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The nationalist leadership of the Republic of Croatia, headed by Franjo Tudjman, had had aggressive territorial aspirations towards Bosnia and Herzegovina, making an effort to have Croatia occupy at least the territories of Bosnia and Herzegovina which had belonged to the Province of Croatia after the Cvetkovic-Macek Agreement (1939). About the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Franjo Tudjman wrote: “ The Turks had incorporated a major part of Croatia into Bosnia. In addition, historically, Bosnia and Herzegovina is linked to Croatia and they jointly make an indivisible geographical and economic unit. Bosnia and Herzegovina takes the central part of this whole, separating upper Pannonia from lower Pannonia. The creation of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a separate entity places Croatia, both territorially and geographically, into a very difficult situation in economic terms, and therefore in political terms and in a broader sense, very unfavourable for life and development, and unfit and unfavourable in administrative terms. These factors largely explain why the agreement made in 1939 between Belgrade and Zagreb (the Province) envisaged the incorporation of the following Bosnian regions into the Province of Croatia: the whole of Herzegovina, Mostar, and those districts of Bosnia where Croats are the majority ”. [1]

In accordance with his Croatian nationalism, expressed in the anti-Bosnian and anti-Bosniak policy, and in the desire to annex a part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, on March 26, 1991, Franjo Tudjman met Slobodan Milosevic in Karadjordjevo, where they secretly arranged for the “ normalization of the Croato-Serb relations ”, that is, for the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina between Serbia and Croatia, in order to form “Greater Serbia” and “Greater Croatia”. [2] At the time, according to Stipe Mesic, it was agreed that Croatia would get “ the territories of the Province ( Banovina ) and Western Bosnia, Kladusa, and Bihac ”. As claimed by Mesic, at the time, Milosevic said: “ Franjo, please take Cazin, Kladusa, and Bihac on top of that, this is the so- called Turkish Croatia, and Serbia does not need it ”. [3]

The negotiations and arrangements for the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina were continued even after Karadjordjevo, at the level of the two statesmen and their, that is, Croatian and Serb experts. Namely, after the arrangement in Karadjordjevo, Franjo Tudjman and Slobodan Milosevic met again a number of times, among which once in Tikves (Baranja) on April 15, 1991, which resulted in the formation of the Croatian and Serb fifth-columnist organizations and collaborationist creations in the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and in coordinated aggression by Serbia and Montenegro, and the Republic of Croatia against Bosnia and Herzegovina. [4]

After Karadjordjevo, in accordance with this agreement, the Serbo- Croatian teams were formed in order to ensure a more detailed drafting of the policy of division of Bosnia and Herzegovina (“ to coordinate the maps of division of Bosnia and Herzegovina between Serbia and Croatia ”). From the Croatian side, the team included Dr. Dusan Bilandzic, Josip Sentija (he soon resigned), and Zvonko Lerotic, and from the Serb side Academician Dr. Smilja Avramov, Academician Kosta Mihailovic and Vladan Kutlesic. The task of these groups was to “ divide Bosnia, not into three, but into two parts — the Serb and the Croatian ones. The Muslim part was not mentioned ”. [5] In October 1991, while the artillery of the Novi Sad Corps was destroying Vukovar, Zagreb was hosting a delegation of the leadership of Serbia, headed by Dr. Smilja Avramov (special advisor to Slobodan Milosevic), and Belgrade was hosting a delegation from Croatia, headed by Hrvoje Sarinic (chief of cabinet of Franjo Tudjman). [6]

After Karadjordjevo, Franjo Tudjman claimed that Bosnia can very hardly survive and that Croatia shall return to the borders of the Banovina and include Cazin, Kladusa, and Bihac, too. Secret preliminary negotiations were made using maps for conclusion of agreement with Milosevic on the division of Bosnia. The interview given by Dusan Bilandzic to Nacional on October 25, 1996, confirms that during the Karadjordjevo negotiations, Franjo Tudjman and Slobodan Milosevic agreed to “ have two commissions meet to discuss the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina: ‘Tudjman at the time told us that he had agreed with Milosevic in principle, and that we have to specifically develop this on the maps...’ “. [7] It is on this basis that the agreement for the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina was confirmed by the Serb and Croatian collaborationist leaders, Radovan Karadzic and Mate Boban respectively, in Graz, on May 5, 1992. [8]

