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U.S. Department of State
95/11/21 Press Conference: Balkan Proximity Peace Talks Agreement
Office of the Spokesman 
 
 
                          U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 
                           Office of the Spokesman 
 
                      (Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio)
___________________________________________________________________
For Immediate Release                             November 21, 1995 
 
 
 
                             PRESS CONFERENCE 
                    FOLLOWING THE INITIALING OF THE 
                BALKAN PROXIMITY PEACE TALKS AGREEMENT 
 
                 Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio 
 
 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Good afternoon again.  Today's event, obviously, 
marks the culmination of a diplomatic process that's gone on for several 
weeks -- indeed, several months.  I marked the beginning of it about the 
time of the London Conference. 
 
We pursued that diplomatic initiative very aggressively after that.  
Tony Lake's trip to the capitals of Europe, followed by NATO action to 
determine that there would be decisive air action if there were further 
attacks on safe areas; the attack on Sarajevo responded to by very 
strong air campaign; shuttle diplomacy then commenced by Ambassador 
Holbrooke and the American team, aided by the Contact Group and others.  
That's what has brought us to today. 
 
Throughout this period, we followed a series of principles, and I think 
you will find them reflected in the agreement -- throughout the 
agreement -- when you have an opportunity to study it more fully. 
 
First, there should be a single Bosnian state, with a single 
international personality, and a commitment to its internationally-
recognized borders; a federal government representing all the people of 
Bosnia with foreign policy powers and other national government powers; 
democratic elections to be held next year; strong guarantees of human 
rights. 
 
Finally, let me say that diplomacy is about more than technicalities and 
paper.  Diplomacy is about people.  We ought to concentrate on the fact 
that there will be a different kind of winter in Sarajevo this winter; 
different kind of winter in Bosnia.  The starving and suffering, the 
hunger, the cold, the freezing -- those, we hope, are things of the 
past.  This agreement determines that that can be made a thing of the 
past. 
 
There will be considerable national debate commencing in the United 
States.  It's important that the people of America remember the stark, 
terrible images of the last four years of people dying and freezing, 
people hungry, people in camps.  Those are the things that we should 
have in our mind when we engage on this national debate which will 
determine whether the United States continues to play its leadership 
role in the world. 
 
I'll take a few questions, and then turn the events over. 
 
Ralph. 
 
QUESTION:  (Ralph Begleiter, CNN)  You mentioned other national powers 
among the powers that would be attributed to the central government of 
Bosnia.  From what we've seen, and we haven't read the documents as 
thoroughly as you have, is there evidence that the central government of 
having the military power that any nation on earth needs to defend 
itself. 
 
How have you reconciled the absence of a single military command in 
Bosnia as creating a single unified nation? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  The government will have foreign policy powers.  
It will have a parliament.  It will have a police force.  I think that 
will turn out to provide for a unified nation. 
 
We spent a good deal of time talking about a central bank for the 
country, and there will be a single national bank for the country.  So 
there are many national powers consistent with a federal government. 
 
We also have quite detailed military annex and detailed provisions with 
respect to arms control.  So, overall, I think when you examine the 
agreement, you'll find that my statement about it being consistent with 
a national or federal government is borne out by the documents. 
 
David. 
 
QUESTION (David Martin, CBS):  You say here you settled definitively the 
territorial issues.  And then down at the bottom of the page it says, 
"The status of Brcko will be determined by arbitration within one year."  
Has the whole Posavina corridor issue just been put off for a year, and 
is that how you managed to get an agreement here? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  The Posavina corridor issue was a serious one 
that was negotiated up to the very end.  But the status quo will remain 
there. 
 
The present lines of confrontation will be controlled by IFOR during the 
course of the next year.  There will be arbitration to be followed after 
that.  The parties resolved this issue by deciding on that, but it's a 
relatively small portion of the country as a whole. 
 
Because the issue will be under the control of IFOR, because there is no 
immediate change in the status of the issue, I think it will not be a 
destabilizing factor.  That was, as I say, one of, say, perhaps a 
hundred issues that were debated.  The parties finally decided they 
would maintain the status quo during the period of IFOR, but there would 
be an arbitration to consider the matter as to what its future would be. 
 
QUESTION:  (Dave Marrich, ABC News, Nightline)  Already members of the 
Bosnian Serb negotiating team here are being quoted as calling this 
agreement invalid and a great mistake.  Whom do you hold responsible for 
the implementation of this agreement inside the Serb entity in Bosnia?  
And what are the mechanisms to assure that implementation? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  This agreement today was the result of 
agreements between three parties -- Serbia, Bosnia, and Croatia.  The 
Serbian delegation was led by President Milosevic.  He came to the 
negotiation authorized by the leaders of the Bosnian Serbs, a signed 
authorization for him to negotiate and commit them.  So we, hence, find 
a fixing of responsibility in President Milosevic. 
 
