Seeking ways to meet goals of the 1995 Dayton peace accords, Bosnian leaders and U.S. diplomats recommended today a commission to fight corruption and more aggressive NATO pursuit of war criminals.
The announcement was made after two days of talks following up on the four-year-old agreement that ended fighting, but left Bosnia divided among ethnic groups, with a weak economy and millions of refugees.
U.S. Ambassador Robert Frowick applauded the new agreement, saying reducing corruption is essential if Bosnia is to become economically self-sufficient.
"Before we can get to this kind of self-sustainability, corruption has to be rooted out and brought under control to the maximum extent possible," he said.
Pro-Western Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Doik and Edhem Bicakcic, prime minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina, agreed to establish a joint anti-corruption group.
Since the war ended, the international community has pledged $5.1 billion for the reconstruction of Bosnia. But the Bosnian government has lost millions of dollars, much of it from failing to collect tax and customs revenue.
The group also recommended that the NATO peacekeeping forces in Bosnia be more aggressive about finding and arresting war criminals.
In November 1995, U.S. mediators brought Muslim, Serb and Croatian negotiators here to push for an end to the war in the former Yugoslavia. An agreement stopped the fighting but produced a country divided between a Muslim-Croat federation and a Bosnian Serb republic, and virtually partitioned among the ethnic groups.