March 18,

of the High

211 Rue du Noyer
1000 Bruxelles

[ Agreed Measures ] [ Statement on the Federation of Bosnia and Hercegovina ]


by the High Representative Mr. Carl Bildt

The first phase of the implementation of the Peace Agreement is now coming to an end. March 14 was the deadline on a number of important political and constitutional issues, and March 19 is the deadline on important military and territorial issues, including the final transfer of authority in the Sarajevo area.

As we enter the next phase, it is thus appropriate to review compliance with the Peace Agreement. The Geneva meeting has asked me to submit a comprehensive compliance review to the Moscow Ministerial Meeting of the Contact Group countries on Saturday, based on the report I have now submitted to the Secretary General of the United Nations.

A serious issue of non-compliance during the first phase has been the failure by the Parties to release all prisoners as registered by the ICRC. This should have happened already by January 19, but as reported by the ICRC there are still 219 prisoners behind bars who should have been released.

The commitment today to release all these prisoners prior to the Moscow Ministerial on March 23 is thus of particular significance.

My main worry is that the forces of ethnic separation still are far stronger than the forces of ethnic reintegration. The development in and around Sarajevo, as well as the tensions in the Federation, bear tragic testimony by this fact.

It is thus imperative that all the political personalities and forces genuinely committed to a multi-ethnic Bosnia reinforce their efforts to bring about the gradual reintegration of the country. The international community must give all the support it can to these efforts. Proper preparations for the elections, and access to the media for all political views, are crucial to reintegration.

The statement on the Federation reflects the deep concern over the state of the Federation, most notably the lack of the implementation of the commitments undertaken in Rome. My Principal Deputy Ambassador Steiner will continue regular high-level talks on the Federation issues.

The next phase of implementation of the Peace Agreement will cover the period up until the Rome Review Conference of the Peace Implementation Conference June 13-14. With most of the military implementation behind us, the focus will be on efforts to jump-start the Bosnian economy, on the final preparations for the elections and on the beginning of the long process of return of the refugees.

Agreed Measures

The Parties to the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina express their determination to provide the political leadership necessary to ensure the complete fulfilment of the spirit and the letter of the Agreement, which provides a comprehensive framework within which to build peace, and of the commitments made at Rome on February 18, 1996. Full implementation by all Parties is an essential prerequisite for the return of normal, peaceful, and democratic life to the region and for the process of reconciliation. The Partiesí performance on a broad range of implementation issues will be considered at the Contact Group Ministerial to be held on March 23 in Moscow.

  1. The Parties commit themselves to build upon the accomplishments of the first three months of implementation to establish conditions for free and fair elections by September 1996 as required in the Agreement. To fulfill their obligations, the Parties will work closely with the Organization for Security and Co-operaion in Europe (OSCE) mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina to implement its strategy for democratization.

    In particular, they commit themselves to improve compliance with provisions that affect the daily life of persons. Basic human rights, in particular freedom of movement, freedom of association, and the right of resettlement must be honoured fully. Access to electronic and print media for all recognized political groupings is an absolute prerequisite for successful elections and for the building of a viable constitutional order. Encouragement of tolerance, respect for rights of others, respect for private property, and the suppression of violence against persons are major tasks.

    The Parties note that a comprehensive compliance review will be provided by the High Representative to the Moscow Contact Group Ministerial on March 23, based on his report to the U.N. Secretary General. In Moscow, Ministers of the Contact Group will discuss appropriate measures in cases of non-compliance with the Agreement during the first phase of implementation.

  2. The Parties share the deep concern expressed by the members of the Contact Group participating in this meeting over developments in the area of Sarajevo, including violence, destruction, and threats toward citizens in areas transferred to the Federation. The High Representative will continue his dialogue on the future of Sarajevo within the framework of the Joint civil Commission for Sarajevo, based on the Rome Statement of February 18, 1996. These discussions will cover all issues that must be solved in order to secure Sarajevo as a city for Bosniacs, Serbs, Croats, and Others, and as the capital and seat of the future common institutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

    The principles outlined below apply throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina:

    • All those who have departed their homes may return to them. Private property will be fully respected and protected. Apartments that are socially owned will be left available to those who have the right to reside in them and who reoccupy them within six months. Necessary changes in existing legislation will be made promptly.

    • All responsible authorities will take action to prevent unlawful acts in transferred territories and to ensure that all residents may remain safely in their homes and that the perpetrators of criminal activities will be punished promptly.

