There is small chance that I will spend the rest of my life in Bosnia * There are new rumours in Sarajevo every day * Many of the issues will not be resolved in years to come * I am particularly glad that the people are returning to their homes * Influx of money has not been cut, we are spending over one hundred million Dollars a day * Federation and RS do not believe in Annex 7 anymore * Arbitration cannot be put back at the beginning * Unacceptable trial in Mostar * I am an optimist with regard to future of BiH
SummaryEffective implementation of the civilian part of DPA is linked to the mandate of SFOR in our country. We know the date when SFOR shall leave, but what is not known is to what extent and whether it will be possible in the next fifteen months, if not every single word, then at least the annexes which are of vital interest for bringing to life the BiH as defined by the peace document from Dayton. We tried to find the answers for many of our questions from the High Representative of international community for civilian affairs, Carl Bildt.
I will leave one day
- You haven’t appeared in the local media for a long time now. Why? Shall we regard that as the first step for your leaving BiH?
Not as far as the first step goes, but it is true that my time for communication with the media is limited. I am sorry about that, but that’s the way things are. I had to spend a lot of time travelling to various international meetings abroad and there was a lot of things I had to finish here in Sarajevo, so there was not much time left for the media.
- Is this “no” the answer to the part of question regarding your leaving?
Yes, I will leave one day for sure, but when that will be is not clearly defined yet. Of course, there’s a small chance that I or anyone else from the international community will spend the rest of our lives in BiH.
- Inside the diplomatic circles here in Sarajevo, May was being mentioned as the possible time when you will be leaving?
I would say that those are just rumours, and they were circling here in Sarajevo every day of the last year too. I must say that the rumours from “diplomatic circles in Sarajevo” are very unreliable. I often wonder where do you find these madmen, even when I’m reading some articles from the international press which have the “Sarajevo diplomatic circles” as their source.
- This would be your answer?
For the time being, yes.
Responsibility lies on the leaders
- Many agree with the assessment that the civilian part of Dayton is not implemented in its key points. As a man tasked with its implementation, do you find yourself responsible for that?
No. The main responsibility is on the elected leaders of nations of this country. Presidents of entities, Council of Ministers, governments…
- And what about your role?
We from the international community are here to provide necessary help or assist, which we are doing. And we are doing a lot too. A lot of things are happening, especially in view of economy, that is, economic development, but one can also see progress being made in many other fields. Nevertheless, I think that the process of reconstruction, as well as the building up of the economic system, and reconciliation and reintegration through concrete co-operation also need a push.
- On what are you insisting right now?
We are currently trying to have the newly elected bodies do their work as they should as soon as possible. For instance, it will take a very long time to rebuild this country. There are some positive signs, but the tendencies that drag the country towards ethnic division are still very strong.
- You said “some signs”?
Yes. Some signs. The number of crossings over the IEBL has increased, there is more trade of all sorts. What we are especially pleased with is that the individuals are returning to their homes. What we are talking about here is the minorities. The figure is approximately 10,000 individuals, members of the minorities who have returned. All in all, there is still a lot of work to do.
There shall be no new Dayton
- Dayton 2 is frequently mentioned. Is this just the uninformed guessing or does such an option have a chance?
No. This is out of the question. As far as I remember, the diplomatic circles had speculated on that last year too. I remember very well that we had also said very clearly then that Dayton shall not be changed – it has to be implemented. This is the position of the international community and its policy in Bosnia.
What we are discussing now is the policy in Bosnia, but also in the Balkans and in the longer term, which shall not in any case change our commitments and basic principles of the DPA, as well as our opting for the peace agreement.
- In that case, this new policy does not create the basis for revision of Dayton?!
We are actually adapting ourselves to the situation as things change. If you look at the economic side of it, last year we had crossed over from humanitarian aid to aid in reconstruction, and we are currently turning from reconstruction towards economic reform. We are currently working on the QSP laws. Our basic strategy is to think six, nine, or twelve months ahead.
- Well, do you think that you are actually cutting the thin thread of progress made so far by the decision to postpone the Donors Conference? Is the Serbs’ absence of co-operation a reason enough to cut the influx of money to the BiH Federation too? Is this a “useful” decision?
