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November 26, 1995
. Vreme News Digest Agency No 217
The Dayton Agreement

The Secret of 11 Annexes

by Ljiljana Smaljlovic

The peace package for Bosnia has one main document - two typed pages which presidents Milosevic, Tudjman and Izetbegovic initialed in Dayton on October 21 - and 11 annexes. But, the devil one knows is better than the devil one doesn't, and in the case of the Dayton documents the unknown devil hides in the hundred or so typed pages of annexes (on preserving Bosnia as a unitary state within its internationally recognized borders with two equal entities, a new constitution, territorial division, constitutional court, human rights, reconstruction, return of refugees, elections, separation of the armed forces with a four kilometer buffer zone and an international police force).

The 11 points of the main document titled General Framework of the Peace Agreement for Bosnia-Herzegovina, the warring sides just accept and welcome the arrangements. The arrangements are detailed in the 11 annexes. That framework was published immediately and the US sponsors of the peace talks handed out a resume of the agreement on another couple of pages. Forty eight hours after the Dayton agreement was initialed the public still had no access to the annexes. Any judgment has to wait for the implementation details of the agreement as envisaged in the annexes.

For example, the agreement includes the return of refugees to their homes. That is a praiseworthy principle which has to be part of any agreement on Bosnia especially one sponsored by the leaders of "the free world" (as every American president sees himself). The Dayton agreement includes an article that allowed Bill Clinton to tell the press at the White House that refugees will be able to return home. But only an insight into the details of the agreement will show who how will return, and whose return will be guaranteed. For the time being, all we know is that NATO will have two jobs to do in Bosnia. The first is to supervize the withdrawal of the armed forces to positions two kilometers from the demarcation lines (that is aimed at creating a four kilometer buffer zone which will be expanded to eight except in Sarajevo, Gorazde and Brcko which will have special demarcation lines). The second job is to remove land mines, enable the free movement of humanitarian organizations and the return of refugees.

NATO troops can bring Moslem refugees back to Foca (if there are any who want to return to the town which belongs to the Bosnian Serbs). But, what will they do when they find someone living in the refugees' old homes? A direct answer to that cannot be found in the annexes. The solution is taken for granted (they won't do a thing but will take the refugees to nearest offices of the commission for the return of refugees). As long as a copy of the annexes is not available, politicians (Serbian, American, Croatian, Bosnian, whatever) will be able to present their own version and vision. Until the text of the agreement is made public, politicians will be able to insist on some aspects of the agreement and leave out or minimize other aspects.

Two days after Dayton, most people in Belgrade didn't know that the UN Security Council hadn't suspended all the sanctions against FR Yugoslavia. The so-called "outer wall" sanctions are still in place which means the FRY still doesn't have access to international organizations or financial institutions. More importantly, the suspension of those sanctions is not linked to Dayton or the Bosnia crisis. The resume of the Dayton agreement said those sanctions will remain in place until Serbia responds to international concerns in other areas such as Kosovo and its cooperation with the Hague tribunal.

The Dayton vision of the future of the Balkans means Bosnia will be a unitary state. It will be called the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and will consist of two entities: the Bosnia-Herzegovina Federation (i.e. the Moslem-Croat federation) spreading across 51% of it territory and the Republic of Srpska (49%). Sarajevo will be inside the Federation and will be open to all Bosnian citizens but not to all the armies: the RS army has to withdraw from the suburbs of Hadzici, Ilijas, Vogosca and Ilidza. The resume says the warring sides will withdraw from the demarcation lines within 30 days and will withdraw their units to barracks within 120 days in order to win each other's trust. The agreement adds that all units that cannot be housed in barracks have to be demobilized.

It reamains unclear how the Federation will impose its authority over Serb suburbs of Sarajevo but there's no doubt that the Dayton agreement is firm on Sarajevo regardless of Momcilo Krajisnik's objections.

The Washington Post (Wednesday, November 22) quoted a US diplomat who said that at one point in the negotiations, Milosevic turned to Haris Silajdzic: "You deserve Sarajevo. You lived in it for three years while it was bombed. Let it be your capitol."

