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"The progress is unmistakable. But it is not yet irreversible. [Bosnia].... remains poised on a tightrope, moving toward a better future, but not at the point yet of a self-sustaining peace. To get there, the people of Bosnia still need a safety net and a helping hand that only the international community, including the United States, can provide."

President Clinton
Washington, D.C.
December 18, 1997

President Clinton's leadership in negotiating the Dayton Peace Accords for Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1995 ended a brutal conflict that had devastated the region, resulted in the ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of people and sowed the seeds of mutual distrust among Bosnia's three warring ethnic groups. By almost any measure, the Dayton Accords have been a success: the peace has been sustained, a civil society complete with active opposition parties and non-governmental organizations is taking root, police and court systems are in the process of reform and national and local elections have taken place throughout the country. While ultimate responsibility for peace and reconciliation lies with Bosnia's people and leaders, U.S. and international involvement remains critical to ensure that the remaining tasks - promoting economic recovery, encouraging further minority returns and apprehending war criminals still at large - are successfully completed.


Ending War in Bosnia

  • Brokered the Dayton Peace Accords in 1995 to end the bitter inter-ethnic conflict that decimated Bosnian society, claimed the lives of more than 200,000 thousand people and resulted in the displacement of two million civilians. The Dayton negotiations were preceded by months of intensive shuttle diplomacy led by U.S. officials, who painstakingly brought the three warring Bosnian ethnic groups and their patrons to the brink of a settlement. The landmark Dayton agreement, reached after three weeks of round-the-clock talks held at a secluded air base in Ohio, provided the framework for a durable peace in Bosnia. The negotiating effort at Dayton also resulted in a settlement of the long-standing ethnic conflict in the neighboring Eastern Slavonia region of Croatia.

Returning Refugees

  • Returned more than 670,000 people (refugees and displaced persons) to their homes since Dayton. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees registered 43,000 minority refugee and displaced persons returns in 1999.

Promoting Stability

  • Helped return over 325,000 troops to civilian life.
  • Identified and cleared more than 1,600 minefields, trained and equipped over 450 local de-miners, and destroyed almost 48,000 mines and unexploded ordinance, under Stabilization Force oversight.
  • Established, under U.S. leadership, the Permanent Secretariat for the Standing Committee on Military Matters to coordinate activities of the armed forces in Bosnia. The Clinton Administration successfully pressed the parties to sign a major arms reductions agreement, which led to cuts in Serbian forces of 25% and Bosnian Serbs of 75%. At the Sarajevo Summit in July 1999, Bosnia's tripartite Joint Presidency announced agreement on a further 15% force reduction and military budget in each entity.

Supporting Economic Recovery

  • Restored, together with international donors, Bosnia's Gross Domestic Product to roughly 40 percent of its pre-war level (including growth by an estimated 55 percent in 1996, 35 percent in 1997 and 25 percent in 1998). Unemployment has been reduced from a post-war high of 90 percent to roughly 31 percent in early 1998, though levels vary widely across the country.
  • Rebuilt major portions of Bosnia's infrastructure, including the repair of over 100,000 housing units and 970 schools. The United States has provided almost $1 billion in reconstruction assistance since Dayton. Major reconstruction projects in Bosnia are now largely complete.
  • Forged agreement on the adoption of a permanent currency, with the Konvertible Marka introduced in mid-June 1998. A uniform customs code was passed in July 1998, increasing customs revenues.

Prosecuting War Crimes

  • Actively supported the public indictment of 94 war criminals for crimes committed in Bosnia. With assistance of the Stabilization Force, 49 indictees have been taken into custody in the Hague, including Moncilo Krajisnik (Karadzic deputy), Maj. Gen. Stanislav Galic (for responsibility in the shelling of Sarajevo), Radislav Krstic (for involvement in crimes in Srebrenica), and Radoslav Brdjanin and Momir Talic (both for responsibility for crimes in the Prijedor area). Twenty six indicted war criminals remain at large.
Establishing Joint Institutions
  • Helped create all Dayton-mandated national institutions, including the Joint Presidency, the Council of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly - all of which meet regularly. A Constitutional Court has issued several significant rulings.
  • Played a key role in negotiating the November 1999 New York Declaration, under which the Joint Presidents agreed on several important measures to enhance state-level institutions, including establishment of a State Border Service, which began operation in June 2000.
  • Worked toward increasing freedom of movement by actively supporting the adoption of common license plates.
  • Supported the adoption of a national flag, flown over Bosnian embassies and offices of the joint institutions and new passport laws, under which old passports are no longer accepted.

Holding Elections and Fostering Democratization

  • Promoted political pluralism by providing political and financial support for free and fair municipal-level elections in 2000. General elections are planned for November 2000. A Draft Permanent Election Law is now under discussion.
  • Defended principles of ethnic cooperation and tolerance and protected the progress made toward implementing key measures of the Dayton Accords by removing extremists from government positions in both Federation and Republika Srpska cities and denying anti-Dayton political parties the right to register for 2000 elections.

