I am delighted to have been asked to write a foreword to Dr John Yarwood's book on the reconstruction of Mostar, in which he played such a major part.
Before the war in Bosnia and Hercegovina, Mostar had been a fully multi-ethnic, multi-confessional city with a very high percentage of mixed marriages. It was also a beautiful city with a mixture of Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian architecture. It was then ravaged by two wars. The first, when the Croats and the Bosniaks (Muslims) fought together defending Mostar against the Serbs from April until early July 1992, and the second the conflict between the Croats and the Bosniaks from May 1993 until February 1994.
Although it was not a civil war in Bosnia, the conflict in Mostar had all the characteristics of a civil war. This was a city which had the largest number of mixed marriages in the former Yugoslavia and at the time of the 1991 census, had a population consisting of 35 per cent Muslim, 34 per cent Croat, 19 per cent Serbs and the remainder Jews and Yugoslavs. These were people who had lived together, gone to school together, worked together and intermarried—killing each other, and the fighting in Mostar was very fierce. Thus the wounds were deep in such a small city where most people knew each other or at least of each other.
At the end of this fighting Mostar was the most destroyed city in Bosnia and totally divided. (The confrontation line had run down the line of the River Neretva, which flows through the centre of Mostar, but there had been a significant Bosniak enclave West of the river.) This division between the Croats and Bosniaks affected every single walk of life—the ruling structures, the administration, the police, the army, the judicial system, currency and freedom of movement.
The Washington Agreement was signed on 16 March 1994, which brought the Federation between the Croat and Bosniak communities in Bosnia and Hercegovina into being. It was decided that Mostar should be administered for a period of time by an international body because it was recognised that Mostar was the most deeply divided city in the Federation, though it was crucial to that Federation. Thus, the EU took on the responsibility of administering Mostar, and Mr Hans Koschnick from Germany, and the former Mayor of Bremen, who was to achieve such remarkable results, over the next two years, was inaugurated as the Administrator of Mostar on 23 July 1994.
The Administrator had wide powers, bestowed on him by an internationally signed Memorandum of Understanding, and essentially he was given the political aim of unifying the city. Among the aims and principles enshrined in the Memorandum of Understanding was to work towards a single, self-sustaining and multi-ethnic administration of the city, to hold democratic elections before the end