REPORT OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL
“THE SITUATION IN THE REPUBliC OF BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA”
TO THE TWENTY-SIXTH SESSION OF THE ISLAMIC CONFERENCE OF FOREIGN MINISTERS
OUAGADOUGOU – BURKINA FASO, 28 JUNE – 1 JULY 1999
The Organization of the Islamic Conference has paid special attention to the question of Bosnia and Herzegovina since the country became independent and joined the UN as a full member in 1992. This attention was heightened immediately following the launching of the brutal Serbian aggression against this newly independent State. It soon became clear that the aim was to annihilate the Bosnian people, dismember their state and obliterate their cultural civilization and potentialities.
2. The great sympathy expressed by the Islamic Ummah for Bosnia was given effective political content as successive Islamic Conferences looked into the Bosnian question and adopted several important resolutions supporting it. The Extraordinary OIC Ministerial Conference held in Istanbul in 1992 decided to set up an Ad-Hoc Committee on Bosnia and Herzegovina. Thanks to its efforts, the Contact Group was instrumental in highlighting the legitimate cause of the Bosnian people and in securing recognition by the international community of the need to secure peace with justice in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
3. Several ministerial meetings of the OIC Contact Group took place to evaluate the evolving situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and to adopt a common position in support of the just cause of the Bosnian people during the critical period from 1992 to 1996. Thanks to the efforts made by His Majesty King Hassan II of Morocco during the Seventh Islamic Summit in December 1994, several joint meetings were held at ministerial level with the International Contact Group to convey the position of the OIC on the need to establish peace with justice. On the eve of the formal signing of the Dayton Accord in Paris, a joint meeting of the Islamic Contact Group and the International Contact Group was held in Paris (13 December 1995) in which the two sides emphasized the need to maintain Bosnia as a united country within its internationally recognized frontiers with Sarajevo as its capital, called on all parties to extend full cooperation within the framework of the International Tribunal and agreed to continue to work for the implementation of the peace process.
4. A Peace Implementation Conference was held in London on 8-9 December 1995 to work out the modalities for the implementation of the civilian aspects of the Dayton/Paris Accords. Some OIC Member States and the General Secretariat participated in the meeting. The Conference decided to set up a Peace Implementation Council (PIC) composed of those States, international organizations and agencies attending the conference to request the International Conference on Former Yugoslavia (ICFY) to review the implementation of the peace agreement. The Conference also decided to establish a Steering Board (of PIC) composed of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, United Kingdom, Presidency of the European Union, European Commission and the OIC (represented by Turkey) under the chairmanship of the High Representative to give political guidance and keep the (PIC) fully informed of the progress in peace implementation.
5. In accordance with the Dayton/Paris Accords, the international community committed itself to a comprehensive reconstruction programme to ensure the success of the peace process. Several meetings of donors were held in Brussels, during which a number of members of the international community pledged to make contributions to that effect. Major donor countries emphasized that international efforts to aid reconstruction in Bosnia and Herzegovina would be closely linked to compliance with the conditions stipulated in the peace agreement.
6. Similarly, the Assistance Mobilization Group (AMG) for Bosnia and Herzegovina set up at the Special Meeting of the Islamic Contact Group and the Troop Contributing Countries within the International Peace Keeping Force, which was held in Kuala Lumpur on 14 September 1995, held several meetings to mobilize assistance in the humanitarian, economic, legal and defence fields for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Contributors to this effort included, besides the Member States, the Islamic Development Bank and the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
7. The issue of Bosnia and Herzegovina has also been the subject of active consideration at the OIC Annual Coordination Meetings of Ministers of Foreign Affairs held at the UN Headquarters in New York during the General Assembly sessions since 1992. The OIC Annual Coordination Meeting of Foreign Ministers which was held in New York on 2 October, 1997 welcomed the participation in the meeting for the first time of a delegation from Bosnia and Herzegovina representing all the three ethnic communities of the country.
8. The Eighth Session of the Islamic Summit Conference held in Tehran, in December 1997 adopted Resolution No. 7/8-P(IS) on Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Summit reaffirmed the commitment of OIC Member States to the legal continuity, integrity and sovereignty of the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina within its internationally recognized borders. It emphasized the importance of accelerating the process towards the effective, constructive and impartial implementation of the Dayton Peace Accord and urged the international community to support the peaceful and democratic reconstruction of the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It stressed the vital importance of ensuring freedom of movement throughout the country and the return of refugees and displaced persons to their places of origin under safe and secure conditions. It called on the international community to support the common institutions so they can perform their work dynamically and effectively for the smooth reintegration of the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina. It urged the international community to take concrete measures for the arrest of all indicted war criminals.
9. The OIC Contact Group on Bosnia and Herzegovina met at ministerial level in Doha, State of Qatar, in March 1998, and adopted a recommendation to the Twenty-fifth ICFM, on the Plan of Action for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
10. The Twenty-fifth Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers held in Doha, State of Qatar, in March 1998, adopted a Resolution No. 7/25-P on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in which it urged all countries and multilateral institutions that have pledged financial resources for the reconstruction of Bosnia and Herzegovina to promptly disburse the funds in order to ensure the timely completion of priority projects. The resolution reiterated the readiness of O1C Member States and institutions to provide resources for the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Bosnia and Herzegovina by promoting bilateral programmes of assistance and cooperation as well as through the OIC Assistance Mobilization Group for Bosnia and Herzegovina, and OIC institutions. It reaffirmed support for the "Equip and Train" programme which will foster long-term regional stability by creating a self-defense capability for the Federation.