We will, over time, look to him to assure the assent of the Bosnian 
Serbs to this agreement. 
 
The most powerful force, of course, in that situation will be the fact 
that the people of Sarajevo, the people of Bosnia as a whole, are going 
to see the benefits of peace.  I think President Milosevic feels that 
those will strongly outweigh statements made by members of the Bosnian 
Serbs, or perhaps making statements for their effect at the present 
time. 
 
This is a situation that we'll have to watch as it moves forward.  The 
next several weeks will be very important ones as we move through this 
situation. 
 
The implementation force will go in at a time that it is safe for it to 
do so.  I believe that we can expect the forces seeking peace here will 
be stronger and that President Milosevic will, with the determination 
that he has shown and the authority that he had for this agreement, the 
commitment they have made to cooperate with the IFOR forces, that that 
situation will be resolved.  But I must say, it will be something that 
we need to watch very carefully as we go through the very difficult 
implementation period ahead. 
 
QUESTION:  Do you feel comfortable sending IFOR troops into Bosnia if 
the views of the Bosnian parliament and -- sorry, the Bosnian Serb 
parliament and the Bosnian Serb people are identical to views that some 
of the delegates have been quoted here? 
 
Are you comfortable that the Bosnian Serb public is (inaudible) 
agreement invalid? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  We'll not send IFOR troops or American troops 
into the region until it's safe to do so.  That will be a core aspect of 
it.  We expect the cooperation of the people of Bosnia, but we'll be 
determining that before we send American or NATO troops into the area. 
 
Thank you very much. 
 
 
AMBASSADOR HOLBROOKE:  We have a very limited amount of time.  We'll 
take additional questions. 
 
QUESTION:  (Inaudible) new constitution.  Could you explain how -- how 
do you explain that any democracy, especially if you have a constitution 
(inaudible). 
 
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE:  It's up to the Bosnians to decide that 
procedure.  If they wanted it, they would have put it in. 
 
QUESTION:  In other words, they did not ask -- 
 
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE:  Roy, there were two kinds of aspects of 
these documents.  The ones that we, in a sense -- the Contact Group -- 
were facilitating agreements.  We didn't have a direct personal input, 
and that's one of them.  Any constitution they want to work out is fine 
as long it's democratic, and this one is.  That was a huge achievement. 
 
And, secondly, documents which involved the United States national 
interests and those of our Contact Group colleagues.  That included, 
above all, the military annexes, but also things like the right of 
refugees to return because that's of immense importance to our European 
friends who have borne the brunt of the refugee issue.  But this issue 
was not -- they worked it out. 
 
QUESTION:  (Inaudible) mentions Karadzic and Mladic indicted for war 
crimes. 
 
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE:  I don't think their future is very 
bright. 
 
QUESTION:  What steps will the international community take, namely, 
IFOR, in bringing them to justice if (inaudible) -- 
 
ASSISTANT SECRETARY HOLBROOKE:  The documents clearly spell out the 
obligation from the War Crimes Tribunal.  John Shattuck is here with me, 
and I'd like him to comment.  John, why don't you come up here. 
 
This is the first time, in any major negotiation in diplomatic history, 
that an Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights has been part of a 
diplomatic effort.  Normally, people in that job are kept away from the 
negotiations.  But we felt that the issues here involved human rights so 
essentially that John made four trips to the area in the last six weeks; 
has been in Dayton three times during 21 days, and has been a central 
member of our core team.  I'd like him to comment on that and make 
another brief comment. 
 
John. 
 
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHATTUCK:  Let me outline briefly the obligations of 
the parties to comply with the orders of the international War Crimes 
Tribunal. 
 
The agreement obligates all parties, including Serbia, Croatia, and 
Bosnia-Herzegovina -- 
 
(Multiple questions) 
 
QUESTION:  Minister Ivanov, a brief comment on why the Russians are 
reserving approval on the military annexes? 
 
DEPUTY MINISTER IVANOV:  As you know, this plan of implementation is a 
plan of NATO.  We're awaiting the resolution of the United Nations 
Security Council about the mandate of the military (inaudible); and, 
when we review this resolution and other information from our military 
people who are now studying this problem in Brussels, there will be the 
critical decision about our possible participation. 
 
