November 21, 1995 -- Dayton Peace Agreement initialed
The Dayton Peace Agreement is initialed at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base, near Dayton, Ohio, ending three and a half years of war in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Though the basic concepts of the Dayton Agreement began to appear in international talks beginning in 1992, the negotiations were initiated following the unsuccessful previous peace efforts and arrangements, the August 1995 Croatian military Operation Storm and its aftermath, the government military offensive against the Republika Srpska, in concert with NATO's Operation Deliberate Force, of which EUCOM played a major role.
During September and October 1995, many of the world powers (especially the US and Russia), gathered in the Contact Group, applied intense pressure to the leaders of the three sides to attend the negotiations in Dayton, Ohio.
The conference took place from Nov. 1-21, 1995. The main participants from the region were Serbian President Slobodan Milošević (representing the Bosnian Serb interests due to absence of Karadžić), Croatian President Franjo Tuđman, and Bosnian President Alija Izetbegović with Bosnian Foreign Minister Muhamed Sacirbey.
The agreement's main purpose is to promote peace and stability in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and to endorse regional balance in and around the former Republic of Yugoslavia.
The present political divisions of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its structure of government were agreed upon as part the constitution that makes up Annex 4 of the General Framework Agreement concluded at Dayton. A key component of this was the delineation of the Inter-Entity Boundary Line, to which many of the tasks listed in the Annexes referred.
The State of Bosnia Herzegovina was set as of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina and of the Republika Srpska. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a complete state, as opposed to a confederation; no entity or entities could ever be separated from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Although highly decentralized in its entities, it would still retain a central government, with a rotating State Presidency, a central bank and a constitutional court.
The agreement mandated a wide range of international organizations to monitor, oversee, and implement components of the agreement. The NATO-led IFOR (Implementation Force) was responsible for implementing military aspects of the agreement and deployed Dec. 20, 1995, taking over the forces of the UNPROFOR. The Office of the High Representative was charged with the task of civil implementation. The OSCE was charged with organizing the first free elections in 1996.
Since the Dayton Peace Accords were signed the United States has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to help with reconstruction, humanitarian assistance, economic development, and military reconstruction in Bosnia and Herzegovina.