Bosnia Peace Operation:

Pace of Implementing Dayton Accelerated as International Involvement Increased

NSIAD-98-138: Published: Jun 5, 1998. Publicly Released: Jul 7, 1998.

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Benjamin F. Nelson
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO updated its review of the Bosnia peace operation, focusing on the progress made since mid-1997 in achieving the operation's objectives.

GAO noted that: (1) the actions taken by the international community starting in mid-1997 accelerated the pace of progress toward reaching the Dayton Agreement's objectives; (2) during this period, with the military situation remaining stable, some advancements were made in providing security for the people of Bosnia, creating a democratic environment, establishing multiethnic institutions at all levels of government, arresting those indicted for war crimes, returning people to their prewar homes across ethnic lines, and rebuilding the infrastructure and revitalizing the economy; (3) moreover, there has been a weakening of hard-line Bosnian Serb control over police and the media and the election of a new, moderate Prime Minister in Republika Srpska; (4) however, the goal of a self-sustaining peace process in Bosnia remains elusive, primarily due to the continued intransigence of Bosnia's political leaders; (5) almost all of the results were achieved only with intense international involvement and pressure, both political and military; (6) for example, the High Representative imposed numerous temporary solutions when Bosnia's political leaders could not reach agreement; (7) further, a substantial NATO-led force is still needed to provide security for the civil aspects of the operation; (8) conditions will have to improve significantly before international military forces could substantially draw down; even with the accelerated pace of implementing the agreement, it will likely be some time before these conditions are realized; and (9) Bosnia for all intents and purposes lacks functioning, multiethnic governments at all levels; the majority of those indicted for war crimes remain at large; about 1.4 million people have not yet been resettled as Bosnia's political leaders continue to prevent people from returning to their homes across ethnic lines; and few economic links have been reestablished among Bosnia's ethnic groups or between its two entities.

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