But we have some doubts about that plan of the United Nations -- of the 
NATO on the military implementation.  In the agreement, Annex I, you 
have the Article about the possibility of the participation of non-NATO 
states in that operation.  The modalities of those states who will 
participate will be the subject of an agreement between such 
participating states and NATO. 
 
MR. BILDT:  I am sorry, sir, but we have flights leaving for Europe; 
and, we are the most unpopular people there are on transatlantic 
flights, because we've been booked on every single flight for the past 
five days.  (Laughter)  We might be thrown off. 
 
Let me say that when we are heading back to the European Union countries 
and to Russia, we have a rather heavy work schedule with all of the 
implementation work that is ahead of us:  preparing for the Paris peace 
conference, the London implementation conference, the Bonn disarmament 
thing, and there's going to be a pledging conference on the economic 
side in Brussels. 
 
Those of you who think that work has been completed in Dayton are, sorry 
to say, mistaken.  This is for us the start of another agenda. 
 
QUESTION:  Will there be any kind of a conference in Moscow?  Do you see 
Russia as part of this -- 
 
MR. BILDT:  Russia is most -- let me say that before Igor -- 
 
QUESTION:  (Inaudible) 
 
MR. BILDT:  No, no.  Let me say that -- and on behalf of all the 
colleagues in the Contact Group -- that Russia has been playing an 
important and constructive and at times decisive role in the diplomatic 
footwork that is essential for a conference of this type.  Due credit 
should be given to First Deputy Foreign Minister Ivanov.  It was the 
commitment of Russia to the process that such a high-ranking 
representative of the Russian Government has spent these three weeks in 
Dayton, Ohio. 
 
QUESTION:  (Inaudible) 
 
DEPUTY MINISTER IVANOV:  We think that in Dayton the peace process is 
starting for some period, and during this period we will have some 
meetings and among those meetings, there will be a meeting in Moscow.  
This is the agreement among the parties.  When and what will be the 
mandate of that meeting we shall discuss in the future. 
 
QUESTION:  (Inaudible) 
 
DEPUTY MINISTER IVANOV:  I am speaking in the name of Russia.  We have 
doubts, but I cannot speak about the doubts of other participants of 
this meeting -- of these talks. 
 
QUESTION:  Mr. Ivanov (inaudible). 
 
DEPUTY MINISTER IVANOV:  Our position is that with the signing of the 
peace agreement, the sanctions have to be lifted -- all sanctions, 
because after the peace agreement, all parties have to start from the 
same position in the application of that peace agreement. 
 
About the lifting of the arms embargo, we have our doubts, and now we 
are discussing them in the Security Council of the United Nations. 
 
QUESTION:  What's the difference? 
 
DEPUTY MINISTER IVANOV:  Because the most important thing is that if we 
are speaking about peace, we have to guarantee peace; and the lifting of 
our embargo can create a situation which may create problems for the 
implementation of that peace agreement. 
 
QUESTION:  What about -- 
 
DEPUTY MINISTER IVANOV:  But we have to find a formula -- exact formula 
to avoid this situation. 
 
QUESTION:  (Inaudible) 
 
DEPUTY MINISTER IVANOV:  I think that if we are speaking about -- you 
have Annex I-B where we are trying to have the balance among the parties 
with their armaments, but we have to find that formula to reach this 
thing.  That's why one of the meetings that will be in Bonn to speak 
about the military measures -- 
 
QUESTION:  Arms control -- 
 
DEPUTY MINISTER IVANOV:  Arms control measures. 
 
QUESTION:  (Inaudible) 
 
MR. BILDT:  You haven't been able to read all the different annexes, but 
there's an Annex called I-B, which is concerned with arms control 
measures in the region, and that's something that is very important 
from, I think, everyone, but particularly from the European perspective. 
 
We don't it as logical to have peace and arms race.  We want to have 
peace and arms control, and arms control to be effective has to have a 
regional approach.  That's been the subject of quite intense discussions 
during the weeks here in Dayton. 
 
There is a mechanism under the organized (inaudible) kicked off in Bonn.  
If that does not succeed, there is an automatic mechanism to ensure that 
we have a regional arms control regime in place in the former 
Yugoslavia, and that's very important. 
 
QUESTION:  (Inaudible) 
 
MR. BILDT:  It depends on what you mean.  They remain to be implemented.  
For example, the arms control regime -- we have not sorted everything 
out concerning the details, no.  But we've set the parameters for it, 
and that's important.  In that sense, it's decided.  In another sense, 
it remains to be done. 
 
The same goes for, say, refugee return.  We have the parameters and the 
guiding principles.  The same concerning elections where it's more 
specific.  Economic reconstruction.  I mean, we're not handing out work.  
We are shifting them pieces of our agenda. 
 
