Who Will Accept The Dayton Agreement?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

In his April 23 op-ed, "Lessons From Dayton for Iraq," Richard Holbrooke asserted that I have "turned away from reform" in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Yet he notes I have no Bosniak partner who accepts even the existence of Republika Srpska.

This is the key question: Will everyone in Bosnia and Herzegovina accept the Dayton Peace Agreement on a permanent basis? Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried recently told Congress: "Reforms may upgrade but cannot supplant Dayton." Bosniak leaders, not just Haris Silajdzic, practice the opposite policy, advocating expressly (and implicitly in their proposed reforms) for a departure from Dayton and the abolition of Republika Srpska.

The political leaders of Republika Srpska accept the Dayton compromise and the existence of Bosnia and Herzegovina, when many in Republika Srpska prefer an alternative course. In return, we expect the same from Bosniak leaders: to clearly and unequivocally accept Republika Srpska.

Through consensus reforms, a decentralized Bosnia and Herzegovina can move forward on the basis of the Dayton Peace Agreement. Forcing a unitary state policy, favored by Bosniaks, would cause its breakup.


Prime Minister, Republika Srpska

Banja Luka

Bosnia and Herzegovina

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