U.S. State Department Geographic Bureaus: Europe and Canada Bureau

U.S. Department of State
95/11/01 Fact Sheet--Bosnia: Key to Peace
Bureau of Public Affairs


American Leadership: Key to Peace

Thanks to President Clinton's leadership, we now have the best chance for peace in Bosnia since the war began four years ago. Continued American leadership is vital if we are to seize that chance and stand up for what's right(for the people of Bosnia, for Europe, and for the United States.

Securing the Peace in Bosnia Serves America's Values and Interests

End the Suffering: Securing peace will end the terrible toll of this war(in innocent lives lost and futures destroyed. Over the past four years, the people of Bosnia have suffered the worst atrocities in Europe since World War II: ethnic cleansing, concentration camps, mass executions, systematic rape and terror, and terrible shortages of food, medicine, shelter, and heat. The best way(the only way(to stop these horrors for good is to secure peace.

Stop the War from Spreading: Securing peace will prevent a war we have managed to contain from spreading into neighboring nations and igniting an even larger conflict. The former Yugoslavia borders key NATO allies and struggling new democracies(many of which have ethnic problems of their own. Today, violent exploitation of ethnic nationalism is the biggest threat to stability in Europe. Widespread conflict in Europe would threaten our security and require a far more costly American intervention.

Help Create a Europe at Peace: The United States fought two world wars and a Cold War in Europe to defend freedom and advance the vision of an undivided, peaceful, democratic Europe. Securing peace will bring us one step closer to realizing that vision, with all the benefits it would bring for America's long-term security and prosperity.

Securing Peace in Bosnia Requires American Leadership

American Leadership Is Key to Peace: The progress we have made toward peace has been the result of American leadership. NATO's bombing campaign(led by American pilots and their crews(stopped Bosnian Serb attacks against Sarajevo and other safe areas. The Contact Group's determined diplomacy(led by America's negotiating team(brought the parties to the peace table. If a peace agreement is signed, NATO must help secure it, and America, as NATO's leader, must take part in such an operation if it is to succeed.

If America Doesn't Lead, the Job Won't Get Done: The burdens of American leadership are real(but its benefits are even greater: a reduced nuclear threat, democracy in Haiti, peace breaking out in the Middle East and Northern Ireland. In Bosnia, as elsewhere around the world, if America does not lead, the job will not get done. When President Clinton met with Pope John Paul II in September, the Pope ended their meeting by saying: "I have lived through most of this century. The 20th Century began with a war in Sarajevo. Mr. President, you must not let the 20th Century end with a war in Sarajevo."

November 1995 (###)

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