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Implementing the Dayton Peace Agreement: The Importance of Civilian Implementation

Fact sheet released by the Bureau of European and Canadian Affairs, May 28, 1997

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The security and success of the SFOR mission go hand-in-hand with the implementation of all aspects of the Dayton Peace Agreement. U.S. programs to support civilian implementation help underpin the Dayton Peace Agreement. These programs also support SFOR--and American troops--by enhancing their security as they perform their mission and facilitating their safe and smooth withdrawal upon its completion.

American commanders in the field have stressed the need to proceed quickly and decisively with these civilian implementation efforts. As NATO's Supreme Commander, General George Joulwan, said: "It is on the civilian side that we will determine whether we really have true peace and stability in Bosnia."

During the limited period of SFOR's deployment, the people of Bosnia need to see not merely an absence of violence, but a measurable improvement in their own lives. This will be brought about by economic revitalization stimulated by reconstruction and reform, political reconciliation fueled by the establishment of democratic institutions, and the rebuilding of communities.

By signing the Dayton Peace Agreement, the parties agreed not only to the presence of SFOR, but to all of the elements of civilian implementation. These include a new municipal elections and the establishment of legal, judicial, and political institutions to protect individual liberties.

Significant progress in civilian implementation while SFOR is still on the ground will help demonstrate to the Bosnian people the substantial benefits in maintaining peace--even after SFOR withdraws.

The main aspects of civilian implementation include efforts to protect and promote human rights; support the War Crimes Tribunal; organize and hold free and fair elections; create an effective, professional police establishment in Bosnia; build democratic and multi-ethnic political institutions, including a strong Muslim-Croat Federation; provide humanitarian aid and reconstruction assistance; ensure the freedom of movement of people throughout Bosnia, and promote the return of displaced persons and refugees.

[end of document]

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