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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
SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER
FOLLOWING THE FINAL PLENARY SESSION
OF THE FEDERATION FORUM
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
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
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
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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