    As of March 18, IFOR has intensified its patrols in Sarajevo. Consistent with the February 18, 1996 Rome Statement on Sarajevo, the multi-ethnic police force under Federation jurisdiction will increase its security presence, with monitoring by the IPTF.

    The Republika Srpska will encourage and facilitate the return of Serbs to Sarajevo.

  3. Before the Contact Group Ministerial on March 23, the Bosnian Parties will release all persons still detained in relation to the conflict and registered by the ICRC, with the sole exception of those whose detention the International Tribunal has requested by then.

  4. Representatives of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Federation, and the Republika Srpska will participate in the Working Group on Missing Persons fully, promptly, at high levels, and as directed by the ICRC.

  5. Satisfactory compliance with the military aspects of the Agreement has established a framework of security and predictability within which to build civilian structure. The Parties pledge full respect for all provisions, including those pertaining to the presence of foreign military forces; this continues themselves to carry out fully the additional measures set forth in Annex I-A of the Agreement, including the withdrawal of heavy weapons and forces to cantonment and barracks areas and the demobilization of forces that cannot be accommodated in those areas.

  6. Full co-operaion with the work of the International Tribunal remains an essential condition for a lasting peace. It is expected that by the end of the month: (1) the Croatian authorities will arrange for indicted General Tibomir Blaskic to submit himself to the Tribunal; and (2) the FRY authorities will arrange the transfer to the Tribunal of the two persons now detained in the FRY in connection with the mass killings near Srebrenica in July 1995. The Parties will facilitate access and investigations by the Tribunal and will ensure that mass graves and other sites of interest to the Tribunal remain undisturbed. When requested, they will provide security and other assistance to facilitate the Tribunalís access and ensure the performance of its tasks.

  7. To ensure the full support of the media in the election process, authorities of the High Representative and the two Entities in Bosnia and Herzegovina will by April 15 complete and disseminate under the auspices of the OSCE standards ensuring that journalists can perform their professional functions. These standards will also ensure that all parties, including candidates for office, have access to relevant electronic and print media. The Bosnian parties will ensure that licenses and frequencies for such media shall be granted expeditiously on the basis of objective, non-political criteria.

  8. The Parties will accelerate the process of normalization of relations. To that end:

    • the Governments of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia have agreed to resume commercial air travel between their countries and will further conclude co-operaive arrangements for trade between their countries, transport routes through the FRY into Bosnia and Herzegovina, telephone service, and railroads.

    • the Governments of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia will at the March 23 Contact Group Ministerial meeting in Moscow continue discussions leading toward the establishment of full diplomatic relations.

    • the Governments of the Republic of Croatia and of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia will build upon the substantial progress made in ministerial talks last week toward further normalization of relations between the two countries.

  9. The Parties will instruct all local officials and governmental officers to facilitate the return of refugees and displaced persons to each individualís choice of destination. Such returns may not be used to affect the result of arbitration concerning disputed areas, as called for by the General Framework Agreement.

    The Government of the Republic of Croatia and the authorities in Eastern Slavonia, Baranja, and Western Sirmium will carry out projects for the voluntary return of any person, regardless of ethnicity. The Government of Croatia will expeditiously approve requests by Serb refugees from Croatia who wish to return to their homes.

    The Parties will facilitate the work of the Commission for Displaced Persons and Refugees established pursuant to the Dayton Agreement. The Commission will meet March 20 in Sarajevo.

  10. The Parties reiterated their conviction that the success of the Bosniac-Croat Federation is essential to stable peace in the region.

    The President and Vice-President of the Federation, supported by the President of Croatia and the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, expressed concern over recent developments in the Federation and stressed their determination to implement fully the commitments made at Rome. They recognize that the international donor community will be motivated to assist in the reconstruction of areas within the Federation only if its authorities implement Federation agreements. Cantons and municipalities will only be beneficiaries of financial assistance once these units have been established and are fully operational.

    They agreed that further progress in the Federation requires close attention to details at the local and regional levels. In particular, steps will be taken to eliminate duplication of governmental institutions such as post, customs, tax, and police and to install support for the Federation at all levels of government, including by the appointment of officials at all levels who are supportive of the Federation. They expressed their determination to improve security in Federation territory; to establish routes into the Federation from all directions; and to eliminate restrictions on freedom of movement, including all checkpoints. They welcome the actions of IFOR near Mostar on March 17; such actions will contribute to freedom of movement throughout the Federation.

    The Federation Parties reiterate their support for the European Union Administrator of Mostar and will without delay conduct elections so that local officials will be democratically elected.

