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

Q & A WITH GUY DINMORE BY LES CARPENTER

April 23, 1999

Voice of America, April 23 1999

INTRO: THE FOLLOWING IS THE TRANSCRIPT OF THE INTERVIEW LES CARPENTER OF VOA’S NEWS NOW CONDUCTED WITH JOURNALIST GUY DINMORE IN BELGRADE.

TEXT: L-C: NATO WAR PLANES HAVE STRUCK AGAIN IN BELGRADE, AND WE UNDERSTAND THEY HIT THE TV STATION, THE GOVERNMENT TV STATION?

G-D: THAT’S RIGHT. RADIO-TELEVISION PROGRAM R-T-S. IT WAS HIT ABOUT 2:00 THIS MORNING. THE BUILDING WAS VERY BADLY DAMAGED; PART OF IT COLLAPSED COMPLETELY. CONCRETE FLOORS PANCAKING ON TO EACH OTHER. SOME OF THE BUILDING ALSO CAUGHT FIRE. OFFICIALS ARE SAYING POSSIBLY FIFTEEN PEOPLE WERE KILLED. THERE’S NORMALLY A SHIFT OF ABOUT TWENTY PEOPLE THERE OVERNIGHT. OF COURSE, THE TELEVISION STATION WAS KNOCKED OFF THE AIR, BUT I’VE JUST BEEN TOLD BY FRIENDS IN BELGRADE THAT THEY’RE BACK ON THE AIR ALREADY. CLEARLY THEY HAVE ANOTHER TRANSMITTER SOMEWHERE, DIFFERENT STUDIOS. AND NATO HAS KILLED FIFTEEN PEOPLE FOR REMOVING R-T-S FROM THE AIR FOR ABOUT SEVEN HOURS.

L-C: WE UNDERSTAND THERE WERE SOME RELAY STATIONS THAT WERE ALSO HIT. HAVE YOU HEARD ANYTHING ABOUT THAT?

G-D: THAT’S RIGHT. AROUND THE COUNTRY NATO SEEMS TO BE TARGETING THESE RELAY STATIONS. BOTH NORTH OF BELGRADE AND DOWN IN THE SOUTH. WE’RE NOT VERY SURE WHAT THE OVERALL SITUATION IS, BUT I IMAGINE THAT QUITE LARGE AREAS ARE NOT ABLE TO SEE THE MAIN NATIONAL TELEVISION STATIONS. THEY MAY STILL BE ABLE TO WATCH THEIR OWN LOCAL TELEVISION STATIONS.

L-C: ARE THERE OTHER ATTACKS IN THE YUGOSLAV REGION OVERNIGHT AND IN YUGOSLAVIA AS WELL?

G-D: YES, WELL APART FROM THESE RELAY STATIONS AND TRANSMITTERS, I THINK THE CITY OF VELJEVO CAME UNDER ATTACK AGAIN, INDUSTRIAL AREAS IN THE SOUTH AND ALSO NEAR PRISTINA AND KOSOVO. BUT … WE HAVEN’T BEEN GETTING SO MUCH NEWS THIS MORNING SO WE’RE NOT QUITE SO UP-TO-DATE YET.

L-C: NATO IS BEGINNING ITS 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS HERE IN WASHINGTON TODAY. THERE WILL BE A LOT OF TALK ABOUT KOSOVO. WE UNDERSTAND THAT RUSSIA NOW HAS MADE A PROPOSAL, AT LEAST THERE’S WORD THAT VICTOR CHERNOMYRDIN HAS COME AWAY FROM MEETINGS WITH MR. MILOSEVIC WITH A PROPOSAL. DO YOU HAVE ANYMORE INFORMATION ON IT FROM YOUR POINT OF VIEW THERE IN BELGRADE?

G-D: CHERNOMYRDIN SPOKE ABOUT HAVING AN INTERNATIONAL PRESENCE IN KOSOVO, WHICH WOULD INCLUDE A RUSSIAN CONTINGENT. IT’S NOT TOTALLY CLEAR FROM WHAT HE WAS SAYING, AND HE ALSO ADMITTED THAT DETAILS HAD TO BE FLUSHED OUT, WHETHER THIS WOULD BE CIVILIAN OR MILITARY. SO FAR, PRESIDENT MILOSEVIC HAS INSISTED ON A CIVILIAN, U-N LED, PRESENCE IN KOSOVO. BUT THOSE SOURCES QUOTE THE GOVERNMENT SUGGESTING THAT BELGRADE MIGHT BE READY TO ACCEPT A U-N PEACE KEEPING FORCE THAT WOULD BE ARMED, BUT ON THE CONDITION THAT IT DID NOT INCLUDE NATO COUNTRIES THAT ARE CURRENTLY TAKING PART IN THIS OFFENSE AGAINST YUGOSLAVIA, WHICH WOULD IN FACT, RULE OUT MOST OF NATO. IT’S HARD TO SEE AT THE MOMENT HOW THIS WOULD BE ACCEPTABLE TO NATO, BUT CHERNOMYRDIN IS EXPECTED TO GO TO THE STATES TO TALK WITH PRESIDENT CLINTON OR OTHER AMERICAN OFFICIALS, AND RETURN TO BELGRADE TO SORT OF TRY AND WORK ON IT AND GET SOME KIND OF POLITICAL DIALOGUE GOING.

L-C: WHAT ARE THE PROSPECTS THERE, DOES IT APPEAR THIS MAY BE SOMETHING THAT COULD WORK?

G-D: IF YOU MEAN IN AMERICA OR BELGRADE? L-C: IN BELGRADE, DOES IT APPEAR THAT IT’S A GOOD POSSIBILITY, IS THERE A GOOD FEELING ABOUT IT THAT YOU HAVE SENSED?

G-D: YEAH, WITH FRIENDS LAST NIGHT, WHEN WE HEARD THE NEWS ON THE RADIO THAT THERE WAS THIS POSSIBILITY THAT U-N FORCES (MIGHT COME). PEOPLE ARE QUITE ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT THAT. I CERTAINLY WOULDN’T EXPECT PEOPLE TO BE RECEPTIVE TO THE IDEA OF AMERICAN FORCES COMING INTO KOSOVO. I THINK THERE THE GOVERNMENT REALLY HAS THE SUPPORT OF THE PEOPLE THAT THERE WOULD HAVE TO BE A U-N LED FORCE NOT NATO LED, FOR THEY ARE A VERY SELECTIVE COUNTRY.
NEB/DJ/KL
23-Apr-99 11:25 AM EDT (1525 UTC)
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Source: Voice of America

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