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U.S. Department of State
96/02/03 Remarks before Notables in Sarajevo
Office of the Spokesman
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
Text As Prepared For Delivery February 3, 1996
SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER
BEFORE A GATHERING OF NOTABLES
February 3, 1996
Good afternoon. I very much welcome this opportunity to meet with such
a diverse group of Bosnian citizens. As you know, the purpose of my
trip to Sarajevo, Zagreb and Belgrade is to urge the full implementation
of the Dayton Accords. This was the subject of the meeting I just
concluded with President Izetbegovic. But when all is said and done,
the promise of peace does not rest on the work of diplomats and
soldiers. It will depend on the leadership of religious institutions,
local governments, and community groups, and the commitment of the
people you represent.
I can tell you that the peace agreement we negotiated in Dayton was
carefully designed to serve the fundamental interests of each party to
the conflict; it is in each party's interest to see it implemented. I
know that the process of implementation will be difficult. But that is
because the agreement commits you to resolve the most wrenching issues
over which the war was fought. You must do so if peace is to last.
The United States and the international community will do our part. As
you know, there will soon be 20,000 American troops in Bosnia. They
will be joined by 40,000 soldiers from over 20 other nations, by police
officers, election monitors, war crimes investigators, and by experts in
reconstruction and development. We are here because peace in Bosnia is
a victory for the values we share and for the stable, undivided Europe
The scope of our effort is comprehensive. But there are many things we
cannot do. We can shape a secure environment, but we cannot shape
hearts and minds. We can enforce compliance with many aspects of the
agreement, but we cannot enforce genuine cooperation. And we will only
be here for a short time.
This is your country. Only you can take responsibility for its future.
Only you can ensure that the commitments your leaders have made extend
to every mayor, every police officer, every church, every mosque, in
every town and village of Bosnia.
You know what you are leaving behind: four years of violence, terror,
and isolation from a Europe that is growing more prosperous, united, and
free. Now you must decide what you are building. I hope you will
choose the path that the other new democracies of Central and Eastern
Europe have taken by supporting political pluralism, a free press, a
market economy, and by developing a true civil society.
That is the path to integration with Europe and the West, the path that
will lead to trade, investment, economic recovery, and a more normal
life. It is the one path to enduring peace.
Unfortunately, in this bloody century we have been forced to learn a
great deal about how nations recover from the kind of violence you have
experienced. I believe this can only happen in an open society, in
which people can confront, debate, and come to terms with their past.
That is the lesson of post-war Germany. I think it is also the lesson
of post-World War II Yugoslavia, which never had a full opportunity to
account for the most painful moments in its history.
In my brief visit here, I have been impressed that the people of
Sarajevo are committed to peace, openness and reconciliation. To many
people around the world, this city, like Banja Luka, Mostar, and Tuzla,
has been a symbol of multi-ethnic cooperation. It must remain that
city, and I assure you that the United States will make every effort to
ensure that it can. I urge you to do all you can to make Sarajevo's
reunification a success and a model for the rest of the country.
Now I would like to ask you for your thoughts about our efforts to help
peace take hold. I have three specific questions: First, what must be
done to give people the confidence to stay in those areas, including in
Sarajevo, that are being transferred from one entity to another?
Second, what are you doing in your communities to enable people who were
driven from their homes to return? Finally, what should the
international community be doing, through its assistance programs and
other activities, to promote the reintegration of your communities?
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