WILLIAM EAGLETON, A SPECIAL UN COORDINATOR FOR SARAJEVO// 03. 1994. • MUHAMED ZLATAR// CITY ASSEMBLY
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT
WILLIAM EAGLETON, A SPECIAL UN COORDINATOR FOR SARAJEVO
‘At that time nobody stopped to think about whether something like that was possible or not. Everybody thought that it was quite possible. Quite realistic. Especially in those circumstances when Sarajevo was completely rounded up. And nobody stopped to think about whether something like that was feasible. Everybody excepted it with great elan. Everybody from the city government, but I am not sure whether Eagleton and his people were aware of the situation. I know that we thought that it would be possible to realize the plan to re-establish the vital functions of the city. This was unrealistic, though. Therefore, only a part of it was realized in the end.’
• NATO operation following the violation of the prohibition of the no-fly zone in the airspace of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Four JNA planes are shot down.
• Washington: The Muslims and Croats sign an agreement on the Federation BiH.
• The Bosnian Serbs block the departure of a UN Canadian convoy from Srebrenica for 30 hours.
• After signing the agreement on the Federation of BiH, the Chiefs of Staff of the ARBiH and HVO will hold a meeting as soon as possible, in which they will, with teams of experts, draw up plans for the dynamic transition of ARBiH and HVO into a common, then later single, armed component of the future Federation of BiH.
• General Laprell succeeds Gen. Cote.
• Four travel routes to and from Sarajevo are opened.
• Fluctuations in the local markets caused by the announcement that roads are opening. Prices at the markets have dropped.
• Washington, March 18, 1994. Peace agreement signed on the creation of the Muslim-Croatian Federation in BiH and the basis for the confederation of the Federation BiH with Croatia. The agreement is signed by: Haris Silajdzic, Kresimir Zubak, Alija Izetbegovic, Franjo Tudjman and Bill Clinton.
• A football match is held at "Kosevo” stadium as a symbolic sign that Sarajevo is no longer a dangerous city. Entrance is free. The game is attended by 15,000 people. The game is played between Sarajevo and UNPROFOR. The result is 4-0 for Sarajevo.
• Tuzla airport is opened. The first passenger is Yasushi Akashi.
• A kilo of coffee on March 7th is 120 DM; on March 21st, 40 DM. Still at the markets goods can be bought for cigarettes and other bartered goods.
• A Swiss clown visits Sarajevo.
• Debate over where the center of Sarajevo is caused by the withdrawal of artillery. The Bosnian Serbs claim that the center is near the Cathedral, whereas NATO experts claim that the city center is 1 km west of the Cathedral. The Serbs need to withdraw their weapons 20 km from the city.
• For the first time since the siege began, Sarajevans can cross from one bank to another. The first bus from the city arrives in Hrasnica, a suburb of Sarajevo, accompanied by UNPROFOR.
• A Turkish UN battalion is coming to Bosnia. Turkish soldiers return to Bosnia after 116 years.
• Due to the developments in Sarajevo, Yasushi Akashi says: "I see light at the end of the tunnel."
• The Jewish holiday of Passover is celebrated.
• In a show of solidarity with the citizens of Sarajevo the world's Olympic greats arrive in Sarajevo.
• Madeleine Albright in Sarajevo: "The future of America and your future are inseparable. This ceremony must show that to everyone.”
• The constitution of the Federation BiH is adopted.
• William Eagleton appointed as the civilian administrator of the UN in Sarajevo. He will devise a plan for the restoration of basic public services.
UNPROFOR, or for those who don’t know them: United Nations Protection Forces, were awaited as saviors when they first arrived in Bosnia and Herzegovina with their white vehicles and blue berets. As time went on, they proved to be powerless. Now they are helping in repairs of the infrastructure, in cleaning the city. They are also establishing bureaucratic rules of their own. In some instances proven to be good merchants, they are driving around in trucks, jeeps transporters. Children are climbing onto their vehicles, and soldiers are throwing them sweets. They transport wounded, bring humanitarian aid, drive from and to the airport. In short, nothing is done without them. UNPROFOR Headquarters is in the building of Communication Engineering at Alipasino polje. Soldiers are in the barracks which were formerly inhabited by the soldiers of the Yugoslav Peoples Army. The main Headquarters of the UNPROFOR’s commander is in a private villa. All these successions seem to be very natural.
THE UNPROFOR (the United Nations Protection Forces)
The role of the UNPROFOR was manifold. They served as hostages to the aggressor, they cleared the garbage, they rode in trams as a protection against snipers, they gave out sweets, brought flour, destroyed the surface of Sarajevo streets with their tanks and transporters, representing the only city transportation throughout a long period, they repaired electrical transmission lines, they controlled the airport... The most important form of the protection of citizens was driving the transporters next to them shielding them from the sniper fire while they were crossing the Tito street. For a long time they were the most significant part of the city’s commercial life because they were trading the goods available to them.