Implementing the Dayton Peace Agreement:
IFOR: The NATO-led Implementation Force
Fact Sheet prepared by the Bureau of European and Canadian Affairs,
November 7, 1996
- The Dayton Agreement and UN Security
Council Resolution 1031 of December 15, 1995, authorize NATO to
constitute a multinational force, known as IFOR. Over the past
10 months, IFOR has accomplished its primary missions to enforce
the cease-fire and ensure that the parties move their military
forces behind agreed lines. The U.S. has some 17,000 troops on
the ground in Bosnia, although this number will decrease rapidly
as IFOR's withdrawal proceeds.
- IFOR's effectiveness has stemmed
from the fact that it operates under NATO rules of engagement.
IFOR is not a UN peacekeeping mission; its field commanders have
the strength and authority, including the use of decisive force,
to defend the troops under their command and to enforce compliance
with the peace agreement.
- IFOR has achieved a number of major
successes since its deployment began in late December 1995. The
cease-fire has held; the parties have withdrawn their military
forces behind the zones of separation; and, the inter-entity boundary
has been moved in a number of areas, as agreed at Dayton. The
parties have completed the process of demobilizing or placing
into cantonments (where they may be inspected by IFOR) their military
forces and heavy weapons.
- IFOR also has succeeded in creating
a more secure environment which facilitates the work of humanitarian
organizations that are primarily concerned with implementing the
civilian aspects of the peace agreement. Examples of IFOR's assistance
include providing security for investigators from the War Crimes
Tribunal, facilitating freedom of movement and refugee return,
defusing incidents of inter-ethnic tension and helping with reconstruction
projects on a case-by-case basis. In particular, IFOR's presence
was a key factor in the success of the peaceful, nation-wide elections
held on September 14, 1996.
- IFOR represents NATO's first-ever
"out of area deployment" and its first-ever joint operation
with 17 non-NATO countries, including Russia and countries participating
in the Partnership For Peace. It demonstrates that the Alliance
has adapted its forces and policies to the requirements of the
post-Cold War world, while continuing to provide collective security
and defense for all the Allies.
- A covering force deployed to Bosnia
on October 8, 1996. Its mission is to provide security for the
main force while it is preparing for and during actual redeployment.
NATO is currently conducting a study
to consider options for post-IFOR Bosnian security needs. As of
yet no decisions have yet been made by NATO with regard to post
IFOR, but it is clear any such contribution would need to be part
of a wider, political framework.
[end of document]
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