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The Z-4 Plan or Draft agreement on the Krajina, Slavonia, Southern Baranja and Western Sirmium stands for the Zagreb 4 peace proposal to end the Croatian War of Independence. The proposal was made by the Zagreb 4 group (also known as the Mini-Contact Group) and would have reintegrated the Republic of Serbian Krajina into Croatia. The Zagreb 4 group consisted of the United States (through former Secretary of State Cyrus Vance), Russia, and the European Union (though France and Germany). Their plan was never implemented due to the onset of Operation Storm, a military operation in which Croatia defeated the Krajina Serbs and captured its territory.
Outline of the plan
The plan was meant to allow for the reintegration of the Republic of Serbian Krajina into Croatia by offering wide-ranging autonomy through most of Serbian Krajina. In addition, the plan called for the return of all Croatian refugees. However, the plan would have required UNPROFOR to extend its mandate in order to implement the agreement, and the Croatian constitution would have to have been amended to accommodate the requirements of autonomy.
Some aspects of the proposed autonomy included the following:
- Total monetary independence, which would have included fiscal policy and a separate currency pegged to the Kuna.
- Krajina would have been a free trade area with no tariffs; this was meant to encourage economic growth in Krajina.
- Elements of statehood including a coat of arms, flag, anthem, and police.
- Eastern Slavonia, Baranja and Western Syrmia would not have been included as part of the autonomous Krajina but would have undergone a separate reintegration process and would have had the presence of international troops for a period of five years. It was intended that this region would not be given a special status. Croatia would have regained control of the region after 5 years, in which an agreement with Croatian authorities would have been reached and the region would have been demilitarized (with the exception of a 5 kilometer zone along the international border and the Danube).
- The 11 municipalities that had Serbian majorities in the 1981 census would have been given a special status and been called “Serbian Krajina”. Pursuant to constitutional law, these municipalities formed the districts of Krajina and Glina.
- The constitution and laws of the Republic of Croatia would have been valid on the territory of Krajina, but they would have to have been approved and implemented by the local authorities.
- Krajina would have had an election of the president of Krajina.
- Krajina would have been demilitarized and the Croatian army could enter it only if called by the president of Krajina.
- No official in Krajina would have been responsible to any authority in Croatia.
The plan was given to Croatian and Krajina authorities by the EU in January, 1995. Croatia accepted the plan as a basis for future negotiations, but found many parts of it unacceptable. Some in the Croatian opposition supported the Z-4 Plan. However, MPs from the right-wing parties called for the automatic rejections of the agreement.
Croatia is organized as a unitary state, and many viewed acceptance of the plan as a step to the federalization and confederalization of the state, both of which were unacceptable. The plan was also opposed because it would have required amending the constitution in significant ways. Croatia had also stated that it would not extend UNPROFOR’s mandate in Croatia past March 31. Croatia did accept the parts of the plan that concerned the establishment of Croatian sovereignty on its entire territory, return of the refugees, and local self-administration for the Serbian ethnic communities. However, Croatia rejected the aspects that exceeded the limits of constitutional provisions and international conventions on the rights of ethnic communities or minorities.
Reactions from Belgrade (Serbia)
The Krajina authorities refused to even consider the plan because it required reintegration with Croatia. Their official response, however, was that there would be a freeze on talks with Croatia until Croatia changed its attitude towards Krajina.
The authorities in Belgrade accepted the plan but only on the conditions that sanctions against Yugoslavia were to be lifted; however, despite this, Krajina authorities still refused to accept the plan. In Yugoslavia, only the Serbian Renewal Movement called for outright acceptance of the plan. Slobodan Milošević eventually stated that he agreed with the plan, but that it was up to the Krajina Serbs to accept or reject it. One reason Milošević said this was because Yugoslavia was planning at the time to diplomatically recognize Croatia, but this was unlikely to occur unless an agreement was reached between the Serbs in Krajina and the Croatian government. Milošević had some concerns about the plan because he believed that if Croatia accepted the plan in its initially unacceptable form, Yugoslavia may have been forced to accord the same status to Vojvodina, Kosovo and Sandžak.
In Belgrade, Vojislav Šešelj (founder of the nationalist far-right Serbian Radical Party) said that the self-proclaimed Serbian states in Croatia and Bosnia (the Republika Srpska) should declare a union between their two states. Other people called for Yugoslavia to recognize Krajina as being a state, just as Turkey did to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, and Albania had done with the Republic of Kosova from 1990-1999.
On August 2, negotiations took place in Geneva for Krajina to enter a political settlement with Zagreb. The basis for negotiations in Geneva was a modified version of the Z-4 Plan which would treat the eastern and western part of Krajina equally. On August 2, Krajina Prime Minister Milan Babic publicly declared his acceptance the Z-4 Plan through negotiations with U.S. Ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith. Croatia refused to acknowledge the plan's acceptance by Krajina authorities, since Krajina president Mile Martić refused even to receive plan.
- Upon completion of Operation Storm U.S. President Bill Clinton within an initiative to end war in Bosnia said "we must make a long-term plan for a sustainable solution to the situation in Eastern Slavonia... based on Croatian sovereignty and the principles outlined in the Z-4 Plan". Nevertheless, Croatian negotiating team has not accepted Z-4 Plan as a basis for negotiations for reintegration of region.
- The current Serbian government proposal regarding the status of Kosovo is a carbon copy of the Z-4 Proposal; this plan is often called "more than autonomy, less than independence" (it was first mentioned in 2004).
- In 2005, the self-proclaimed Republic of Serbian Krajina Government in Exile called for Croatia to accept the Z-4 Plan.
- Bing, Albert (2007). "Put do Erduta-Položaj Hrvatske u međunarodnoj zajednici 1994.-1995. i reintegracija hrvatskog Podunavlja". Scrinia Slavonica (Zagreb: Hrvatski institut za povijest) (7): 371–404.
- Draft agreement on the Krajina, Slavonia, Southern Baranja and Western Sirmium (18 January 1995): Part I & Part II