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U.S. Department of State
96/11/14 Statement: Paris Peace Implementation Council Steering Group
Office of the Spokesman
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
Text as Prepared for Delivery November 14, 1996
SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER
AT THE PARIS PEACE IMPLEMENTATION COUNCIL STEERING GROUP
International Conference Center
I want to thank Foreign Minister de Charette for hosting this
important meeting. Let me express my gratitude to France for the vital
part it has played in the effort to secure peace with justice for the
people of Bosnia. Today's Steering Board meeting is another important
step in that long-term effort.
One year ago today, we were beginning the final week of the talks
that ended the war. I remember that we were tantalizingly near to
closure, and potentially just as near to closing down. The world was
watching, waiting, to see if the parties, with the support of the
international community, could break through the mistrust. We proved
the doubters wrong then, and we have many times since.
We have made tremendous strides together in the year since Dayton.
We have separated the warring armies. Railways and airports are
reopening, and people are resuming normal lives. Elections have given
the people of Bosnia a say in their future. The three members of
Bosnia's new Presidency have met together seven times, and each time
their dialogue has become more substantive.
For all of the progress that we have made over the last year, much
more remains to be done. Our task today is to chart the course for our
future civilian implementation efforts in Bosnia.
Today we have before us Guiding Principles that we have agreed to
for the Civilian Consolidation Plan for the next two years. The Plan
includes a 13-point action agenda dealing with such key issues as
respecting human rights, building institutions and ensuring freedom of
movement. In particular, I want to highlight the action agenda's call
for full cooperation by the parties with the War Crimes Tribunal, and
for indicted persons to be surrendered without delay.
Today the Steering Board has also agreed to several other critical
steps that must be taken to move ahead with civilian implementation:
-- We will hold the parties to an increasingly greater level of
responsibility for the functions such as assuring freedom of movement
and resettlement of refugees now undertaken or coordinated by the
-- We have made it clear to the parties that the Security Council will
consider imposing measures if they fail to significantly meet their
obligations under the Peace Agreement.
-- We will link economic reconstruction assistance to the implementation
by the parties of the Agreement -- including cooperation with the War
-- We have agreed that the OSCE will prepare and conduct the municipal
elections in 1997.
The Guiding Principles we have agreed to today clearly establish
the commitments that must be met and the responsibilities that must be
undertaken if we are to achieve success over the next two years.
We must recall that the heart of the Dayton Agreement is the
effective functioning of joint institutions for a unified state. That
goal is not yet fully achieved. I understand how difficult this has
been. But now is the time to put aside procedural disputes and to
concentrate on shared interests. It is vital that you move forward with
the selection of the Council of Ministers. Bosnia's Parliamentary
Assembly must also meet and start doing business. All the
representatives to the Constitutional Court must be appointed. You have
a responsibility to the people who have elected you, to the process you
embraced, and to future generations to make these institutions work.
In the coming months, the civilian side of implementation and the
efforts of the High Representative will take on even greater importance.
The international community must strengthen our support for his efforts,
just as Bosnia's leaders must cooperate in good faith. In particular,
we must speed up the pace of reconstruction assistance. We must
translate pledges into money, and money into projects on the ground, so
that people can see the tangible benefits of peace and gain a stake in
preserving them. We must also strengthen the International Police Task
Force. We need a high caliber force that has the authority to respond
effectively as problems arise.
Cooperation with the War Crimes Tribunal is also crucial. For
Serbia, Croatia, and each entity within Bosnia, it is an essential
condition for rejoining the international community. I am pleased that
the Bosnian Serb leaders have taken steps to remove indicted war
criminals, including General Mladic, from positions of authority. But
they will not meet their obligations until these war criminals are
turned over to the Tribunal.
In the months ahead, we will face these and many other practical
challenges together. We must at all times remember that our purpose is
to help build a peaceful, democratic and unified Bosnia. We can only
assist the process if Bosnia's elected leaders continue to move toward
that goal. A minimum condition for U.S. reconstruction assistance to
each entity is that it participates, fully in good faith, in creating
and running of joint institutions. Each must also cooperate with the
international community to hold successful municipal elections in 1997.
We expect nothing less than full cooperation with the OSCE between now
and the elections.
Everything we are doing has a straightforward purpose. It is to
implement the Dayton Agreement in letter and in spirit. That is the
only option we can consider, the only goal we can support, the only way
to achieve a lasting peace in Bosnia. It is why we have all come to
Paris this week. And it is what we will continue to move forward when
we come together again next month in London.
Our goal is for Bosnia and its neighbors to rejoin Europe as
stable, democratic and tolerant states. Our goal is for Bosnia to
emerge as a European nation in the Balkans, not as a Balkanized nation
on the periphery of Europe.
We have our road-map; we know the direction in which we are
heading and we have long ago decided that there is no turning back. Let
us continue to travel the road to peace together.
Thank you very much.
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