On the eve of 1992, during the discussion with Croatian media reporters, Franjo Tudjman openly presented his position on the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Namely, speaking about the options for the establishment of peace (the agreed truce was signed in Sarajevo, on January 2, 1992) between Croats and Serbs, Tudjman stated that this “ can be accomplished so that the national goals of Serbia be realized and that it no longer has the reason for expansion, while at the same time Croatia would also receive its regions, because the current Croatian pretzel is not natural... It is in the Croatian interest to have this problem resolved in a natural way, like the Province was arranged. At this, a part of the ‘land of Bosnia’ could still remain where the Muslims would have the majority, and this state of Bosnia could be a buffer between Croatia and Serbia. This would at the same time also end the existence of the colonial creation of Bosnia and Herzegovina ”. [9]

The execution of the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina after the actual aggression against the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina was more specifically assigned to Radovan Karadzic and Mate Boban. Pursuant to the negotiations and arrangements made between Milosevic and Tudjman about the division and destruction of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in late April 1992, they secretly met in Gratz. At this meeting (Karadzic- Boban Agreement) between the Serb and Croatian collaborationist leaders, held on May 6, the commitment was reached “ to have all the disputed issues, including setting of the border between the two constitutive units — Croatian and Serb — in Bosnia and Herzegovina resolved amicably and by agreement ”. [10]

“ The representatives of the Croat and Serb ethnic communities ” reached a common agreement “ to ensure compact space and communications in the setting of borders between the two constitutive units in the area of Kupres, as well as in the Bosnian Posavina (Derventa, Bosanski Brod, Bosanski Samac, Odzak, Orasje, Modrica, and Brcko) ”. [11] However, “ in relation to the working map on the division ”, there were disagreements identified, such as the borders in and south of Mostar. [12]

Both sides agreed that, based on their decisive effort on the principles adopted at the European Community Conference on Bosnia and Herzegovina, in terms of disputable and other areas, they would honour “ the agreed criteria for definition of ethnic territories, with the arbitration of the European Community ”. In relation to this, it was agreed that the arbitration division should be done in the agreed time frame by May 15, 1992. [13] Therefore, pursuant to the arrangements made, an agreement was reached for cessation of the reasons “ for armed conflicts between the Croats and Serbs on the whole territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina ”, and they announced “ the general and permanent truce under control of the European Community, coming into effect on May 6, 1992, at 24:00 hours ”. [14]

After the Karadzic-Boban agreement and the concretization of the territorial separation, that is, the Serbo-Croatian division of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in which the Serb collaborationists received the corridor through Northern Bosnia and significant part of Bosnian Posavina, which was immediately afterwards bartered for Kupres, [15] the basis was formed for coordinated actions by the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) and the Republic of Croatia, and their collaborationists, on the occupation and destruction of Bosnia and Herzegovina, at which the Tudjman regime was reduced down to an associate relation towards the basic Greater Serbia aggressor. [16]

In the late 20 th century, in accordance with his deep hatred against the Muslims, and his position that he should “ unify all the Croats into one state, under one flag — under his leadership ”, [17] Franjo Tudjman particularly brought up current his fascist policy about division of Bosnia and Herzegovina with Serbia, after coming into power in 1990. The aspirations of Franjo Tudjman for the joining of the “Croatian” territories of Bosnia and Herzegovina were continued into the time of the aggression against the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Thus, for instance, on May 6, 1995, at a dinner, where he was sitting next to Paddy Ashdown, President of the Liberal Democratic Party of Great Britain, Tudjman clearly confirmed that the Republic of Croatia has territorial aspirations towards Bosnia. Namely, after he had roughly sketched how Bosnia would look in ten years on the back of the menu, Franjo Tudjman explained to Ashdown that it would not exist, that is, it would be divided between Serbia and Croatia (one part of Bosnia will belong to Croatia, and the other one to Serbia). In addition, he said “ that then there will no longer be any Muslim territory if former Yugoslavia and that it will be just a minor element... of the Croatian state ”. [18]