    The Federation Parties welcome the invitation of the Government of Germany to meet in Bonn on March 28, where Federation authorities will report on the implementation of their commitments and commit themselves to regular, high-level meetings under international auspices to take further steps on the Federation and to monitor their implementation of agreed decisions.

Statement on the Federation of Bosnia and Hercegovina

Geneva, 18 March, 1996

The Federation President, the Vice President and the Prime Minister expressed their deep concern about the state of the Federation, especially the lack of implementation of the commitments undertaken at the meeting in Rome on 18 February, 1996. Internal disagreements and diverging views concerning the ultimate shape of the Federation are putting at risk this critical building block for peace. They agreed upon the following:

  1. The commitments undertaken in the Rome statement on the Federation of 18 February, 1996. must be fully implemented. This means:

    • fully implementing the agreement unifying the City of Mostar,
    • implementing the unified customs, tax and payment system of the Federation,
    • establishing all cantons and municipalities and their operative structures,
    • assuring full freedom of movement throughout the Federation and removing all checkpoints,
    • establishing full political and religious freedom,
    • ensuring safe return of all refugees and displaced persons throughout the Federation territory,
    • submitting a basic defence law to the Federation Parliament.

  2. The Organization of the city of Sarajevo will have to be further elaborated, having in mind that Sarajevo is the Capital of Bosnia and Hercegovina as well as of the Federation. The Office of the High Representative will assist in this process.

  3. We reiterate our support for the European Union Administrator of Mostar and the early holding of elections in the city.

  4. While Bosniaks and Croats, as constituent peoples along with others, and citizens exercise their sovereign rights as equal partners, we reaffirm the fundamental cantonal concept of the Federation: as stipulated in its constitution, the Federation is composed of federal units, with equal rights and responsibilities. We agree that the intention is not to form distinct, ethnically defined areas. The Federation is the common Entity of Bosniaks, Croats and others within Bosnia and Hercegovina, guaranteeing all basic human rights to its citizens and peoples, including the freedom of movement and the right of all refugees and displaced persons to return to their homes.

  5. We expect that the Assembly for the Neretva Canton will convene and constitute the canton by 28 March, and likewise that the Middle Bosnia Canton will be constituted by 31 March. By these dates, the Interim Municipal Assemblies in these cantons that have not yet formed must have been constituted.

  6. We urge implementation of the Zagreb Agreement on proportional representation in the diplomatic network of Bosnia and Hercegovina.

  7. We reiterate the importance of economic and other co-operaion between the Republic of Croatia and Bosnia dn Hercegovina and the Federation of Bosnia and Hercegovina with the aim of establishing lasting peace and security in the area. We express our determination to improve security in Federation territory and to open up routes into the Federation from all directions.

  8. We decided that only those officials who are truly committed to these fundamental principles and to the implementation of agreed measures should serve in public office in Federation institutions, including at the cantonal and municipal level. Those refusing to conform will be removed from office.

  9. We confirmed the complete separation between the Government of Bosnia and Hercegovina and the Federation, as provided for by the Constitution and the Dayton Federation Agreement. The existing civilian authorities and their organs in the areas of the Federation controlled by the HVO must now transfer all their functions to the Federation organs and be dissolved. Effective and efficient work structures inside the Federation ministries will be promptly established by means of the immediate transfer of personnel and other resources from ministries and agencies existing on the level of Bosnia and Hercegovina and from existing civilian authorities and organs in the areas of the Federation controlled by the HVO.

  10. We took note of the fact that the international donor community will only be motivated to assist in the reconstruction of the Federation area if its authorities implement the Federation agreements. Cantons and municipalities will only be beneficiaries of financial assistance once these units have been constituted and are vunctionally operational. In the future, the Government of the Federation will be duly represented in discussions and negotiations concerning international reconstruction assistance and related matters.

  11. The Federation Assembly will convene, in an extraordinary session if necessary, so that it will pass necessary legislation concerning the cantons, including the question of organizing Sarajevo, amendments to the Federation constitution necessary to conform it to the constitution of Bosnia and Hercegovina, concerning defence structures and the adoption of the Federation flag and coat-of-arms.

  12. The highest Federation Officials shall meet with the Principal Deputy High Representative on a continuing basis to implement the Federation agreements. This body will invite Federation ministers, members of the Government and the Presidency of Bosnia and Hercegovina and others to participate, as appropriate. It will take up its task on 21 March in Sarajevo, with the aim of presenting results of the implementation of the above decisions to the Petersberg Conference on 28 March, 1996. At this conference, the new Federation flag and coat-of-arms will also be presented.

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