Dayton agreement should be changed, hears conference

The Dayton agreement, which put an end to the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1995, should be changed because it cannot respond to challenges the country is facing today, however, its gradual change seems more likely than its radical revision for now, said participants in a conference dedicated to the 20th anniversary of peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo on Monday.
Participating in the conference, organised by Bosna Bank International (BBI) in cooperation with the Malaysian world peace foundation “Perdana” and the Malaysian-Bosnian Business Council, were also a member of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency, Bakir Izetbegovic, former Croatian president Stjepan Mesic, and former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad.
Addressing the conference, Izetbegovic said that a more rational approach to the Dayton agreement could be a solution to the current blockades the state was faced with.
“A more rational approach to analysing relations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and internal evolution through the maturing of democratic forces seem a more successful solution,” said Izetbegovic.
He said that the upgrading of the agreement would be easiest through the integration of the country with the European Union.
Izetbegovic also warned that in the current circumstances one should not expect that Bosnia and Herzegovina’s internal structure would be changed soon.
Former Croatian president Stjepan Mesic, a staunch advocate of the Dayton peace agreement, reiterated his support for the document.
“There can be no progress if one does not give up the country’s division into two entities that constitute a conscious recognition of the war and were founded on war crimes and ethnic cleansing,” said Mesic.
Mesic believes that the solution is to form multiethnic entities guaranteeing the same rights to everyone living in Bosnia and Herzegovina as well as that there should be a more resolute response to those that challenge the functioning of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a state.
“Unfortunately, there are people in responsible positions in Bosnia and Herzegovina who do not recognise it. International instruments should be such to remove such people from politics in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Mesic.
Mahathir Mohamad called on politicians and citizens in Bosnia and Herzegovina to move away from the past and to learn from mistakes made in the past on how to live together in a society that would make progress.
He recalled the example of Japan and Germany, countries that are synonyms for progress today, which he said had achieved it on the basis of internal solidarity as well as a broad cooperation with other countries.