 


References:

1. ICTY, case no. IT-95-14-T, paragraph 103; I. Radakovic, BESMISLENA YU RATOVANJA, Belgrade, 1997, p. 120.
2. BIH I BOSNJACI, 116-119; C. Ribicic, GENEZA JEDNE ZABLUDE, Ustavnopravna analiza formiranja i djelovanja Hrvatske zajednice Herceg-Bosna, Zagreb-Sarajevo-Idrija, 2000, pp. 23, 97, and 98, note 174; I. Radakovic, the aforementioned work, pp. 120-123; L. Silber — A. Little, SMRT JUGOSLAVIJE, Belgrade, 1996, pp. 147-148. For more details on this, see: M. Minic, the aforementioned work, pp. 21-104; H. Sarinic, SVI MOJI TAJNI PREGOVORI SA SLOBODANOM MILOSEVICEM, Zagreb, 1999, pp.41-41. Both Tudjman and Milosevic had admitted about the arrangement in Karadjordjevo for division of Bosnia and Herzegovina to Ante Markovic, President of the Federal Executive Council of SFRY, as he testified before the Hague Tribunal in January 2004.
3. Ibid. Franjo Tudjman considered the west Bosnia to be an integral part of the Republic of Croatia. He even corroborated such a position at the meeting with his closest associates at the Presidential Court on October 22, 1993. Then, among other things, he stated that the Republic of Croatia had made arrangement with Fikret Abdic to, “ if a division comes around, that is, when the division comes around, that this western Bosnia should be an integral part of Croatia... ” ( ARHIV INSTITUTA ZA ISTRAZIVANJE ZLOCINA PROTIV COVJECNOSTI I MEDJUNARODNOG PRAVA U SARAJEVU - hereinafter referred to as: AIIZ, inv. No. 2-2474, Shorthand Transcript of the meeting between Franjo Tudjman, Janko Bobetko, Imre Agotic, Josip Lucic, and Gojko Susak, at the Presidential Court on October 22, 1993, Dani, October 25, 2002, p. 23).
4. Ibid.
5. BIH I BOSNJACI,
116-117; S. Omeragic, the aforementioned work, p. 13; M. Minic, the aforementioned work, pp. 33-39.
6. S. Omeragic, the aforementioned work, pp. 13-15.
7. BIH I BOSNJACI, 116-117; ICTY, case no. IT-95-14-T, paragraph 105; M. Minic, the aforementioned work, pp. 33-35.
8. ICTY, case no. IT-95-14-T, paragraph 105; M. Minic, the aforementioned work, pp. 33-35; I. Radakovic, the aforementioned work, p. 123.
9. Slobodna Bosna, January 23, 1992, p. 8. In this meeting Franjo Tudjman, in a very relaxed atmosphere, spoke about the annexing of Cazinska Krajina and the West Herzegovina areas to the Republic of Croatia, claiming that “ the population of these areas has a high interest in such a thing ”. At that point, in a good mood, Franjo Tudjman switched from one to another reporter group, making jokes, saying that in this way “ he is rounding up his own state similar to a pretzel into a Bosnian somun round bread cake ” (Ibid.).
10. Z. Tomac, TKO JE UBIO BOSNU?, Part II, Zagreb 1994, pp. 35-36; ICTY, case no. IT-95-14-T, paragraph 105; K. Begic, the aforementioned work, pp. 69, and 93, note 12; L. Silber — A. Little, the aforementioned work, p. 338; M. Bojic, the aforementioned work, p. 381. Commenting on this meeting, on May 11, 1992, Washington Post reminded of the pact between Hitler and Stalin just before WWII on the division of Poland, stating that Tudjman and Milosevic representatives attended this meeting. At this, the Washington Post qualified the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Republic of Croatia as “ predatory states ” (K. Begic, the aforementioned work, p. 93, note 12). Ribicic claims that the formation of the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia, in particular the agreement for division of territory between Boban and Karadzic, “ contributed to eruption of war between the Croats and the Muslims, the more so because it was associated with the broadly present opinion that in Karadjordjevo, Milosevic and Dr. Tudjman had talked about the option for division of Bosnia and Herzegovina without and on the account of the Muslims ” (C. Ribicic, the aforementioned work, pp. 47, and 97-98). Such a conclusion was contrary to all the documents of the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia and of the Croatian Democratic Union for Bosnia and Herzegovina as analyzed