International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

O'Brien- Dayton is not the problem, country’s political leaders are

February 2, 2024

James O’Brien, the Assistant Secretary of State said in Bosnia that he was aware of the Dayton Peace Agreement’s shortfalls and that it did stop the war and kept peace till this day, which can not be said for other conflicts. He also spoke about the Office of the High Representative and attempts to discredit this institution – warning that the US will not tolerate this, as it did not do so in the 1990s.

“We must not forget that during the period immediately following the signing of Dayton, significant, meaningful progress was achieved – from reconstruction of the war-torn country to building of state-level institutions necessary to chart the country’s course towards Euro-Atlantic integration. Dayton is not the problem; the country’s political leaders are the problem,” he reaffirmed.


“Let me now take a moment to address false claims about the Office of the High Representative. Dayton includes Annex 10, in which the Parties ‘request the designation of a High Representative” who would have “final authority … regarding the interpretation of this Agreement on the civilian implementation of the peace settlement.’ This includes what are called the Bonn Powers, a plenary and far-reaching authority, which he can and should use when necessary. When he does, the United States will support him,” O’Brien noted.

He also touched upon the talks that the UN Security Council must appoint the High Representative, stressing that this is wrong.

Under Dayton, neither international troop presences nor the OHR were to be decided by the UNSC. When the UN Secretary-General was asked this question just last July, he provided a clear and definitive answer: the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board is the relevant body for the appointment of the High Representative. Any other answer is flat wrong,” the Assistant Secretary pointed out.

“All the misleading, false claims have a clear objective: to undermine the peace agreement, including state-level institutions, and to enable some to cling to power no matter the price paid by regular citizens. Karadzic, Krajisnik, and others tried the same approach in the 1990s. We will not allow this to happen. I’ll repeat what Ambassador Murphy has said: the United States is resolute in its commitment to the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and multiethnic character of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” he stated.

Leaders should be fostering reconciliation, he added, making compromises, and bringing to BiH the economic prosperity the citizens of this country want and deserve. Instead, he noted. nationalist politicians are attempting to weaken institutions, threatening succession, or fanning the flames of distrust and division.

Source:  https://n1info.ba/english/news/obrien-countrys-political-leaders-are/

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