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Saturday, 18 November, 2000, 17:04 GMT
Bosnia peacemaker sees Dayton flaws
Ruins at former front line, Sarajevo
The scars of war remain in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo
US ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke has called for the Dayton accord which ended the Bosnia war to be improved.


We must seek to correct those flaws and defects which have become apparent over time

Richard Holbrooke
Mr Holbrooke said Bosnia should have a united army instead of the current forces divided between the country's three ethnic groups - Serbs, Croats and Muslims.

And he called for an end to corruption, the return of refugees, the promotion of press freedom and the arrest of people indicted for war crimes.

Mr Holbrooke was speaking at the start of a two-day conference in Dayton to mark the fifth anniversary of the signing of the accord, which he produced with Balkan leaders after three weeks of negotiation.

He told almost 200 Balkan leaders and officials attending the conference that Dayton should adapt to changing circumstances.

Dayton "is a living document that must adapt to new realities and confront new challenges as Bosnia grows and matures", he said.

Flaws

"We must not only implement [it] fully, we must seek to correct those flaws and defects which have become apparent over time," he added.

RIchard Holbrooke
Mr Holbrooke says Bosnia should have a single army
Mr Holbrooke described the existence of three armies as the most serious flaw in the agreement.

Without a plan to combine them into a single force Nato would never be able to reduce its own forces without the risk of renewed conflict, he said.

Mr Holbrooke also called for more action to bring indicted war criminals to justice.

"Their continued presence at large is a symbol of defiance against the international community," he said.

Twenty-six of the 94 suspects publicly indicted by the Hague war crimes tribunal remain at large, including former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, Bosnian Serb army chief Ratko Mladic and former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic.

Nationalists

But Mr Holbrooke said that the strong showing of hard-line nationalists in elections last weekend, including by a party founded by Mr Karadzic, would be short-lived.

Ballot box being emtied
The recent election strengthened Serb and Croat nationalists
"They [the nationalist parties] should understand that the long-term future is definitely against them," he said.

The accord brought an end to the three-year war in which 250,000 people died and two million were driven from their homes.

It redrew the map of Bosnia, giving half the country to Serbs and the other half to a federation of Muslims and Croats.

The three ethnic groups have considerable autonomy in their own areas but share a central federal presidency.

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See also:

15 Nov 00 | Europe
Bosnia: The legacy of war
15 Nov 00 | Europe
UN regrets at Bosnia poll result
20 Oct 00 | Europe
Row over Kostunica's Bosnia visit
14 Oct 00 | Europe
Bosnia war: Main players
09 Oct 00 | Europe
Serbs shown war crimes film
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