by Ribicic. If the formation of the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia and the agreement in Gradac between the Greater Croatia and Greater Serbia collaborationists on the division of Bosnia and Herzegovina were “ without and on the account of the Muslims ”, then there can be no mention at all about a war that the Bosniaks “ have contributed to ”. The case involves aggression plans and prepared crimes against Bosnia, particularly the Bosniaks, because, of their national, ethnic and religious affiliation. The Serbo-Croatian contacts in relation to the war in Croatia and the division of Bosnia were conducted, according to Stipe Mesic “ at two levels. On one level were the contacts between Milosevic and Tudjman, and the second-level contacts were between the representatives of the RS and HZ H-B, Karadzic and Boban, who met in Gratz. Boban returned and said that there were no longer any non-clarified issues between the Bosnian Croats and the Bosnian Serbs ” (M. Minic, the aforementioned work, p. 88). Immediately after the meeting in Graz, in Zagreb (at the Presidential Courts), Mesic met Franjo Boras, an official of the Croatian Community of Herzeg-Bosnia , and with Nikola Koljevic. They were having a joint meal with Tudjman. When Mesic saw Boras and Koljevic, they told him that “ these are unofficial meetings with Tudjman, because the issue of Bosnia has already been resolved. I was not invited to an official meeting, just for a meal ” (Ibid.).
11. Z. Tomac, the aforementioned work, pp. 36-37. At this meeting, Karadzic clearly made it known to Boban what the significance was of the corridor through Northern Bosnia for the Serbs, the one in Posavina, along the Sava river valley, constantly stating “ that not a single solution is acceptable without a wide corridor in Posavina ”. In relation to this, he believed that “ the best border is the one naturally formed by the Sava river ” (L. Silber — A. Little, the aforementioned work, p. 338). “ Croats have asked for Brcko — which, by the 1991 census, was Muslim, Serb, and Croat. ‘The Serbs have rejected this, because it is them who have built it and it is fully Serb’, stated Karadzic. ” (Ibid.).
12. Ibid. Namely, “in relation to the working map on division, disagreements exist in the following areas: 1. In the city of Mostar, the Serb side believes that the border is the Neretva river, and the Croatian side believe that the whole city of Mostar is within the Croatian ethnic unit. 2. South of Mostar, the Croatian side believes that the Croatian ethnic unit includes the area defined in 1939, that is, the border of the Province ( Banovina ) of Croatia. The Serb side believes that the border between the Croatian and the Serb unit is the border of the Neretva river ”. (Ibid.). According to the writing of L. Silber and A. Little, “ in this war, in terms of river control, Karadzic proposed that the Neretva river, running through Herzegovina, be the border. However, Boban proposed that this be the main street of Mostar — Marsala Tita Street. They committed that they would take into account the ethnic composition of the territories and agreed to accept EC arbitration unless they are able to resolve it themselves — in terms of the western region around Kupres, and the seven cities in the north, in Posavina ” (L. Silber — A. Little, the aforementioned work, p. 338).
13. Ibid. This agreement terminated the existence of reasons for cessation of the European Community Conference on Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Karadzic and Boban sought urgent continuation of the Conference.
