At the
Forum Berlin,
Panel on

8 Nov. 1997

Points raised

by the Secretary General of NATO

Last few years have seen a dramatic change in the European security environment. We have moved from confrontation to cooperation with the new democracies in Central and Eastern Europe, including Russia.

In adapting to this new security environment, we have created new political and military structures to improve our ability to meet the challenges of regional crisis and conflict management.

While maintaining our core function of collective defense, peacekeeping has become one of NATO's most important new tasks. As the word suggests, pan-European peacekeeping is an effort that does not only concern Alliance members but is a collective effort of NATO Allies, their partners and pan-European institutions.

Allow me to approach this morning's topic by taking a look at the most instructive, real-life case of pan-European peacekeeping: our operation in Bosnia.

The involvement of the Alliance in Bosnia has at times been a painful experience.

During the period of UNPROFOR deployment, Allies were themselves divided as to the best approach to follow in bringing peace to this region while responding to the immediate demands for humanitarian assistance.

But then the tide turned. The Allies drew together, the Dayton Peace Accords were signed, and hostilities were ended in Bosnia. The period of Dayton implementation began.

I would first like to give you a brief update on where we stand today, almost two years after the Dayton Agreement.

And I would then like to identify a number of lessons from this conflict on how we can better respond to such challenges in future.

What are the signs of progress in Bosnia?

  • First and foremost: the fighting has stopped, more than 370,000 troops have returned to civilian life.

  • Demobilisation:
    Bosnia Croats: 50,000 down to 10,000
    Bosniac: 215,000 down to 55,000
    Bosnia Serb: 120,000 down to 20,000

  • Over 4,000 unauthorised weapons destroyed since January 1996; remaining heavy weapons have been cantoned.

  • 1,100 prisoners-of-war released.

  • Total of 1,946 areas de-mined and over 20,000 mines and unexploded devices lifted under SFOR supervision.

  • Infrastructure is being reconnected and rebuilt. Last year, over 320 km of roads were put back in service, 15,000 housing units repaired, heating restored to 32,000 households, 400 schools repaired, and electric power service has largely been restored.

  • Normalcy is returning increasingly to everyday life. Unemployment has dropped from 90% to 50%.

  • Real GDP has almost doubled since 1995, and 30% GDP growth (mainly in the Federation) is expected this year.

  • Third Donors' conference last July resulted in pledges exceeding $1.2 billion.

  • Roughly 175,000 refugees have returned to Bosnia from residence abroad (100.000 alone from Germany); more than 160,000 internally displaced persons have returned to their homes.

  • In the Federation, joint police forces are being formed under the auspices of the International Police Task Force.

  • Local police are showing increased willingness to work with the IPTF in re-training and re-structuring.

  • In mid-September, Republika Srpska authorities agreed to reduce local police from 20,000 to 8,500, all to be vetted and certified by the IPTF.

  • 361 IPTF inspections (supported by SFOR) of police facilities, equally divided between Federation and RS locations.

  • Checkpoints: approval given by IPTF declined from 350 daily in May to 15-20 daily in recent weeks.

  • No illegal checkpoints found by SFOR in period from 20 September to 20 October.

  • Joint institutions of governance and civic administration have been set up and are beginning to function.

  • Structures for military cooperation have been established - between armies that not long ago were fighting each other.

  • The recent municipal elections, and the political crisis in the Republika Srpska, have been encouraging. They have revealed first cracks in the ranks of the extremist political forces.

  • It is even possible that the forthcoming RS Assembly elections will lead to a coalition government without any participation by hardliners.

  • In support of OSCE's supervision of recent municipal elections, SFOR:
    • delivered voter material by road and air to 2,300 polling stations;
    • provided essential communications;
    • provided collection and security for approximately 2.3 million ballot papers.

  • Open Broadcast Network now broadcasts to 60% of territory of Bosnia.

  • Priority being given to restoring the SRT links to Eastern RS.

  • Surrender of 10 Bosnia Croats to the Hague on 6 October.

These achievements are growing proof that the road to peace and stability is the one charted by the Dayton Accords.

Partition, as some have suggested, is not an option, neither politically nor morally.

Finding fault with the Accords risks overlooking promising signs of achievement and of progress.

This progress was made possible because the international community stood firm in its determination to make Dayton work.

The peace brought by the Dayton Accords was hard won, but can be easily lost if we lose patience and show signs of disunity and vacillation.

Dayton is the only game in town if we are serious about peace and reconstruction in Bosnia. Let us stay the course and persevere.

Let me turn to the lessons learned.

First lesson: effective policy coordination within the international community, especially between our institutions, is vital.

SFOR, the office of the High Representative, the OSCE, the UN, the EU - all have shown ability to work together towards military and civilian ends in building peace.

Second, the Alliance unity, embodied in the transatlantic link and translated into highly integrated and multinational structures, has turned out to be paramount to get the job done.

On the one hand, the conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina has shown that it is through NATO where North-Americans and Europeans can better handle the common security challenges of the new security environment on this continent.

On the other, NATO has provided a military command structure and forces that have been trained/exercised for long to act together. Interoperability and standardized procedures have been there when needed.

Third: while NATO has to lead, Bosnian operation clearly demonstrates importance of forging a broader coalition of contributing nations, around NATO.

Thirty-six nations are involved in SFOR, Allies and Partners ,including Russia, making up 31 of them. Proves importance of the Alliance's Partnership for Peace.

Could not have deployed SFOR so quickly and effectively if not for Partnership for Peace.

Fourth, in some situations, a robust presence of appropriately armed and trained forces is essential in effecting the transition from hostilities to peace and reconstruction.

Thus: in such situations, the rules of engagement must be clear and strong; the mandate unambiguous; and unity of command maintained throughout.

Fifth: Experience in Bosnia has revealed a gap between ability of SFOR to provide for a secure environment and problems of domestic police force to guarantee law and order locally under democratic control.

In future, international community may need to consider the merits of establishing a permanent international police force - possibly under the UN - to help in re-structuring and re-training local police forces.

A properly equipped and well funded international police force which would be available at short notice would significantly raise our abilities of effective crisis management.

Finally: in any international effort to stop conflict and to resolve it, there are 3 key components:

  • peace - you have to stop hostilities, end the war;

  • reconstruction - beyond ending the fighting, the re-building of society - economically, politically - so that people can function normally again;

  • reconciliation - beyond reconstruction is the effort to get people together, politically and psychologically, in the renewal of society and in common effort. Justice is part of this.

Without these three key components, no lasting peace is possible.

Future international operations must take account the 3 components of peace support operations.

None of the preceding lessons can guarantee that we will avoid future Bosnias.

But there can be no doubt that, thanks largely to NATO's adaptation, we are in much better shape today to manage crises collectively than we were only a few years ago.

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