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The Role of IFOR in the Peace Process

Fact sheet prepared by the Department of Defense, September 3, 1996.


The Mission

The Implementation Force (IFOR) mission is to monitor and enforce compliance with the military aspects of the Peace Agreement. UNSCR 1031 provides the mandate for a one-year IFOR mission as described in the agreement. The North Atlantic Council has authorized IFOR for this period. The military tasks include:

The deployment of the IFOR has also created a more secure environment which facilitates the work of humanitarian organizations and the accomplishment of the non-military aspects of the settlement. Within its capabilities and resources, and the limits imposed by carrying out its key military tasks, the IFOR may also:

IFOR's primary mission continues. IFOR will pursue its tasks of ensuring respect for the cessation of hostilities and the Zone of Separation. It will strictly hold the Parties to compliance with cantonment and demobilization of forces and will take appropriate action to prevent any new threats to the peace. It will continue to remove impediments to freedom of movement and to project a sense of security throughout the country. As before, all these tasks will be carried out in an even-handed manner. It will remain ready to support the UN Transitional Administration for Eastern Slavonia.

As the Peace Agreement states, other organizations are responsible for tasks related to nation building. These include conducting humanitarian missions; granting election security; police force duties; moving refugees; and implementing arms control and regional stability measures.


The IFOR mission has been successful since its very early stages with substantial compliance with the Peace Agreement by all parties. In particular:

Broader Contributions

This operation shows that the Alliance remains vital, relevant, and prepared to deal with the new, multifaceted security risks facing Europe with the end of the Cold War.

Background and Highlights

In the light of the peace agreement initialed in Dayton on November 21, 1995, the North Atlantic Council gave provisional approval to the overall military plan and authorized on December 1, 1995, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) to deploy Enabling Forces into Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Additionally, SACEUR tasked the Commander-in-Chief Southern Europe to assume control of assigned NATO land, air, and maritime forces as the Commander IFOR. Movement of these forces began on December 2, 1995.

On December 5, 1995, NATO Foreign and Defense Ministers endorsed the military planning for IFOR. On the same day the Acting Secretary General announced that 14 non-NATO countries which had expressed interest in participating would be invited to contribute to the IFOR: Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Pakistan, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, and Ukraine. Fifteen NATO nations (Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain ,Turkey, United Kingdom, and United States) pledged to contribute armed forces to IFOR. Iceland is providing medical personnel to IFOR.

The Peace Agreement, also known as the General Framework Agreement for Peace (GFAP) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, was formally signed in Paris on December 14, 1995.

On December 15, 1995, the United Nation Security Council--acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations--adopted the resolution 1031, which authorized the Member States to establish a multinational military Implementation Force (IFOR), under unified command and control and composed of ground, air, and maritime units from NATO and non-NATO nations, to ensure compliance with the relevant provisions of the Peace Agreement.

On December 16, 1995, the North Atlantic Council approved the overall plan for the Implementation Force and directed that NATO commence operation "Joint Endeavor" and begin deploying the main Implementation Force into Bosnia that same day.

The Force has a unified command and is NATO-led, under the political direction and control of the North Atlantic Council and under the overall military authority of NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General George Joulwan; the responsibility as Commander-in-Theater was assigned to Admiral Leighton W. Smith, Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces Southern Europe, who assumed command of IFOR. The IFOR operates under clear NATO Rules of Engagement, which provide for robust use of force if necessary.

The transfer of authority from the Commander of UN Peace Forces to the Commander of IFOR took place on December, 20, 1995. Over 17,000 troops were available to IFOR.

On December 21, 1995, the first meeting of the Joint Military Commission (JMC), a consultative body for COMIFOR, took place in Sarajevo. Based on the terms of the Peace Agreement, the JMC is a multi-level central body to which the signatories may bring any military complaints, questions or problems.

On January 19, 1996, withdrawal of the forces of all parties behind the Zones of Separation, which included Sarajevo and Gorazde, was completed.

On February 3, 1996, the parties fulfilled their obligations to withdraw from areas to be transferred. Some reported violations were attributed mainly to ignorance and lack of leadership rather than deliberate non-compliance.

On February 18, 1996, the Parties reaffirmed in Rome their commitment to the Peace Agreement. Additionally, SACEUR reported to the Secretary General of NATO the completion of the initial deployment of IFOR. Thirty-two nations participated in the deployment; 50,000 troops provided by NATO nations and 10,000 from non-NATO contributors.

The following non-NATO countries contribute to the deployment of IFOR: Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Jordan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia, Morocco, Poland, Romania, the Russian Federation, Sweden and the Ukraine. Slovakia is contributing civilian personnel.

On February 26, 1996, the Secretary General of NATO transmitted a progress report to the UN Secretary General which affirmed that Bosnian Serb forces had withdrawn from the zones of separation established in the Peace Agreement. Consequently, the UN Security Council announced on February 27, 1996 that the economic sanctions imposed on the Bosnian Serb party were suspended indefinitely.

On March 14, 1996, pursuant to resolution 724 (1991), the UN Security Council Committee established issued a statement confirming the termination of the embargo on delivery of weapons and military equipment to the former Yugoslavia.

On March 20, 1996, 91 days after transfer of authority, COMARRC completed assessment of compliance with the military aspects of the GFAP.

On March 30,1996, Moslem and Croat partners in the Bosnian Federation signed an agreement aimed at strengthening the new institution. The agreement marked progress on critical aspects necessary to establish a functioning Federation, including the merging of customs, a joint military command, and amendments to the constitutions.

On April 18, 1996, D+120 (the last deadline in the military annex of the Peace Agreement), it was assessed that the parties were on their way toward compliance with the requirements for cantonment of heavy weapons and forces and their mobilization. Full compliance was not yet achieved, but it seemed to reflect practical difficulties, rather than an absence of intent.

On April 29, 1996, the North Atlantic Council issued a declaration on IFOR's role in the transition to peace.

On June 3, 1996, the North Atlantic Council stated that IFOR would be maintained at approximately its current force levels until after the elections and would retain its overall capability until December, when its mandate ends.

On June 18, 1996, the UN Security Council lifted the heavy weapons embargo on the Former Yugoslavia. As a consequence, the NATO/WEU embargo enforcement operation Sharp Guard was suspended.

On July 1, 1996, Bosnia's first free elections since the end of the war were held in Mostar.

On July 31, 1996, Adm. T. Joseph Lopez relieved Adm. Leighton Smith as COMIFOR.

[end of document]


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