11. The Eighth Meeting of the Assistance Mobilization Group for Bosnia and Herzegovina is scheduled to be held in Cairo at the invitation of the Arab Republic of Egypt.
12. The Organization of the Islamic Conference participated in the Fourth Donors’ Pledging Conference for Bosnia and Herzegovina held in Brussels on 7-8 May,1998 on financial support for the economic reform and reconstruction programs in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The meeting emphasized the continued need for full implementation of the Dayton Peace Accord. It noted the progress made in the return of refugees, expressed concern over recent violence in some municipalities of Bosnia and Herzegovina and urged the authorities to improve the security conditions and administrative arrangements to facilitate the return of refugees.
13. The Secretary General went to Sarajevo on an official visit from 11 to 13 June,1998, at the invitation of H.E. President Alija Izetbegovic. At his meeting with His Excellency the Bosnian President, he reaffirmed the Islamic world’s continued support of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina in its efforts to establish a sovereign, democratic, multi-ethnic and multi-religious State. The Secretary General also met with the Prime Minister Dr. Haris Siladzic and the Head of Sarajevo Province Dr. Midhat Haracic. They discussed the current situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and bilateral cooperation between the OIC and the Bosnian Government. Later the Secretary General met the UN High Representative in Bosnia Mr. Carlos Westerndrop. During the meeting the Secretary General stressed the necessity of full and effective implemntation of the Dayton Peace Accord, particularly its civilian aspects, and reiterated the OIC’s commitment to cooperate with the international community and fully participate in implementing the said Accord.
14. General elections were held in Bosnia in September 1998 and enjoyed wide participation.
15. The OIC Annual Coordination Meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs held at the UN Headquarters on 25 September 1998, endorsed the recommendations contained in the report of the Contact Group, reaffirmed the commitment of the OIC Member States to the integrity and sovereignty of the State of Bosnia and Herzegovina within its internationally recognized borders and fully supported the establishment of a democratic, multi-ethnic and multi- cultural Bosnia-Herzegovina.
16. The Contact Group emphasized the crucial role of the International Tribunal in promoting peace, justice and reconciliation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the region as a whole. In this context, it expressed grave concern over the failure to hand over indicted war criminals to the Tribunal, and urged the international community to take resolute action for the prosecution of those criminals.
17. The Contact Group emphasized the importance of increasing cooperation with Bosnia and Herzegovina in various fields by promoting bilateral programmes of assistance. It also expressed satisfaction at the role played by the Assistance Mobilization Group and the OIC institutions in mobilizing assistance for the priority projects identified by the Bosnian authorities. It welcomed the reaffirmation, by the Arab Republic of Egypt, of its readiness to host the 8th meeting of the said Group as soon as possible.
18. The meeting urged support for economic recovery in Bosnia and Herzegovina by promoting investment so that the country can face up to its present economic difficulties considering the key role of economic revitalization in consolidating peace and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
19. The Contact Group recommended to expand the terms of reference of the OIC Contact Group on Bosnia and Herzegovina to include Kosovo, and to request that the said Group resume contacts with its counterpart, i.e. the International Contact Group, with a view to coordinating and following up action on the situation in Kosovo, especially as the events taking place there may have a negative effect on Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Balkan region as a whole.
20. The OIC Contact Group on Bosnia and Herzegovina, met at the Ambassadorial level at the United Nations Headquarters on 7 October 1998, to exchange of the views on the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.
21. The members of the Contact Group discussed in detail the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina and expressed serious concern over the FRY’s continued non-compliance with the demands of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia for the arrest and apprehension of persons indicted for violations of human rights and other crimes. In this context the Meeting requested sending a letter to the President of the Security Council by the Chairman of the Islamic Group.
22. The Steering Board of the Peace Implementation Council which the Republic of Turkey representing of the Organization of the Islamic Conference held several meetings to review the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. They marked the difficulties for the return of refugees and they considered that the election was modest but useful gain, notably in development of political pluralism. They insisted that all office holders will be expected to act in accordance with Constitutional Principles and Peace Accord. They continued to emphasis the principle of conditionality. Those who complied with Dayton accords will be rewarded and take action against those leaders who violated the peace accord.
23. On December 1998 the Peace Implementation Council (PIC) held its meeting in Madrid. At the meeting the progress towards the implementation of the Peace Accord was appreciated but at the same time the difficulties face ahead and without international support it might collapse. Efforts and concrete action are needed in the area of reconciliation fight against organized crimes and indicted war criminal should be brought to justice and refugees should be returned. The Council reaffirmed the establishment of a rule of law, strengthening the common institutions, self-sustaining free market economy was considered as vital for institution of a free and democratic society.
24. When the Dayton accord was signed in late 1995, the question of international arbitration of Brcko Municipality left for the future. On the 5th of March 1999, the President of Arbitrator for Brcko Arbitral Tribunal announced its decision and stated that Brcko Municipality, which Dayton accord left between the two entities, now reassembled as self-governing “Neutral District”. In order to remove the obstruction, control of the region will be placed in the hand of a new multi-ethnic district government under intensified international supervision and beyond the control of either entity.
25. The OIC has, since the beginning of the tragic conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina, consistently supported the just cause of the Bosnian people and forcefully stressed the need for establishing peace with justice, especially ensuring the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina within its international borders. At this critical juncture, the OIC must continue to play an active role in the implementation phase of the peace agreement.
26. The Secretary General submits this Report to the Twenty-sixth Session of the Islamic Conference of Foreign Ministers for consideration and appropriate decision.