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Bosnia and Herzegovina

In 1994, at the height of the ethnic violence in the Balkans, The Carter Center was a neutral mediator that brokered a four-month cease-fire.

Waging Peace

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter traveled to the former Yugoslavia in December 1994 to support efforts to help end the fighting there. The Carters, who went as private citizens accompanied by Carter Center staff, succeeded in brokering a four-month cease-fire agreement and a pledge from all sides to resume peace talks. The Center's Conflict Resolution Program had monitored developments in the region since February 1993.

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President Carter held extensive discussions with the presidents of Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia; the U.N. special representative for the former Yugoslavia; and many other interested parties. After two days of talks, the leaders of Bosnia's Muslim-led government and the Bosnian Serbs reached agreement on a cease-fire and on the resumption of peace talks under the auspices of the multinational Contact Group. Although fighting escalated after the cease-fire expired in May 1995, Carter Center staff worked to keep the lines of communication open among the parties in Bosnia, the U.S. State Department, and the United Nations.

In June 1995, President Carter and Gen. John Galvin, former supreme allied commander in Europe, testified jointly in hearings before the Senate Armed Services Committee, urging that U.S. influence be used to bring warring Muslims, Croats, and Serbs back to the negotiating table; that U.N. peacekeepers not be withdrawn from the country; and that the international arms embargo not be lifted. The hearing marked the first time President Carter had testified before a congressional committee and made him the first former president since Harry Truman to testify on Capitol Hill.

The U.S. government hosted talks for 21 days in November 1995 in Dayton, Ohio, resulting in a peace agreement among Croatia, Bosnia, and Serbia (representing the Bosnian Serbs) that brought an end to 43 months of fighting and led to the deployment of NATO peacekeepers in Bosnia in preparation for elections scheduled for September 1996.

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QUICK FACTS: BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

Size: 51,197 square kilometers


Population: 3,867,055 (July 2015 est.)


Population below poverty line: 17.2 percent


Life expectancy: 77 years


Unemployment rate: 63 percent


Ethnic groups: Bosniak, Serb, Croat, other


Religions: Muslim, Orthodox, Roman Catholic, other 


Languages: Bosnian (official), Croatian (official), Serbian

Source: U.S. Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook 2015

 

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