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U.S. Department of State
96/08/14 Press Conference on Dayton Implementation Summit
Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release August 15, 1996
PRESS CONFERENCE BY
SECRETARY WARREN CHRISTOPHER
August 14, 1996
SPOKESMAN NICHOLAS BURNS: Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.
Secretary of State Christopher has a statement to make on today's
discussions. He will then be glad to take some questions from you. If
you would like to ask a question, please look at me and I will recognize
you. We will also be passing out to you a document that sets forth some
of the agreements reached today. Mr. Secretary?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Good evening. I am sorry to be late, but Bosnia
always seems to take a little longer. As you know, we have just
concluded the third Dayton Implementation Summit. This is the third one
we have convened here in Geneva. On each occasion, it seems to me, we
have moved a little closer to implementation of the Dayton agreement,
and moved closer to our goal of a unified, democratic Bosnia at peace.
Today, the presidents of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Serbia
have agreed to take a number of new steps which, if implemented, will
significantly strengthen the prospects for meeting the next challenge --
which is the holding of effective, democratic elections in Bosnia and
Frankly, today we focused on the problem areas as we have perceived them
over the last several days and weeks. The United States and the entire
international community, it is fair to say, are committed to supporting
the people of Bosnia in their quest for a lasting peace. Top officials
of IFOR and of the High Representative's office have agreed to hold a
series of daily meetings, probably most of them in Sarajevo, meetings of
all the international organizations involved in the election process.
We are going to try to hold those meetings to ensure full coordination
of the efforts. But I want to emphasize that in the end, the success of
the election will depend upon the commitment, the dedication, and the
action of the parties involved.
Today's agreement will advance four important objectives. First,
ensuring the successful conduct of the elections. Second, moving ahead
to complete the Federation. Third, establishing institutions which were
agreed to in the Dayton agreements. Fourth, strengthening compliance in
other key areas of the Dayton agreement.
The first and no doubt the most urgent steps are those necessary to
ensure the democratic elections a month from today. The parties have
pledged to ensure free movement of persons and full access to voting
places throughout Bosnia. They have also agreed to take steps to stop
incidents of violence, to stop threats or intimidation against
opposition politicians or against ethnic groups or against journalists.
General Joulwan has confirmed that IFOR plans to play a major role in
supporting the elections, and the parties agreed to work closely with
IFOR to accomplish these purposes.
To expand access to the media by all political groups, in all
communities, the parties reaffirmed their agreement to support the Open
Broadcast Network and other media-support projects. The Open Broadcast
Network will be open to all stations throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina.
A renewed commitment was also made today that persons indicted for war
crimes will not participate in the election process in any way. The
July 18th agreement to remove Radovan Karadzic will be implemented in
every respect, and the arrest of Karadzic and other indicted persons
remains, as the parties said today, an important goal.
The second main area of agreement reached today is a plan of action to
move forward with the full implementation of institutions for the
Federation. Herzeg-Bosnia will be disbanded no later than August 31.
These are important steps in the process of bringing the Federation to
life and setting the stage for the new institutions which will be
necessary following the elections. The third area of agreement concerns
the key steps following the elections. The elections will lead to the
establishment of national institutions that will govern Bosnia and
Herzegovina. Today the parties agreed to work closely together to
launch these new institutions -- such as the new presidency, the council
of ministers, the parliamentary assembly, the central bank, and the
Finally, agreements were reached in other areas which are vital to
compliance with the Dayton agreement. The parties agreed to strengthen
their adherence to the arms control annex of the agreement, another
essential element of the overall effort. They agreed to correct
problems of under-reporting and slow compliance with the arms control
agreement. The parties also re-committed themselves to moving forward
with arbitration of the disputed portion of the inter-entity boundary
line in the Brcko area, and to implement fully the results of that
The agreements reached today are the kind of step-by-step progress that
has kept the parties moving forward toward peace, despite many
difficulties over the last several months. These agreements will be
tested and measured by the deeds that follow them, not by the words
themselves. Nevertheless, I think it's important that we have taken
important, additional steps toward the implementation of a very complex,
very difficult Dayton agreement.
Tomorrow, I will be going to Sarajevo, where I will urge the people of
Bosnia to put aside the divisions of the past and to look to the future
-- as they have an opportunity to choose their leaders one month from
now. I believe that the steps today could make a significant effect on
achieving satisfactory results in the September 14th election. I would
be glad to try to respond to your questions.
QUESTION: I have just had a look at this, let me call it the Tudjman-
Izetbegovic agreement. It says the appropriate functions of Bosnia and
Herzegovina will be merged with federation institutions. Will anything
remain of the government of Bosnia as we know it?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Barry, the concept is that the government of
Bosnia as we have known it in the past will have its functions
transferred to the new Federation. The same thing is true of Herzeg-
Bosnia, which will be dissolved, and its functions will be transferred
to the Federation. Indeed, Barry, I am very glad you focused on that
question, because I did not think my statement really focused on the
importance of those transfers. It has been some time coming, but we are
now going to get the transfers by the end of this month of these
functions to the Federation, breathing more life into the Federation.
