M-1 (97)82

of the North
in Madrid

8th July 1997

Special Declaration
on Bosnia And Herzegovina

Issued by the Heads of State and Government

We, the Heads of State and Government of NATO, reaffirm our commitment to the full implementation of the Peace Agreement, and to the establishment of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a single, democratic and multi-ethnic state. We strongly endorse the recent statements of the Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council at Sintra, the Summit of the Eight at Denver, and the Contact Group in The Hague calling on the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to accelerate implementation of the Peace Agreement.

We commend the NATO-led Stabilisation Force (SFOR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina and are proud of its crucial contribution in helping to bring peace to that country. Working with NATO's partners in SFOR, we intend to see that its mandate is carried out to its fullest.

We commend the efforts of Carl Bildt, whose tenure as High Representative achieved important progress in implementing the civilian aspects of the Peace Agreement, and welcome the appointment of Carlos Westendorp as the new High Representative. SFOR will continue to work closely and effectively with the High Representative, the OSCE and other major international organisations and agencies implementing civilian aspects of the Peace Agreement, not least in connection with the municipal elections scheduled for September 1997. While SFORs mandate comes to an end in June 1998, we have a commitment to and a long-term interest in stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the surrounding region. The authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina should be in no doubt that there can be no military option for any party or ethnic group now or in the future.

We call on the Parties to the Peace Agreement to comply fully with the commitments they themselves have agreed and to implement the Peace Agreement without delay. They must uphold the right of refugees and displaced persons to return to their homes in a peaceful and orderly manner. They must fulfil their arms control obligations. They must comply with all provisions regarding police, including the need to restructure, reform and certify police forces. They must also allow fair and open access to the media. We expect Croatia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, as regional signatories to the Peace Agreement, to contribute effectively to its full implementation.

Compliance with all these commitments will be the prerequisite for our continued assistance: those who honour their commitments will receive our support; those who do not will find themselves denied any hope of taking up membership in the wider community of nations.

We are deeply concerned by the political crisis in the Republika Srpska, where an increasingly anti-democratic climate and abuses of police authority, in contravention of obligations under the Peace Agreement, are undermining basic human rights, obstructing progress on the Peace Agreement and threatening wider security. It is especially unacceptable that the citizens of Republika Srpska are being denied full and objective information on developments. The democratic process is being distorted in order to block the constitutional decisions of the elected president of Republika Srpska, which must be respected.

We expect those responsible for this challenge to authority to resolve political differences peacefully and through dialogue, in a manner consistent with the rule of law and the democratic principles of the Peace Agreement. Further, in that regard, we demand that police in Republika Srpska halt acts of intimidation and comply fully with all provisions of the Peace Agreement. Republika Srpska, an integral part of Bosnia and Herzegovina, otherwise risks even greater isolation from the international community and greater difficulties in obtaining the international support and economic assistance on which its future prosperity depends.

We will not tolerate any recourse to force or violence, or the unauthorised deployment of military or paramilitary forces.

There can be no lasting peace without justice. We call upon the leaders of the region to cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and fulfil their obligation to deliver those indicted for war crimes for trial at the International Tribunal in The Hague.

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