NEWSMAKER: HARIS SILAJDZIC
MAY 13, 1997
Almost two years ago, the warring factions of the former Yugoslavia were brought together in Dayton, OH, by the United States to forge a peace accord. The resulting agreement ended three years of civil war, but since then the implementation of the agreement has gone slowly. Following this background report on the Dayton Peace Accord, Margaret Warner discusses the state of peace in Bosnia with the country's Co-Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic.
MARGARET WARNER: In late 1995, at an air force base in Dayton, Ohio, the leaders of Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia signed a peace accord ending their three-year civil war. The ethnic conflict in the former Yugoslavia had left half a million dead, and more than two million refugees.
A RealAudio version of this NewsHour segment is available.
May 13, 1997:
Margaret Warner conducts a Newsmaker Interview with Bosnian Co-Prime Minister Haris Silajdzic.
May 12, 1997:
Departing NATO Supreme Commander General George Joulwan discusses the mission in Bosnia.
February 3, 1997:
Gaby Rado reports on the continued unrest in Serbia.
December 20, 1996:
Two Bosnian experts discuss the military and civilian efforts of SFOR.
September 16, 1996:
Richard Holbrooke discusses the Bosnian elections.
Browse the NewsHour's coverage of Bosnia.
The agreement was negotiated under intense American pressure, and it paved the way for the dispatch of 60,000 heavily armed U.S. and NATO troops to enforce the peace in Bosnia. This original peace in Bosnia. This original peace implementation force has since been replaced by stabilization force half that size. All the troops, including the remaining 8600 U.S. soldiers, are due to be withdrawn in June of next year.
The NATO force was designed to keep the peace long enough for the Bosnians to recover--politically and economically--from the ravages of war. The Dayton Peace Accord acknowledged the defacto division of Bosnia created by the war. A 51 percent portion was allotted to a federation of Muslims and Croats, while a 49 percent portion was ceded to the Bosnian Serbs. But the two entities were to be joined under an umbrella central government in Sarajevo, where power would be shared.
The Dayton Accord also called for new local and national elections; the return of an estimated 2.2 million refugees to their homes; the free movement of people throughout all of Bosnia; a $1.8 billion civilian rebuilding program; and the arrest and prosecution of war criminals at an international tribunal in the Netherlands. But after 18 months, much remains to be done on the civilian side--as Gen. George Joulwan, Supreme NATO commander in Europe, acknowledged in a NewsHour interview last night.
GEN. GEORGE JOULWAN: What we should be focused on is what we do between now and June of ‘98 to try to set the best conditions we can, where we be in opening up all the airports; can we have the telephone system installed; what can we do with the return of refugees; a whole series of questions of how can we build the right conditions, so that we will be in the best possible posture in June of ‘98. That is not where the focus is, and that's where I urge the international community and particularly here in Washington that we focus on what we can be done.
MARGARET WARNER: The track record on meeting Dayton's requirements has been spotty: National elections for parliament were held last September, and in January, a new government with a complex system of co-presidents and co-prime ministers took office in Sarajevo. But elections for municipal offices have been postponed four times.
Refugee return has been slow. The United Nations says about 1/4 of the estimated 2.2 million refugees have found a home, but mostly in other countries or areas where their ethnic group dominates. Only 10,000 refugees have felt safe returning to areas in which they are the ethnic minority.
On reconstruction, the World Bank raised the $1.8 billion pledged for rebuilding, but it has committed only about 60 percent of that on actual projects. And on the war crimes front, only one suspect, a Bosnian-Serb camp guard, has gone through trial to conviction by the Hague Tribunal. Bosnian Serb Leader Radovan Karadzic and Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladic, both indicted for war crimes, have not even been arrested. They remain at large in Bosnia.