QUESTION:  One more question. 
 
MR. BILDT:  Yes, one more question. 
 
QUESTION:  (Inaudible) 
 
QUESTION:  Three. 
 
QUESTION:  And you think that (inaudible). 
 
MR. BILDT:  There are today -- and I would expect there will be tomorrow 
and the day after tomorrow -- three armies, at least, operating on the 
territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina.  But that is not going to be changed 
immediately.  I would expect there to be a long-term process of merger 
(inaudible).  We have provisions in the constitution for the Presidency 
to exercise civilian control over these armed forces that are on the 
territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina. 
 
This is one of the more difficult long-term aspects of re-integration.  
We certainly have that goal, but we know that that's going to be 
problematic.  We know that inside the Federation, for example, it's far 
from easy. 
 
By that, I hope that you can complete the answer that we broke off, and 
we hope that we'll be let on the aircrafts. 
 
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHATTUCK:  The agreement and the annexes and also 
the sanctions resolution contain very strong provisions on compliance 
with the War Crimes Tribunal and its orders -- requirements that all 
parties cooperate fully with investigations and prosecutions, and that 
they do so immediately. 
 
The constitution contains provisions to this effect -- the Framework 
Agreement and, as I said, the Sanctions Resolution.  In addition, there 
will continue to be sanctions in the so-called "outer wall," 
international financial institution access and membership in 
international organizations -- sanctions which are directed at countries 
which do not comply, and until they fully comply those sanctions will 
remain in place.  Complying means complying with orders -- orders of 
arrest, orders of interviewing witnesses, orders regarding investigation 
-- and the agreement also specifies that the War Crimes Tribunal shall 
be given full access to all territories, all areas in Bosnia-Herzegovina 
where investigations need to be conducted. 
 
This is a comprehensive mandate with respect to War Crimes Tribunal 
compliance. 
 
QUESTION:  (Inaudible) who is the mandate placed upon in terms of the 
arrest and turning over of indicted war criminal suspects and providing 
access to suspected sites of war crimes activities like the mass graves 
around Srebrenica. 
 
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHATTUCK:  The mandate runs to all the parties, and 
by that I mean Bosnia-Herzegovina, the Serb authority included, and also 
Croatia and Serbia.  The mandate is full cooperation and compliance with 
orders of the international War Crimes Tribunal; and, as I said, those 
orders are comprehensive.  Any kind of order that is lawful under the 
Security Council mandate of the War Crimes Tribunal would be subject to 
compliance in the way I've just described. 
 
Take one more. 
 
QUESTION:  (Inaudible) Can you give us some idea of how many (inaudible) 
you were talking about? 
 
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHATTUCK:  It's very difficult to estimate 
precisely.  Certainly, there are many prisoners and people in detention 
or under situations of forced labor in the Bosnian Serb held areas.  The 
area around Banja Luka, which I recently visited, the estimate there has 
been something in the neighborhood of 1,000, but it's very difficult to 
estimate that precisely. 
 
But the most important thing here is that the mandate of this agreement 
requires that the International Committee for the Red Cross be given 
full access to all suspected site places of detention and all people, 
and that the authorities fully cooperate with the ICRC in its effort to 
locate missing persons -- that's how that information will be gathered -
- and that detention centers and places of detention will be immediately 
closed. 
 
Just one more question. 
 
QUESTION:  Srebrenica is (inaudible) -- 
 
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHATTUCK:  They will be in Bosnia-Herzegovina under 
the Serb authority -- Bosnian Serb authority. 
 
QUESTION:  (Inaudible) 
 
ASSISTANT SECRETARY SHATTUCK:  It is possible to get access to 
Srebrenica now.  President Milosevic has personally stated that access 
to all such areas where war crimes and issues involving human rights 
violations have occurred, those places are accessible.  The peace 
agreement requires that the authorities cooperate in allowing access by 
the International War Crimes Tribunal and other organizations -- 
international organizations to Srebrenica, Zepa, Banja Luka and any 
other areas where suspected crimes may have occurred. 
 
I think with respect to your second question, I think the catastrophe, 
the human rights enormous catastrophe, perhaps the worst single human 
rights catastrophe of this war in one place, was in many ways the 
galvanizing event in the tragedy that it was to lead toward this process 
which has culminated in this peace agreement.  I think the international 
community, led by in this case the United States, has been very much 
having Srebrenica and Zepa and those who lost their lives in Srebrenica 
in mind as we move toward this full implementation of this peace 
agreement.  The mandate of the War Crimes Tribunal have full authority 
to engage in its work in these areas.  Thank you. 
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