14. Ibid. Z. Tomac claims that the Boban-Karadzic agreement reached in Gratz in late April 1992 “ was a big strategic mistake ”, which, according to him, contributed to generation of mistrust among the Bosniaks towards Croats and termination of their alliance, and that it involves the war “ between the Bosniak Muslims and Croats...” (“a bloody and useless war between the Muslims and Croats, in which a significant portion of the guilt is also to be attributed to the Bosniak Muslims and particularly to the world politics ”). The aforementioned evaluations and conclusions by Z. Tomac, who has aspirations to answer the numerous questions about, as he says “ who has killed Bosnia ”, are mildly put unserious and cannot be corroborated by original documents, including the Boban-Karadzic agreement, which he speaks about and which he has published. The very analysis of this agreement, without mentioning any other facts, indicates to some contrary conclusions from the ones reached by Z. Tomac.
15. Ibid., pp. 36 and 37, and 69-70; M. Spegelj, SJECANJA VOJNIKA , Zagreb 2001, pp. 335-336. The Karadzic-Boban agreement, officially reported by the HINA Agency on May 7, including the topics discussed, has been also commented by Martin Spegelj, in particular its point 3 (“ Both parties agree to ensure compact space and communications in the setting of borders between the two constitutive units in the area of Kupres, as well as in the Bosnian Posavina (Derventa, Bosanski Brod, Bosanski Samac, Odzak, Orasje, Modrica, and Brcko”) (Ibid.). In relation to this, he correctly concludes that “ the compact space and communications ” are an existentially important problem when viewed from the Serb aspect, “ because without the Posavina corridor, there is no spatial (territorial) link of Serbia with the insurgent areas in Bosnian Krajina, populated by a Serb majority, and the Serb para-state in Croatia. And without this communication, the Serbs west of the Derventa-Bosanski Brod line remain cut off and isolated from the mother country, de fact in a Croato-Bosniak surrounding, incapable of sustaining themselves either militarily or economically for any longer-term period ”. In the light of that, Spegelj continues, “ the mention of Kupres can be understood as well, which had already been in the Serb arms at the time, having fully broken up the disorganized and unequipped defence in the combats of April 7-10, and which had obviously been offered by them as a replacement for Posavina. The whole formulation about the appreciation of the compact space and communications is therefore reduced to a pure barter of Posavina for Kupres ” (M. Spegelj, the aforementioned work, pp. 335-336.
16. As claimed by Mesic, at the time when “ war broke out in Bosnia and Herzegovina ”, Tudjman used to say: “ We do not have any single unresolved issue with the Serbs any more. There are only some marginal issues left. In principle, we have set the borders between ourselves and the Serbs ”. According to Mesic, this was also frequently repeated by Mate Boban, who, just like Tudjman, used to say: “ We no longer have any unresolved issues with the Serbs. The Serbs were temporary enemies to us, and the Balijas [ this is what he called the Muslims — note by S. M. ] are the permanent ones ” ( Dani, June 1, 2001, pp. 42-43). After the occupation of one third of their state territory, the leadership of the Republic of Croatia, primarily President Tudjman, (by way of permanent truce, as of January 2, 1992), froze any activity against the Greater Serbia aggressor and its collaborationists in Kninska Krajina ( “one third of the territory of Croatia was left occupied for four years...” ), and , in cooperation with the aggressor against their own state, they waged, jointly with the Greater Serbia aggressor and its collaborationists, the aggressive war against the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in order to conquer territory in a neighbouring state (M. Spegelj, the aforementioned work, pp. 359-360).
17. R. Holbrooke, TO END A WAR, Sarajevo, 1998, pp. 165-166. According to Holbrooke, Franjo Tudjman expressed “ deep hatred against the Muslims ” (Ibid.).
18. ICTY, Case: No. IT-95-14-T, paragraph 106; M. Minic, the aforementioned work, pp. 44-45. Franjo Tudjman was convinced that ultimately the Serbs would swap Banja Luka for Tuzla.

Tags: Karađorđevo meeting, Karađorđevo negotiations, Graz meeting, Graz negotiation

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