|The unholy Alliance|
Bozidar Vucurevic interviewed by Nacional (Zagreb),
22 October 1997
Bozidar Vucurevic, a staunch supporter of Radovan Karadzic, is the mayor of Trebinje and one of the key SDS politicians in the eastern part of Republika Srpska. He was elected to his post at the end of 1990, soon after the first post-Communist elections in Bosnia-Herzegovina. He was also elected to the national assembly of B-H and at one time was also president of the 'Serb Autonomous Region of Eastern Herzegovina'. The conversation began with Vucurevic stating that: 'Mate Boban was a great Croat, a patriot, a great man and politician, a man who never broke his word. Croatia and Croatian Herzegovina have lost a great deal with his death.' The following are extracts from the interview.
'Mate Boban and I met in 1992, at the high point of the conflict between Croats and Serbs. Our first contact was made through certain channels of which I do not wish to speak for the moment. Both of us understood that our war was leading nowhere. Croats and Serbs are Christian peoples and original inhabitants of the country þ our killing and expelling one another was leading nowhere. We both believed that there was enough space in this region for both peoples, and that only an unfortunate configuration of circumstances had brought us to war against each other. At our first meeting we discussed the final resolution of the war between Croats and Serbs in Herzegovina. At our first meeting we discussed only local matters. I did not have any mandate to talk of the whole of Bosnia-Herzegovina: this was the first important contact and a prelude to a link-up at a higher level. I believe that Boban did not have Zagreb's permission either at that time for any kind of concrete discussions. What we discussed quite concretely was the partition of Herzegovina. I proposed an end to the war and an agreement on how to establish a Serb-Croat border in our area. When Boban asked me where the border should run, I proposed the most natural one þ the River Neretva. The Croats would get the right bank and the Serbs the left one. Boban asked me what about the Muslims. I answered that the place for this semi-people was in between þ in the Neretva. We both laughed at my reply, drank coffee and agreed to continue negotiations about concrete questions for the benefit of our peoples.'
Asked by the journalists whether the Boban-Karadzic meeting at the airport in Graz, which followed the Boban-Vucurevic meeting in Grude, also involved discussion of a Serb-Croat partition of Bosnia, Vucurevic answered:
'There were many other meetings far more important than the one in Graz. Graz was conceived as a way of testing the situation. The Croatian side had proposed that the two delegations met on Brioni, since in that way the meeting could be kept secret from the public. That was unacceptable to the SDS leadership, however, since the place was too associated with Tito. Graz was chosen instead, as a place where the meeting could also held clandestinely. As for the more important meetings, these took place between Croat and Serb delegations from the former Bosnia-Herzegovina at a police resort in Herzeg-Novi. Mate Boban, Jadranko Prlic and Ante Rose attended for the Croat side, Radovan Karadzic, Momcilo Krajisnik, Nikola Koljevic and generals Mladic, Gvero and Milanovic attended from the Serb side. We discussed important political and military questions, including the Army of Republika Srpska's aid to the Croat side in their war against the Muslims. Some of this was put into effect in the areas of Zepca, Mostar and Brcko. The key meeting in Herzeg-Novi lasted more than nine hours, with the politicians and the soldiers first talking together and then separately. After that, however, everything went wrong because of the intervention of the international community. They forced the Croats into an unnatural association with the Muslims, in some kind of federation that cannot be realised. Mate Boban told me openly that they wished to join western Herzegovina to Croatia, and I gave him full support.'