred Woerner, NATO Secretary General: "We will follow the recommendations of Akashi, Rose and Cote not to carry out a strike, but if they attack Sarajevo we will intervene."
• Russia has a diplomatic breakthrough. A Russian UN battalion arrives in Pale, the capital of the Bosnian Serbs. Radovan Karadzic: "With the Russians beside us, we have nothing to fear."
• Question from journalists for UNPROFOR General Michael Rose: "What will you do one hour after midnight, when the ultimatum expires?" Rose: "I'll be in bed."
• Radovan Karadzic: "We'll shoot back if we‘re attacked."


• In an interview for TV BiH, Alija Izetbegovic states, "They have retreated, and it is our victory, because they are not killing us anymore. You can let your kids go skating freely, they can go to school. "
• Moscow: "This is our diplomatic victory. The ultimatum has not been strictly respected, and a penalty has not been imposed. "
• Re-establishment of the "air bridge."


• In Washington, negotiations start between the Croats and Muslims on the establishment of the federation.


• The UN Security Council discusses the French proposal of lifting the siege of Sarajevo and setting up a civilian administrator.
• Life returns to the city. People walk on the streets, children play.

THE MARKALE MARKET

The covered market built in 1894/95 is often described as resembling a theater rather than a place where meat and vegetables are sold. During the siege its sellers and customers were somewhat more protected than those in the open markets. The three most atrocious massacres of Sarajevo citizens happened either near it or in front of it. In the last one on August 28, 1995 a mortar shell killed 41 people and wounded another 85. This incident was the immediate cause of the NATO air strikes, the signing of the Dayton Agreement and the gradual lifting of the siege.

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