bosnia report
No. 12 September - December 1995
 
Goals & Positions we will Defend
by Alija Izetbegovic

  1. Our goal is the safeguarding of a sovereign and integral Bosnia-Herzegovina. This goal can be reached by military and political means. We believe we have reached the point where this war could be halted, and the rest of the journey to a sovereign and integral Bosnia-Herzegovina continued by political means. The forthcoming peace negotiations will show whether this expectation is justified.

  2. Bosnia's integrity is guaranteed by common institutions and common state functions. These institutions are, among others: the parliament, the presidency, the government, the constitutional court and the central emission bank. The functions are: foreign affairs, defence, protection of human rights and freedoms, citizenship, protection of international borders, communications, currency, customs and external trade, budget and financing at the level of the state. The Serb side will do everything to reduce the number of common functions. Our interest, naturally, is the opposite.

  3. In the situation as it is, and with respect to the likely parity in conposition of the common institutions, the main problem is the danger that the functioning of the common institutions may be blocked by use of the veto. We need a state that can function, and cannot allow a repeat of the 1991-2 situation when, as a result of the practice of consensus (ie. veto), no decision of essential importance could be made. We need (1) an integral Bosnia, but also (2) a state that can function. It seems that these two demands are contradictory, and we are faced with the question of how to cut this knot. Some propose a majority vote, but then a real danger exists that two of the parties could reach an agreement against the third, which could be the Bosniak side. The way out lies perhaÌÌÌÌÌÌÌ̸ps in the incorporation of a de-blocking mechanism. Here the Constitutional Court is likely to be decisive, which in this case would include also several foreign judges. In any case the manner of decision-making, and the possibility of decision-making being blocked, remains the most serious problem for Bosnia as a single country.

  4. An important step towards the reintegration of Bosnia is the Bosniak-Croat Federation. However, it is not functioning. The formation of cantons is proceeding very slowly or not at all. The government of the Federation is in fact that government only of part of the Federation territory, namely that part which is under the control of the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina. In the part of Bosnia under the control of HVO, the government of so-called Herzeg-Bosna continues to function, and there are no indications that it intends to abolish itself. As a result the formation of the mixed federal police and the return of refugees are stagnating, while freedom of movement in many places is limited. It is necessary, therefore, to make an additional effort to complete the installation of the Federation, because this is our vital interest.

  5. The Contact Group map is valid, unless we agree to changes. We will not give up Gorazde and Brcko, and we have informed the American mediators of this on several occasions.

  6. Regarding Sarajevo, we have several alternatives, but all solutions are based on the concept of an integral, unified and undivided city.
    This, together with the problem of common functions, is certainly the 'hottest' point of the negotiations. In connection with this, it would be desirable to proceed immediately with the reorganisation of the city of Sarajevo, by establishing a District of Sarajevo, in accordance with the provisions for the formation of cantons contained in the Federation's constitution. One sould be very cautious here and have a sense of measure regarding the scope and dynamic of the transfer of authority from the municipalities to the District. The Federation constitution does not demand an imperative or automatic dissolution of the municipal authority, and in this regard allows for flexible solutions. The transfer of authority from the municipalities to the cantons should be measured and gradual.

  7. The peace agreement, if anything comes to be signed, can be implemented only with the aid of strong international forces. This cannot be UNPROFOR. They can only be NATO forces, possibly supplemented by soldiers from other friendly countries. If Russia offers its soldiers, their number should be balanced with soldiers from Muslim countries.

  8. The peace implementation troops should be deployed in the form of garrisons over the whole territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina. It is unacceptable to us that they be deployed only along the separation lines.

  9. The financing of troops from the Muslim countries must be the responsibiloity of the United Nations.

  10. The international military forces for the implementation of peace are not to hamper the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina defence effort.

  11. The peace implementation forces may remain on the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina for one year, and longer only at the Presidency's arequest.

  12. Units of the Republic of Croatia's Army may remain on the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina no longer than thirty days after the signing of the peace agreement, and longer only at the request of the Presidency.

  13. We welcome the stated readiness of the international community to provide economic assistance for the reconstruction of the countries affected by the war in the area of former Yuguslavia, and in particular Bosnia-Herzegovina. However, we explicitly demand that this assistance be conditioned by :
    (a) Respect for the territorial integrity of Bosnia-Herzegovina by the neighbouring countries;
    (b) respect for human rights and national minority rights;
    (c) respect for the right of refugees and deportees to return to their home.
    In regard to this, the WÌÌÌÌÌÌÌ̸estern countries should not contiue to err by making new unprincipled compromises. Economic assistance - since all sides need it - is a powerful instrument with which to encourage the leaderships and public to follow the rules of law.

  14. Democratic elections throughout Bosnia-Herzegovina provide a great opportunity to remove criminal regimes and nationalist fanatics from power. This opportunity should not be missed, which is what could happen if conditions for truly democratic elections are not ensured in advance. For this it is necessary to ensure :
    (a) an indispensable minimum of freedoms (freedom of party political activity, freedom of the media, personal and property safety of citizens, etc);
    (b) the return of a sizeable part of the deported population to their previous places of residence.
    (c) an effective international control of the elections, and
    (d) that the elections be held during the presence of the international peace implementation force. The elections for the Parloiament and Presidency should be direct.

  15. Persons indicted for war crimes by the Tribunal in The Hague cannot participate in the elections.

  16. In order to speed up the return of refugees, it would be useful to establish joint commissions, and in all larger places in the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina to open reception and assistance offices for refugees.

  17. Serbia and Croatia should be required formally to declare that they have no territorial pretensions towards the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and will not encourage separatist and secessionist tendencies in Bosnia-Herzegovina. These countries' admission to membership of international bodies, in particular the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the European Union, the Partnership for Peace, etc. should be conditioned by their policy towards Bosnia. This should be explicitly brought to their attention.

  18. Bearing the above point in mind, it would be useful to facilitate in the near future a simultaneous admission of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina into the Partnership for Peace. This act would have a positive effect on the relationship between Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina and on stability in the region.

  19. In the event of peace being concluded, it is necessary to enable the Army of Bosnia-Herzegovina to defend Bosnia from possible aggression on its own. This assums lifting the arms embargo and training the ABH.

  20. We shall negotiate whever we can, but we will also fight if we must. Thanks to our Army we hve a strong negotiating position. If we fail to realise our just demands through negotiations, we will have no other option but the military one. Thisis why we must not even for a moment neglect our defence efforts or the battle readiness of our Army.

  21. And finally: Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed.

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