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Published:November 21st, 2006 14:34 EST
Bosnia and Herzegovina: 11th Anniversary of the Dayton Peace Accord

Bosnia and Herzegovina: 11th Anniversary of the Dayton Peace Accord

By SOP newswire


Eleven years ago, the Dayton Peace Accords ended a savage war in Bosnia and Herzegovina that claimed over 100,000 lives, brutalized, injured and displaced millions more. The leadership of the United States and NATO's military intervention was critical in achieving peace. Barely a decade removed from the horrors of that conflict, Bosnians have rebuilt their lives and society, and are moving steadily towards integration into the Euro-Atlantic family of nations.

The newly-elected leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina are ready and able to assume greater responsibility for their own affairs. We call on them to move swiftly to form a government that will complete the defense, tax and rule-of-law reforms already underway, and to initiate additional reforms necessary for the country to realize its objective of membership in NATO and the EU. Police reform is an essential requirement for entering into an EU Stabilization and Association Agreement. We call on the Bosnian parties to reach an agreement that meets the EU's conditions as soon as possible.

Bosnia and Herzegovina also needs a modernized and more functional constitution. The current government structures are insufficient to meet the challenges facing a modern state and are incompatible with Euro-Atlantic integration. We urge the new parliament to enact the elements in the constitutional package agreed to by the country's leading political parties in March 2006. Approval of these amendments would be an important first step in a longer-term process to create an effective and efficient government. The United States is committed to working with all Bosnians on a further phase of reforms once this package is adopted.

The United States is proud to have supported the Bosnian people over this period. We look forward to continue to work as partners towards our shared objective of a peaceful and prosperous Bosnia and Herzegovina.