Many of you have probably recognized that federation-building has been a
step-by-step process. We've been at it over some period of time. This is
probably the ultimate or the penultimate step.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, earlier today the OSCE put out a press
statement quoting Minister Cotti as saying that efforts were continuing
to establish ethnically pure areas as a result of the elections. If in
fact the voters of Bosnia vote for ethnically pure areas, what could the
United States or the international community do about it?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: I read that statement, and I was somewhat
puzzled by the way that particular phrase was composed. The parties
will be voting -- in each of the two entities they will be voting. In
Srpska, they will choose their leaders of Srpska. The other entity will
also be part of the voting picture. There will be elections, and in
elections, some will win and some will lose. But I ca not see that that
voting itself will result in ethnically pure areas. They may choose
leaders who have a tendency in that direction. I think we will have to
wait and see the kind of leaders that will be chosen by the people. The
Dayton agreement commits to give the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina an
opportunity to have a multi-ethnic, unified country. How deeply they
hold that conviction will be measured by the choices they make in the
election. We hope they will make sound choices. We believe in
democracy. If you look at the elections that have been conducted around
the world, I must say the people quite often surprise the experts.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, you mentioned in your preamble explaining the
events of today that the leaders have agreed to new measures that would
move along toward free and fair elections. As far as I can see, what
they have done is just reaffirmed their agreement at Dayton. The last
time we were here, there was a great deal of talk about new, proactive
controls on the part of IFOR forces. Have those taken place? I do not
see any evidence.
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: On the first point, there was, to be sure, some
reaffirmation of decisions taken at Dayton. That is necessary in this
process. The Dayton agreement was so far-reaching that, from time to
time, I felt the need to invite the presidents here to get a
recommitment to Dayton. I am not embarrassed to say that that is true
and necessary and desirable. Beyond that, Steve, this was the first
time, as far as I know, that the parties have agreed to fix a date when
the governmental functions of the present Bosnia republic will be
transferred to the Federation. This is the first time I think the
parties have fixed a date for the dissolution of Herzeg-Bosnia. Those
are very important steps for federation-building, and of course the
ultimate success will in many respects be only as strong as the
Other important developments today, I would say, relate to the broadcast
network, to Brcko, where we did get a commitment from the parties to go
ahead with the arbitration structure that's been set up, with Robert
Owen of the United States being the third arbitrator and understanding
that he will break the tie, that he will make the decision. Steve, I do
not shy away from the fact that this is a work in progress. We are
making progress, but we have to keep working at it.
Steve, I talked to General Joulwan about this, and members of his staff
yesterday at NATO Headquarters, and they assured me that the number of
patrols have increased. They have particularly increased in the Pale
area, and generally throughout the country. So there has been a step-up
in the patrols, at least based upon what General Joulwan -- you might
want to direct that question more precisely to the IFOR officials. I
raised the same question and was assured that there had been an
acceleration and an increase in the number of patrols.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, you said earlier that arresting war criminals
remains an important role. Are you concerned or disturbed about reports
that NATO may have had in its grasp General Mladic and failed to act
upon that? Is there a will to actually go out and seek out and arrest
and bring to justice Dr. Karadzic and General Mladic?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Lee, the particular incident to which you
referred came to my attention for the first time at about 4 o'clock
today. I understand General Joulwan has made a statement on that, and
has indicated that that particular incident will be reviewed. But more
broadly, he has assured me and has assured the press that it continues
to be the policy of IFOR to arrest war criminals as they come into the
purview, or as they come into contact with them. I am pleased that that
continues to be the policy of IFOR. I do not have any further comment
on that at this point, other than to reinforce that and to reassert that
as the proper policy of IFOR.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, on the open broadcast network, are you saying
that the Bosnians have agreed to allow both political and commercial
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: I expect that the Open Broadcast Network will be
up and running by about the end of the month, in time to have an
important impact on the elections. In the longer term, and I assume
also in the shorter term, I think that it needs to have a commercial
function as well as a public affairs function. Exactly how that will be
worked out in this very short time line, I do not know. But what is
important here is that it be up and running in time to have a public
education function in connection with the elections.
MR. BURNS: We have time for two more quick questions.
QUESTION: Did you discuss with President Milosevic about the Kosovo
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: We discussed a very wide range of matters today.
Every time I meet with President Milosevic, we refer to [Kosovo] because
it is an area of my concern. We did not dwell on it today, but we did
refer to it and I indicated that we were glad to have finally a United
States Information Service facility in Kosovo. The purpose of that
facility will basically be to give the United States, and the world as a
whole, a listening post so that we can have a better way to assess what
is going on in [Kosovo] and also an opportunity to provide information
to the people of that area. I want to stress that it is a very small
facility on behalf of the United States. It does not resolve the
problem, but it addresses one element of the problem. I continue to be
concerned about the situation in Kosovo, and will continue to raise it.
We are hoping to produce a dialogue between President Milosevic and the
leaders of Kosovo.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, did you get rebuffed by both President Tudjman
and President Milosevic on the question of turning over war criminals to
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: No, I did not get rebuffed by either of them. I
reminded them of their duty to do so. I had a particularly focused
conversation with President Tudjman on that subject. I told him that we
had reports that a man, I believe his name is Mr. Kordic, who is an
indicted war criminal, had been seen in Zagreb. I called that to
President Tudjman's attention. I told him it was part of his
responsibility to turn indicted war criminals over to The Hague. He
responded that they had done so in one rather celebrated case in the
past. He did not think that Mr. Kordic was there in Zagreb. He took the
point of my question as an important inquiry. I would not say I was
rebuffed by either of them. Thank you very much.
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