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'We Will Never Again Be History's Fools' : Serbs: They may give back territory if they feel safe from Muslim and Croat domination.

August 30, 1992| RADOVAN KARADZIC, "warlord" leader of the Bosnia Serbs, was interviewed in London last Thursday by Nathan Gardels . Here are excerpts:

Question: Prime Minister John Major said that "territorial concessions" were necessary to move forward on peace in Bosnia. After months of fighting, you claim to hold 70% of the territory in Bosnia. Are you prepared to give up the territory you have seized by force?

Answer: Yes, we are. We are ready to negotiate a substantial reduction of the territories we hold. We are not concerned about territory. Territory is not happiness.

Though Serbs actually legally own 64% of Bosnian land, we are ready to reduce what we hold to 50%--perhaps less than what was under our control before the outbreak of war on April 5--if it will enable us to draw very clear and lasting boundaries that demarcate Muslim, Croatian and Serb areas.

Q: What was the point of waging such bloody battles to gain territory when you are so readily willing to give it up?

A: Because the Muslims didn't want to transform Bosnia into a confederation or into three constituent states for Croats, Serbs and Muslims. They wanted the whole of Bosnia-Herzegovina for themselves. The Bosnian Muslims want, ultimately, to dominate, relying on a very high birthrate. They even wanted to move some Turks from Germany to Bosnia to help build their Islamic society.

Since such a strategy of domination would be at the expense of Bosnian Serbs, we have resisted it by protecting our own villages. Of course, in the fighting we have taken some strategic areas that were populated by Muslims, but which we are prepared to give back once we arrive at a formula for lasting peace.

We have been fighting for the principle that there will be three autonomous communities in Bosnia-Herzegovina in order that no one of the three dominates the other, in order to prevent the coalition of two against the third.

Historically, the Croats and Muslims have coalesced against the Serbs. We are fighting to protect ourselves from becoming vulnerable to the same kind of genocide that coalition waged upon us in World War II when 700,000 Serbs were killed. We will never again be history's fools. Never.

Q: The Yugoslav prime minister, Milan Panic, argues that most of the mortar and sniper attacks taking place now in Bosnia are the responsibility not of regular forces, but of what he calls "paramilitary hoodlums and terrorists" of all sides--Croats, Muslims and Serbs. Is this true?

A: I tell you something. In this kind of inter-ethnic and inter-religious war, this war of hatred, many things happen that are not encouraged by any of the organized sides. Everyone is suspicious of what the other sides are intending to do. So, to prevent anything horrible being done to them, they do it to the others first. That is the dynamic. This is the nature of the violence and chaos. It is an eruption of irrationalism. You can't handle it.

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