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The Dayton agreement: A major step on the road to peace

24-11-1995 News Release 1803

The agreement signed in Dayton, Ohio on 21 November by the Presidents of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia and Serbia is without doubt  the biggest step yet towards a peace settlement in the former Yugoslavia. There is now every reason to hope that the four years of bitter fighting are nearing an end.

The ICRC warmly welcomes the endeavours made in the pursuit of peace. However it remains concerned for the population whose physical and psychological resources have been exhausted by years of conflict. It is now time to find ways to heal the deep wounds left by hatred, violence, captivity, misery, uncertainty and the loss of so many loved ones.

Says Cornelio Sommaruga, President of the ICRC: " We have  been working in the former Yugoslavia since 1991 to protect and assist people affected by the conflict on all sides: those who have suffered detention and separation from their next-of-kin; those who have been displaced or have sought refuge elsewhere; and persecuted minorites. We are  well aware that the road to peace and a future when the people can once again live in safety and dignity is long and fraught with difficulties. We hope that the political will expressed in Dayton will ease the distress of the people the ICRC has been supporting in their struggle for survival. The ICRC is determined to play its role in the common effort to help the region return to normality. "