This influx of money is not cut. We are currently spending over one hundred million Dollars a month.
- I was referring to the situation when this money was spent [sic!].
Yes. If this situation goes on, that is, with no holding of the Donors Conference, then we might have negative effects.
We are continuously applying strong pressure on the BiH Presidency and the Council of Ministers for adoption of the most fundamental laws, so that the state could function. We are talking about laws on foreign trade, customs, and the Central Bank, and the state budget must also be established. When we achieve all this, then the money will be spent in the right way. Of course, these are the preconditions for holding of the conference.
Refugees in their homes
- The Law on Purchase of Apartments is about to be adopted by the Federation Parliament. What is the fate of your proposal that only the pre-war decisions on occupancy right should be regarded as valid?
We are still working on that and the law is not adopted yet. The possible return of refugees also depends on solving this complex issue. The other day the ombudsperson brought a very important decision regarding the property law, which practically says that the existing laws violate the Peace Agreement and make it difficult for refugees to return. Our task is to follow the Peace Agreement and enable those refugees who wish to return to their homes to do so.
- What if the entities still vote for the laws in accordance with the current proposal?
In that case it means that the Federation and RS are violating the Peace Agreement, and such an action may be considered that the Federation and RS do not believe in Annex 7 anymore. That would be going outside the fundamental part of the Peace Agreement.
- Although it would be better to put this question to your second deputy, Mr. Farrand, but what are in your opinion the chances for a successful supervision in Brcko?
I think that they are very good. Perhaps I sound too optimistic, but I think I have grounds for that. A lot of people are comparing the situation in Brcko with the situation in Mostar and asking why we should succeed in Brcko if we have problems in Mostar. I think the advantage here is that the Arbitration cannot be turned back in time so that one could apply the situation before March 15 next year. For the time being, we have certain co-operation from Republika Srpska, and this is going to be a step-by-step process requiring a lot of patience and understanding from all of us.
I think that all parties will co-operate, because there is actually no other viable alternative. It does not exist.
Karadzic in Hague
- You have mentioned Mostar. Is the progress with the joint police just a small step, or a good step in the right direction?
This is a step in the right direction, but there is still a lot more of them that we must make. We are already having problems. We’ve had an unacceptable trial, and the policemen guilty of the February 10 shooting are now free. We will come back to that question and see what can be done.
- On several occasions you publicly stated the need for the action of arresting those accused for war crimes. The majority of them are still at large. For how long?
I am concerned with that situation. In some of the areas in BiH, these criminals still hold their posts: in Bosanski Samac, Foca, Vitez…Most of them still carry on with their duties and are accepted members of the society.
We also have some more prominent cases, such as Karadzic. We have talked about that at the meeting of the Steering Board last week in Istanbul and discussed further measures. I think that the position of the international community has “converged and hardened” enough on that issue. I am sure that all of them will get to see the Hague one day, but I’m not so sure about the Dutch tulips.
Bosnia has a good future
- Is the current political situation in BiH moving towards a possible division of our country?
The war has divided the land, and until last year we exclusively had the trend of ethnic separation. It takes time to definitely change this situation, but I am sure that all those who are in this see for themselves that division cannot be a solution which will succeed. What we must all do is create living conditions in peacetime, and in such a surrounding everyone will see that integration is more important than reintegration [sic!]. It is going to be a long and maybe painful process, but inevitable. One only needs to look beyond the borders of BiH and see integration processes happening. I am an optimist with regard to future of BiH. This country has a good future for sure. I think that the stories about division of BiH will finish as just stories.
- Annex 7 of the DPA is still on hold. Does the death of Annex 7 mean the death of Dayton?
No, I don’t think so. First of all, all refugees do not want to return, and for those who intend to plan their future in BiH we must create all economic, social, and political preconditions so that they could fulfil their plans. Some of them might choose to stay in foreign countries, although I hope that many of them will still choose BiH. In any case, a situation favourable for return must be created.
- What, or maybe who represents the biggest obstacle to return of refugees?
The problem is actually the resistance of the majority to return of minorities. I will tell you openly that this resistance is the biggest in Croat territories, the second biggest is in Serb territories, and is also present in Bosniak parts. This must change and will.