Resolving Conflict

  • Supported the peaceful settlement and good faith implementation of the Brcko arbitral decision, which established joint entity and international control over one of Bosnia's most hotly contested cities. The Final Award was issued in March 1999 and an annex addressing implementation in August. Implementation of the Award is now underway.

Supporting Police and Judicial Reform

  • Fostered greater cooperation between the police services of the two entities, with police academies now up and running in both the Federation and Republika Srpska, and minorities heavily represented in recruit classes.
  • Provided key logistical and financial support to the International Police Task Force (IPTF), which has provided international oversight, training and coordination for the entity police services.
  • Supported the establishment of a Human Rights Chamber, which has completed over 300 cases in support of human rights.

Promoting Independent Media

  • Provided assistance for the transformation of government-controlled electronic media into nonpartisan public broadcasters, including the establishment of the Independent Media Commission (IMC), a transparent radio and television licensing regime and sensible, enforceable media regulatory structures. Ethnic-based political parties no longer control Bosnia's television networks.


November 2000 Pro-European, pro-Dayton political parties make significant gains in national elections.
October 2000 Recognizing the historic democratic transition underway in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), the Stability Pact decides to formally admit the FRY as a member. The FRY also gains membership in the United Nations, the IMF and the OSCE and moves quickly to establish diplomatic relations with its neighbors, including Bosnia.
Sept. -Oct. 2000

Following presidential elections, Slobodan Milosevic is toppled from power and a democratic government around opposition leader Vojislav Kostunica is formed. Kostunica travels to Sarajevo and voices support for Dayton Accords.

August 2000 Constitutional Court issues landmark decision ruling that portions of the Republika Sprska and Federation Constitutions that discriminate on the basis of ethnicity are unconstitutional.
June 2000 Member of the Presidency Alija Izetbegovic announces he will retire from office.
June 2000 New Council of Ministers constituted under guidelines established by the Constitutional Court. Three new ministries created.
May 2000 General elections are scheduled for November.
May 2000 SFOR, under the "Enhanced Agility" model, completes force reductions to approximately 20,000. U.S. participation is reduced to under 4,600.
April 2000 Successful municipal elections are held throughout Bosnia.
March 2000 The Office of the High Representative concludes the formation of the Brcko district - the last unresolved issue from the Dayton accords - and announces an inter-ethnic government for the new district.
November 1999 Ambassador Holbrooke wins the agreement of Bosnia's Joint Presidency to implement further aspects of the Dayton Accords, including the establishment of a State Border Service.
September 1999 Secretary Albright hosts the Steering Board in New York, endorsing the concept of "Bosnian ownership" of the Peace Process.
July 1999 The United States, along with the European Union and with support from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, sponsors the Sarajevo Summit to launch the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe, a process designed to strengthen democracy, economic development and security throughout the entire region.
December 1998 Deputy Secretary of State Talbott represents the United States at Madrid Ministerial, where further benchmarks and timelines are established for Dayton implementation.
December 1997 Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott attends the Bonn Ministerial for the Peace Implementation Council. New, sweeping powers are appointed to the High Representative (responsible for civilian implementation in Bosnia) to make binding interim decisions on issues where the parties fail to reach agreement - thus eliminating the ability of any single party to block progress.
December 1997 President Clinton visits Sarajevo, delivering a message of reconciliation and assuring Bosnia's citizens of the U.S. commitment to ensure peace and stability in their country.
September 1997 Indicted war criminal Radovan Karadzic goes into hiding in response to SFOR efforts to arrest him.
December 1996 The United Nations Security Council, with strong U.S. support, votes to establish a follow-on stabilization force for Bosnia, SFOR.
September 1996 With strong U.S. logistical, financial and personnel support, democratic elections are successfully held at the national, entity and cantonal levels.
August 1996 First shipment of equipment arrives in Bosnia as part of a U.S.-led international effort to train and equip Federation forces in order to establish a self-defense capability.
December 1995 The United States, together with its NATO allies and Russia, approve the deployment of a NATO-led multinational Implementation Force. By mid-February, NATO and forces from 18 other countries had deployed over 60,000 troops to Bosnia.
November 1995 Following a cease-fire, the United States, along with its Contact Group partners, successfully brokers a comprehensive peace agreement after three weeks of negotiations in Dayton, Ohio.
August 1995 Following Bosnian-Serb shelling of a Sarajevo marketplace and other assaults on UN-declared safe havens, U.S. leadership is instrumental in forging NATO agreement to intervene actively in order to halt the violence. Meanwhile, on the diplomatic front, President Clinton's negotiating team, directed by then Secretary of State Warren Christopher and led by Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, embark on exhaustive shuttle diplomacy throughout the region and Europe.


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