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U.S. Department of State
96/05/15 Remarks: Plenary Session of Federation Forum (Bosnia)
Office of the Spokesman 
 
 
 
                    U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 
                    Office of the Spokesman 
 
                                                                 
As Delivered                                        May 15, 1996 
 
 
                           REMARKS BY 
             SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER 
              FOLLOWING THE FINAL PLENARY SESSION 
                    OF THE FEDERATION FORUM 
 
                          Blair House 
                        Washington, D.C. 
 
 
 
   I want to thank President Zubak, Vice President Ganic, 
Foreign Minister Granic once again for their efforts to make 
today's meeting such a success.   
 
   Let me also recognize a number of other people who have made 
important contributions to the progress we have made.  I want 
to thank Christian Schwartz Schilling, the Federation mediator, 
Deputy High Representative Steiner, as well as the 
representatives of the Contact Group, the UN, the UNHCR, and 
the OSCE.  Assistant Secretary Kornblum deserves immense credit 
for getting the Federation Forum off the ground.  Let me say a 
special word of thanks to my good friend Roberts Owen, whose 
personal involvement has been so indispensable to this whole 
process. 
 
   Our success today builds on the progress we have all made 
since the first meeting of the Federation Forum in Sarajevo.  
It reflects our determination to see the Federation thrive as a 
cornerstone of a peaceful and democratic Bosnia. 
 
   The Federation leaders have agreed on a Federation defense 
law that will unite all their military forces under a single 
Ministry of Defense and a joint command structure.  They have 
agreed on the need to establish by May 31 the financial 
structures that are essential to economic recovery in Bosnia.  
They also agreed to conditions that will allow goods to move 
freely throughout the Federation.  And I am very pleased to 
announce that, at the President's direction, Commerce Secretary 
Kantor will lead a delegation of business leaders to Bosnia and 
Croatia to continue Secretary Brown's vital work.  The 
delegation will include executives from some of the very 
companies whose leaders lost their lives with Secretary Brown. 
 
   So that free and fair elections can be held, the Federation 
officials have also agreed to specific steps to ensure equal 
access to the media as well as freedom of movement to 
candidates, to journalists, and most important, to voters.  
They agreed to implement fully the UNHCR's guidelines for the 
return of refugees and displaced persons.  They reached final 
agreement on the structure and symbols of the Federation's 
institutions. 
 
   In short, the parties have resolved many of the most vexing 
issues on their agenda.  That is a significant achievement -- 
in principle.  The confidence of the United States and the 
international community, and our ability to support the 
Federation, will depend on the implementation of these 
commitments.  Our work today will not truly be complete until 
it is seen and felt on the ground by the people of Bosnia. 
 
   We understand that the progress the Federation has made has 
not come easily.  We know that the agreements we have reached, 
from Dayton six months ago to Blair House today, are not 
self-implementing.  That is why the Federation Forum will be a 
continuing process.  That is why we are determined to stick 
with this process day in and day out, until we finish what we 
have started. 
 
   Once again, I want to thank you for your commitment thus far. 
 And I look forward to working with you in the weeks and months 
to come, as we build steadily to our goal of lasting peace, 
with justice, for the people of Bosnia.
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