Bosnia Peace Operation:

Progress Toward the Dayton Agreement's Goals--An Update

T-NSIAD-97-216: Published: Jul 17, 1997. Publicly Released: Jul 17, 1997.

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GAO discussed international efforts to promote an enduring peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina through the implementation of the 1995 Dayton Agreement.

GAO noted that: (1) the internationally-supported peace operation in Bosnia, part of a longer-term peace process, has helped that country take important first steps toward achieving the Dayton Agreement's goals; (2) progress has been made in establishing some political and economic institutions, and economic recovery has started in the Federation; (3) nevertheless, the transition to a unified, democratic government that respects the rule of law has not occurred, due principally to the failure of Bosnia's political leaders to fulfill their obligations under the Dayton Agreement and to promote political and social reconciliation; (4) very few refugees and displaced persons have crossed ethnic lines to return to their prewar homes, primarily due to resistance from political leaders of all three major ethnic groups; (5) virtually all of the limited progress on the civil aspects has resulted from strong international pressure on these often resistant political leaders; (6) during GAO's June 1997 visit, nearly every international and U.S. official with whom GAO spoke, including senior North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) officers, were adamant that Radovan Karadzic, a Bosnian Serb who was indicted by the war crimes tribunal, must be arrested or otherwise removed from Bosnia; (7) most were unequivocal on this matter, and stated that he retains political power and influence over political figures in Republika Srpska, the Bosnian Serb entity; (8) so far, according to these officials, he has seen fit to block every significant move toward reconciliation; (9) other key issues identified as being critically important to the Dayton Agreement's success include the municipal elections scheduled for September 13 and 14, 1997, specifically the potentially contentious installation of some newly-elected municipal governments, the outcome of the arbitration decision concerning which ethnic group will control the strategically important city of Brcko in Republika Srpska, and the issue of whether an international military force, including the U.S. military, should remain in Bosnia after the current NATO-led mission ends in June 1998; (10) however, even if President Plavsic wins the political struggle with more hardline Bosnian Serb political leaders, GAO believes that full implementation of the Dayton Agreement--in other words, full political and social reconciliation in Bosnia--will remain a long and difficult process; and (11) the total estimated cost for U.S. participation in the operation has risen to $7.8 billion.

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