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Homepage > Regions / Countries > Europe > Balkans > Bosnia and Herzegovina > To Build a Peace: Recommendations for the Madrid Peace Implementation Council Meeting

To Build a Peace: Recommendations for the Madrid Peace Implementation Council Meeting

Europe Report N°52 15 Dec 1998


Three years after the Dayton Peace Agreement (DPA) ended the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia), the country has many of the trappings usually associated with statehood such as a common flag, currency, vehicle licence plate and passport. However, these and other breakthroughs have generally required disproportionate amounts of time and effort on the part of the international community and have all too often been rammed through in spite of Bosnia’s domestic institutions. Despite visible progress towards many of the goals contained within the DPA, therefore, Bosnia’s peace still gives the impression that it is built on shifting sands. Moreover, although critical to the peace process, the scale of the international presence, which increasingly resembles a protectorate, is in some ways counter-productive to Bosnia’s long-term future. On the one hand, domestic institutions and politicians have to a large extent given up responsibility for governing their own country. On the other, the massive international stake has led key international players to declare the peace process a success, irrespective of how it is actually evolving. The international presence is also extremely expensive, costing some $9 billion a year.

When Richard Holbrooke, the principal architect of the Bosnian peace, wrote his account of the circumstances and negotiations leading to the DPA, he called it To End a War. The war that he wrote about has clearly ended. Now, however, it is time to build a peace, and to achieve that the process has to become self-sustaining. To coincide with the forthcoming Peace Implementation Council (PIC) meeting in Madrid on 15 and 16 December 1998, the International Crisis Group (ICG) presents a series of recommendations aimed at achieving a self-sustaining peace process. The paper examines the background to this year’s PIC meeting; it considers priorities for the year ahead; and it proposes measures to boost efficiency and transparency in the international community’s operations.

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