bosnia report
No. 5 April - 1994
Suffocate the War and Feed the Peace
by Next Steps in Bosnia-Herzegovina (a position paper)

As a consequence of several factors including:

  1. greater international, including NATO resolve;

  2. the improving capacity of the defence forces of the Republic of Bosnia;

  3. improved humanitarian conditions in some Bosnian cities and a movement to return to normalcy;

  4. most significantly, the new opportunities and realities created by the recent Bosnian and Croatian agreement and cooperation, which deliver a partial peace and deal a direct blow to the politics of ethnic purity and partition;

there is a momentum flowing in a positive direction for the first time in the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Although a quick overall solution would be desirable, we must be prepared to maintain this positive momentum if, as seems most likely, the Serbians fail to grasp the new opportunities and instead continue down the same dead-end road. This can best be accomplished by "suffocating the war and feeding the peace".

Suffocate the War

The aim should be simultaneously to choke off the Serbian war machine, confront new and ongoing acts of aggression; deny and challenge the results of past aggression.

  1. Deny the Serbian forces the option to continue and/or initiate acts of aggression. Confront any attacks against "safe areas". Create new "safe areas" under UN Security Council Resolutions 824 and 836, to minimize potential targets. Interdict Serbian supply lines by placing border monitors (as mandated by Resolution 838) or by other necessary measures. These actions will choke off the Serbian military machine by denying it new or existing targets and will maximize the areas that are returning from sieges and shelling to peace and normalcy. Failure to undertake this fundamental step would encourage further Serbian militarism, extremism and intransigence and would undermine Croatian and Bosnian support for the new federation and Conference agreements.

  2. Do not allow the status quo and current confrontation lines to become entrenched. The Serbian forces must not be encouraged to believe that their grasp on existing territories under their control will be solidified by de facto recognition of "green lines" ratifying Serbian conquests. De facto recognition of realities already created by force and ethnic cleansing would encourage new realities to be created by the same means.

  3. Allow the defence forces of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina unhindered exercise of their responsibilities and rights (including termiÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌànation of the de facto arms embargo). This will facilitate the realization of the goals enumerated in paragraphs 1 and 2 above, as well as the long-term defensive needs of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina under any durable peace agreement.

  4. UNPROFOR's presence should be enhanced to fit a more robust role. Troops from all NATO members and other responsible nations should be encouraged to maximize the deterrent impact.

  5. Maintain and enhance the economic and political sanctions on Serbia and Montenegro and Serbian-controlled territories. This action chokes off the Serbian war machine and denies it legitimacy.

  6. Encourage moderate elements within Serbia proper. This can be achieved by enhancing the independent media within - and broadcasting into - Serbia.

Feed the Peace

Redevelopment and economic assistance (in addition to ongoing humanitarian aid) should be initiated even before an overall peace is achieved, not only to ameliorate living conditions and prompt a return to normalcy, but also to encourage the warring Bosnian Serbs to join the peace agreement. A new mind-set must be encouraged among the warring Bosnian Serbs. Redevelopment, economic and cultural factors can be relied upon as peacemaking as well as peacekeeping tools.

  1. Initiate and implement agreement on bilateral, multilateral and internation- ally managed assistance for redevelopment, including infrastructure, essential services, industry, education, health care and the environment.

  2. The creation of jobs is needed, in order to employ a generation too accus- tomed to war.

  3. Rehabilitate the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina's status within the various international financial organizations, including the World Bank and IMF.

  4. Initiate the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina's associate membership in the Eu- ropean Union, as well as its membership in NATO's Partnership for Peace Pro- gramme.

  5. Encourage private investment and assist the implementation of privatization programmes.

  6. War crimes must be pursued. Extremists and their philosophies and politics will thus be weakened and a new moderate mind set will be encouraged.

  7. Relocate the offices of various agencies responsible for Bosnia-Herzegovina (such as UNICEF and UNHCR) from neighbouring countries to Bosnia-Herzegovina it- self (Sarajevo). This action will improve coordination, provide additional eco- nomic benefits to the local economy and have significant symbolic value.

  8. Provide direct assistance to educational, cultural and social programmes within the country and for multinational exchanges. Encourage cultural events that display the religious and ethnic diversity of Bosnia and Sarajevo over the past centuries.

  9. Lift the de facto sieges; demilitarize; open transportation and communications links - both internal and external - for as many Bosnian cities as practical. Facilitate road, rail, air, telephone and mass media links.

  10. Maintain humanitarian assistance wherever needed, by convoys and air drops and using all necessary measures as appropriate.

World Bank and IMF

As a consequence of the allocation of debt, inherited from the former Yugoslavia's membership in the World Bank and IMF, the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina is currently in arrears to the two organizations. In plain terms, the Republic of BosniaHerzegovina's status in the two organizations is in limbo and therefore suspended until this debt is settled.

The political agreements that eventually bring peace to Bosnia-Herzegovina may have a significant impact on how these issues and debts are ultimately resolved. However, rather than waiting for the potentially long drawn out process of peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina to be concluded, an early resolution of the World Bank and IMF situations can accelerate and encourage a durable and just peace.

In order to allow the Republic of BoÌÌÌÌÌÌÌÌàsnia-Herzegovina's immediate practical participation in the World Bank and IMF, and to provide a symbolic and practical incentive, an "alignment of responsible nations" should assume the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina's existing obligations (Bosnia-Herzegovina is in the World Bank and IMF grouping led by the Netherlands). As a consequence:

  1. the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina will have its status fully restored within the World Bank and IMF;

  2. the debt assumed by the "alignment of responsible nations" will in turn be allocated between the government-controlled and occupied areas;

  3. that portion allocated to the government will be forgiven, while the amount allocated to the occupied areas will be reduced only to the extent that the warring Serbs move effectively to reintegrate themselves into the Republic (Federation) of Bosnia-Herzegovina;

  4. this will not mitigate the right of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina or the "alignment of responsible nations" (as inheritors of this debt) to seek legal remedies against Serbia and Montenegro for their destruction, diversion or outright purloining of the assets associated with these debts.

The above option would not only address a necessary and ultimately unavoidable aspect of Bosnia-Herzegovina's redevelopment, but could also be utilized to encourage the Bosnian Serbs to take concrete measures towards peace and reintegration. Furthermore, in view of the `lead time' necessary to fully activate the World Bank and IMF and the urgency of the situation for the Republic of Bosnia­ Herzegovina, early action is most desirable.


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