Bosnia Peace Operation:

Progress Toward Achieving the Dayton Agreement's Goals

NSIAD-97-132: Published: May 5, 1997. Publicly Released: May 5, 1997.

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Benjamin F. Nelson
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the implementation of the Bosnia peace operation, focusing on: (1) the progress made in achieving the operation's four key objectives since the operation began in December 1995; and (2) U.S. costs and commitments in support of the operation.

GAO noted that: (1) the Bosnia peace operation has helped Bosnia take important first steps toward the Dayton Agreement's goals; (2) the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-led military forces have created and sustained an environment that allows the peace process to move forward and Bosnians to return to normal life; (3) the cease-fire has held, general security has improved, and some progress has been made in establishing political and economic institutions; (4) transition to an effective multiethnic government had not occurred; (5) Bosnia remains politically and ethnically divided, freedom of movement across ethnic boundaries is still very constrained, and economic activity is still at a low level; (6) the limited progress to date has been due principally to the failure of the political leaders of Bosnia's three major ethnic groups to embrace political and social reconciliation and to fulfill their obligations under the Dayton Agreement; (7) the Bosnian people are more secure than before the Dayton Agreement; (8) nonetheless, the Bosnian Serb political leaders have not fully lived up to arms reduction agreements, little progress has been made in reforming police forces so that they operate in accordance with democratic policing standards, and the Department of State believes an international military force is still the only deterrent to major hostilities; (9) a unified, democratic state that respects the rule of law and adheres to international standards of human rights has yet to be achieved; (10) although national and entity-level elections were held, most institutions intended to unify Bosnia's ethnic groups are not yet functioning; (11) moreover, according to human rights reports, the human rights situation worsened in the months after the election, particularly in Bosnian Serb-controlled areas, and ethnic intolerance remained strong throughout Bosnia; (12) the executive branch initially estimated that U.S. military and civilian participation in Bosnia would cost $3.2 billion through fiscal year 1997; (13) the total estimated cost for U.S. participation in the operation has since risen to $7.7 billion; (14) economic conditions have improved somewhat since the end of the war; (15) people generally have been unable to return to their prewar homes; (16) some State and Department of Defense officials said that based on current conditions, they believe some type of international military force will likely be required after June 1998; and (17) the executive branch has repeatedly stated that it plans to withdraw U.S. troops when the current mission ends in June 1998.

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