Home > 1997-1999 from the Balkans, Kosovo, Serbia, Yougoslavia > DINMORE Q&A BY GUY DINMORE

DINMORE Q&A BY GUY DINMORE

April 11, 1999

Voice of America, April 11 1999

INTRO: V-O-A NEWS NOW REPORTER VICTOR BEATTIE HAS SPOKEN, BY PHONE, TO “FINANCIAL TIMES” REPORTER GUY DINSMORE ABOUT THE LATEST HAPPENINGS IN THE YUGOSLAV CAPITAL. Q: WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNED ABOUT THE LATEST WAVE OF NATO ATTACKS?

A. AS FAR AS I KNOW, BELGRADE HAS HAD A FAIRLY QUIET NIGHT. WE HAVEN’T HEARD ANY BOMB IMPACTS IN OUR PART OF THE CITY. IT’S THE ORTHODOX EASTER SUNDAY. IT’S THE HOLIEST DAY IN THE RELIGIOUS CALENDAR. HOWEVER, STATE MEDIA WAS REPORTING SOME STRIKES ON CENTRAL SERBIA. AND, THERE WERE SOME IN THE NORTH. IT’S POSSIBLE BELGRADE WAS SPARED BECAUSE THE WEATHER FOR THE PAST FEW DAYS HAS BEEN QUITE CLOUDY AND RAINY.

Q. ACCORDING TO THE WIRES, THERE HAVE BEEN A NUMBER OF ATTACKS IN KOSOVO. DO YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THAT?

A. UNFORTUNATELY, THE NEWS WE GET HERE IN BELGRADE ABOUT KOSOVO IS QUITE FILTERED. THE STATE MEDIA DOESN’T REPORT NATO ATTACKS ON INSTALLATIONS. NORMALLY, THEY STRESS ATTACKS ON CIVILIAN TARGETS. IT’S VERY DIFFICULT FOR US TO GET A CLEAR IDEA OF WHAT’S HAPPENING DOWN THERE. WE’RE NOT ALLOWED DOWN THERE UNLESS WE’RE ESCORTED.

Q. PEOPLE ARE GOING TO CHURCH. IT’S ORTHODOX EASTER.

A. THAT’S RIGHT. A LOT OF PEOPLE WENT TO MIDNIGHT COMMUNION LAST NIGHT. THE PATRIARCH OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCH CELEBRATED MASS IN THE CATHEDRAL IN THE CENTER OF BELGRADE. THE ARMY — INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH — ISSUED A STATEMENT CALLING FOR THE ORTHODOX CHURCH TO UNITE AND HELP THE COUNTRY IN THE DEFENSE (AGAINST) WHAT THEY CALL NATO AGGRESSION. SO, THE CHURCH IS BEING CALLED UPON BY THE ARMY TO GET POLITICALLY INVOLVED IN THIS CONFLICT.

Q. THERE WAS A REPORT BY THE YUGOSLAV ARMY — WHICH HAS NOT BEEN CONFIRMED BY NATO — THAT AN F-117 U-S STEALTH WAS SHOT DOWN LATE FRIDAY AND THE PILOT CAPTURED. HAVE YOU HEARD ANYTHING ABOUT THAT.

A. WE HAVE HEARD THOSE REPORTS. STRANGELY, WE HAVE FRIENDS TO THE NORTH OF BELGRADE WHO HAVE BEEN CALLING US FOR THE LAST DAY OR SO INSISTING THAT, INDEED, AN AMERICAN PLANE WAS SHOT DOWN. MILITARY JOURNALISTS HERE CLAIM TO HAVE BEEN WITH AN AIR DEFENSE BATTERY THAT SHOT DOWN THIS PLANE. BUT, AS FAR AS I KNOW, NO WRECKAGE HAS BEEN PRODUCED. AND, NO PILOT HAS BEEN SHOWN — DEAD OR ALIVE. UNTIL THE AUTHORITIES COME UP WITH EVIDENCE, WE ARE SKEPTICAL. I MUST SAY THERE ARE RUMORS GOING AROUND THAT YUGOSLAVIA HAS SHOT DOWN SEVERAL NATO PLANES AND THAT THEY (THE YUGOSLAV GOVERNMENT) ARE SAVING IT UP FOR A WHILE, UNTIL THEY CAN PUT A WHOLE ROW OF PRISONERS ON TELEVISION. I SUSPECT THIS IS JUST SUBTLE PROPAGANDA THAT’S GOING AROUND HERE.

Q. HAS THERE BEEN ANYTHING NEW ABOUT THOSE THREE AMERICAN SERVICEMEN WHO WERE TAKEN NEAR THE MACEDONIAN BORDER?

A. AS FAR AS I KNOW, THEY’VE NOT BEEN MENTIONED, AT ALL, ON THE STATE MEDIA. WE BELIEVE THEY ARE BEING HELD SOMEWHERE IN BELGRADE. WE’RE NOT EXACTLY SURE WHERE. FOR NOW, IT APPEARS THAT THEY REMAIN PRISONERS OF WAR. WHETHER A TRIAL IS GOING AHEAD, AS HAD BEEN REPORTED EARLIER, I’M NOT CERTAIN. THEY’VE JUST DISAPPEARED OFF THE NEWS RADAR SCREEN HERE.

Q. ON THE POLITICAL FRONT, THE DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER OF YUGOSLAVIA SAID, IN AN INTERVIEW PUBLISHED TODAY IN FRANCE, THAT BELGRADE WANTED A “POLITICAL ACCORD” FOR KOSOVO AND WOULD ACCEPT A “FOREIGN PRESENCE” TO GUARANTEE THE DEAL. DO YOU SEE THIS AS AN ESSENTIAL CHANGE IN YUGOSLAV POLICY TOWARD KOSOVO?

A. NOT REALLY, BECAUSE — EVEN DURING THE TWO ROUNDS OF PEACE TALKS IN FRANCE — THE SERBIAN LINE WAS “YES, WE CAN TALK ABOUT THE SCOPE AND CHARACTER OF AN INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE.” BUT, THEY ARE MAKING IT FAIRLY CLEAR THIS WILL NOT BE A NATO-LED PEACEKEEPING FORCE, AS THE WEST WANTS. I DON’T THINK IT REALLY REPRESENTS A SIGNIFICANT STEP FORWARD. ENDIT
NEB / WD-T / WD
11-Apr-99 4:58 AM EDT (0858 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America

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