The Dayton agreement is firmest on territorial division. The Ohio peace talks reached a final agreement on resolving all territorial disputes which caused the war, its creators claim. In that case, there are several inevitable conclusions. Serbs, who comprised a third of the Bosnian population, captured and, with international blessing from Dayton, managed to keep a half of Bosnia. The Bosnian Serbs waged two battles in this war: one for the corridor and one for Sarajevo. They haven't completely won the first yet and they lost the second. The Serbs lost Sarajevo because they never captured it completely, and they are given the control over the corridor for a year conditionally.

There's a rumor in Washington that Milosevic might have been verbal assurances about the outcome of the international arbitration. The corridor issue is fundamentally linked to what the Bosnian Serbs see as the issue of all issues: a state. The battle Milosevic waged for the corridor in Dayton was not the battle over few kilometers of territory, but for the continuity of Serb lands and the survival of the Serb state. Whatever the ideological differences between Milosevic and Krajisnik, the one thing they had in common was the wish to turn the internal borders of Bosnia, defined under international arbitration, into external borders. Just like 1991 when we watched Yugoslavia's internal administrative borders become international.

The new demarcation line that was agreed in Dayton is almost identical to the cease-fire line except for 40 square kilometers around Mrkonjic Grad and Sipovo (which will be returned to the Serbs) and a belt of land linking Gorazde to Sarajevo (eight to 15 kilometers wide with a new road to be built on it). The Serb corridor to Brcko stays as it was but the fate of Brcko hasn't been resolved definitely: a final solution will be found through arbitration within a year. The arbitration commission will include on representative each from the RS and Federation and a representative of the international community.

The republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina will have two armies - the Bosnian Serb Army (BSA) and Federation Army. The most important army in Bosnia over the next year will be NATO.

No one has said yet whether the Implementation Force (IFOR) will be part of law enforcement in Bosnia as the Moslems demanded or will just secure the demarcation lines. It's a public secret that the Bosnians also demanded but didn't get written US promises that their army will receive supplies of sophisticated weaponry soon. The Clinton administration promised that kind of aid in case the BSA doesn't disarm in accord with the Dayton agreement. That agreement envisages arms control mechanisms which would impose limits on the numbers of tanks, artillery, combat aircraft and helicopters on the warring sides within 180 days. If the three sides can't agree on those limits an automatic limit falls into place which the FRY, Croatia and Bosnia agreed to in Ohio.

The least mentioned issue in the 48 hours following Dayton was the one that most occupied negotiators over the past year: confederal links between the FRY and RS, i.e. Federation and Croatia. The constitutional agreement has the most unknown details, including some key details. Bosnia is supposed to get a two chamber parliament with two thirds of its members elected from the Federation and a three member presidency (a Serb, Croat and Moslem), a ministerial council (government), constitutional court, central bank and single currency. The central authorities will have control over foreign policy, customs, immigration, monetary policies, implementation of international law, traffic between the entities, control of air traffic and international financial obligations. Only the details of the agreement will show whether Bosnia will be a loose confederacy with the RS having a high degree of autonomy which will allow it to leave painlessly one day or will be a serious state. Robert Haydn, law professor at the University of Pittsburgh saw a draft of the agreement early in November. He said that document, which may have suffered numerous changes meanwhile, minimizes the Geneva and New York agreements and imposes a strong central authority. For example, the RS right to veto a presidency decision is minimized with an article that says disputes are left to the arbitration of the constitutional court. Since that court includes four representatives of the international community, Haydn said, the Moslems would need only one vote to get a ruling it their favor. He also warned of a trap in the article that says the quorum in parliament is a simple majority. That means parliament can legitimately meet without a single Serb member.

Just before this war began, the parliament in Bosnia took decision without its Serb members (the memorandum on sovereignty, decision to hold a referendum on independence, declaration of independence). In that case, the right of Serb parliament members to vote against any decision loses all meaning.

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