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U.N. Security Council Extends European Force in Bosnia

22 November 2005

Resolution also welcomes start of Bosnian negotiations with European Union

Washington -- The United Nations Security Council on November 21 passed a resolution extending the mission of the European Union’s peacekeeping force in Bosnia and Herzegovina for another 12 months.

The 7,000-member force, known as EUFOR, has patrolled Bosnia since December 2004, when the European Union (EU) took over security duties from the NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR).  The EU peacekeeping mission is called Operation Althea, named for the ancient Greek goddess of healing.

The Security Council approved the extension of EUFOR on the 10th anniversary of the Dayton Peace Accords.  The historic peace agreement -- initialed November 21, 1995 -- ended the 3 1/2 years of war in Bosnia that claimed more than 200,000 lives and resulted in the deployment of 60,000 peacekeepers. (See related article.)

In 2004, the Security Council authorized the European Union to replace NATO as the primary military body enforcing the Dayton accords. NATO still maintains a headquarters presence in Bosnia.

In its November 21 resolution, the Security Council also welcomed the European Union’s decision in October to open negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina for a Stabilization and Association Agreement, which would result in closer EU ties if the Bosnian government can meet certain thresholds of democracy and economic reforms.

The Security Council “reiterates that the primary responsibility for the further successful implementation of the [Dayton] peace agreement lies with the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina themselves,” according to the text of the resolution.

It also says that the continued willingness of the international community to maintain reconstruction missions in Bosnia will be determined by “the compliance and active participation” of Bosnian authorities in implementing the Dayton Peace Accords and rebuilding a civil society.  The resolution specifically calls for Bosnians to cooperate with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, strengthen joint institutions and facilitate returns of refugees and displaced persons.

The full text of Resolution 1639 is available on the U.N. Web site.

The EUFOR Web site has more information on the European Union military force in Bosnia.

For more information on U.S. policy in the region, see Balkans.

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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