Letter: Serbs' right to self-determination in a land of artificial borders

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The Independent Online
Sir: In your leading article "Supping with the devil over Bosnia" (5 June), regarding problems over Bosnia, you pay great attention to the possible role of Slobodan Milosevic in resolving the quandary of former Yugoslavia. However, the real point, which you touched on briefly in your last paragraph, is the crucial one (irrespective of Mr Milosevic) - the situation of Serbs in Bosnia and Croatia.

As far as Bosnia is concerned, everybody there is a minority - Muslims, Serbs and Croats. The Serbs expressed their collective views in the referendum in 1992: that they wanted the right of self-determination applied to themselves, in the sense that they did not want to be part of a Muslim-dominated Bosnia. The Serbs in Croatia wanted the same right of self-determination and made it clear that they did not relish being second-class citizens of Tudjman's Croatia.

If the Slovenes, Croats, Muslims and Macedonians have this right acknowledged, why shouldn't the Serbs have it, too?

There is a solid Serb block of more than 2,000,000 people in adjacent areas of Croatia and Bosnia and, if they wish to form their own state (which would be larger than Macedonia), who is to prevent them from creating it? If the state of Yugoslavia, which encompassed all the South Slavs for more than 70 years, was allowed to disintegrate, why must the artificial borders of Croatia and Bosnia be considered sacrosanct?

If Yugoslavia was condemned as artificial and unworkable, mini-Yugoslavias will not fare better. Let the people decide where and how they wish to live. That would resolve a lot of problems in the Balkans.

Yours faithfully,



Serbian Information Centre

London, W11

5 June