THE AIRPORT ROAD IS OPEN// 02. 1995. • HASAN MURATOVIC// PRESIDENT FOR THE BH-UN RELATIONS
ORAL HISTORY - INTERVIEW
ORAL HISTORY - TRANSCRIPT
President for the BH-UN relations
THE AIRPORT ROAD IS OPEN
‘On February 6, 1995 the road was reopened for the third time. As a result of a major pressure by international community on the Serbs during the meetings at the Airport, as all that was part of the agreement implementation signed on December 31, 1994. That agreement was extremely important to the UN as it was for the Serbs, as they could maintain the current situation in a case-fire state that did not promise anything except that they will continue to do what they have started. As there would commence the liberation of the territory or any pressure on them to change their opinion or their conducts.’
• The Bosnian Serbs remember that 50 % of the goods should belong to them if they sign an authorization to open the path across the airport.
• “Sarajevogas” issues a brochure on the use of gas to educate citizens, “Use gas carefully,” in 30,000 copies.
• The government of Yugoslavia issues a statement on its wish to close the “Josip Broz Tito” memorial center.
• The tomb of Alexander the Great is found, near the oasis of Siva, 750 km west of Cairo.
• The English and Spanish monarch have honorary mounted guards - , Croatian president Franjo Tudjman now has one as well.
• France and the U.S. seek to organize an international conference on the former Yugoslavia. This is only one among a number of plans the U.S considers.
• Designer Josip Nosse fashions a device providing security for high and low pressure home gas installations.
• In Russia negotiations are held on the delivery of gas to Bosnia.
• Combat episode involving two UN observers: A Nigerian kills a Finn, because he is mentally deranged.
• Black market in Sarajevo: Dealers will not accept dollars, but give them back as change in sales and sell them. The value of the Swiss frank falls.
• The road across the Sarajevo airport is open from 10am-12pm and from 3-5pm.
• An American space shuttle approaches within 12 km of the Russian space station “Mir”.
• The “blue routes” are a surrogate for freedom. The “city train” operates, providing free transportation.
• Momcilo Krajisnik, one of the leading figures of the SDS, says of the terror in Sarajevo:
“… The war must end in Sarajevo, just as it began there.”
• After the rejection of the peace plan in Pale, the international community deals directly with Slobodan Milosevic, the president of Serbia.
• Shells and snipers batter the city.
• Arrest of Svetlana Boskovic, a UNHCR staffer, who had passed on to Bosnian Serbs information on the names of passengers in UN vehicles on their way to the airport.
• The UNHCR recommends that drivers, Bosnians, not drive trucks of humanitarian aid from the airport into the city as a result of which a crisis involving overfilled warehouses ensues.
• NATO will practice its eventual military support of UN troops before their withdrawal from Bosnia through “computer maneuvers” from the 13th to the 21st of February behind closed doors at Ramstein base.
• The Contact Group is informed by the Bosnian Serb Assembly that they have rejected their plan with a vote of 44 to 6.
• The road in Hrasnica is filled with smugglers and regular citizens who shop in Hrasnica.
• UN report: The ARBiH protects the border of the Bihac safe area.
• Snipers fire at the tram
• The international community in dealing with Slobodan Milosevic makes the recognition of BiH and Croatia a condition for the lifting of sanctions.
• “Type A” flu arrives from China.
• UN report: 5,700 people a day cross the road across Sarajevo airport.
• Announcement of vendors at the Sarajevo market: “Your frying pans no longer have to wait for fish to arrive.”
• Slobodan Milosevic: “The time has not yet come to recognize Zagreb and Sarajevo.”
• Diplomatic relations established between Sarajevo-Moscow.
• Spectacular wedding in Belgrade of Zeljko Raznjatovic, Arkan, a war criminal from Serbia whose paramilitaries killed and plundered on the battlefields of Croatia and BiH, and popular folk singer Ceca. The wedding turns into a world media spectacle..
• The transportation company “Gras” lacks the funds to pay off its debt to Elektrodistribucija. They find that now is not a good time to charge for tickets, and hence have no revenue.
• The Serbs close the road to Visoko after the UN refuses to give them 20 liters of fuel per day.
• Moscow accuses George Soros, financier and philanthropist, of being a CIA agent because his work provides long-term stipends to Russian scholars who later emigrate permanently.
• U.S. Ambassador Viktor Jakovich, on “Krug 99”: “BiH is defending the principles of western civilization.”
• Five passengers wounded on the tram.
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.