Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Haris Silajdic at Wilson Center

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Haris Silajdic at Wilson Center

Article excerpt

Haris Silajdic at Wilson Center

The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars hosted Haris Silajdic, co-prime minister of the Federation of Bosnia, for an overview of the "Continuing Bosnian Peace Process," May 15 at the Smithsonian Institution's S. Dillon Ripley Center in Washington, DC.

Silajdic opened his remarks by observing that Americans might be surprised to find that in Bosnia "the situation on the ground does not reflect the pessimism" currently prevalent in the media. This pessimistic view, he said, reflects the fact that Bosnia still is "either misunderstood or unknown -- even by its neighbors." Calling the five-year war there a "gross political miscalculation [on Belgrade's part] that cost 200,000 lives," Prime Minister Silajdic observed that "Bosnia has been around for the last 1,000 years and will continue to be so." The country's postwar international boundaries "changed almost nothing, except on the Adriatic," he added, and Bosnians intend that they will stay that way.

Noting that the Dayton accords ending the conflict stated that Bosnia-Herzegovina "continues as a state," Silajdic welcomed the U.S. description of his country as "one state comprising two multiethnic entities." He emphasized the importance of implementing the accords, saying, "The international community must pay attention, must have a sense of urgency," or risk endangering peace. …

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