Unofficial Transcript: Pardew, Clark, Barry at CSCE Bosnia Hearing
(June 13: Implementation of Dayton accord, U.S. military presence)
The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) held a hearing June 13 on the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina under the Dayton Agreement. A panel -- including Ambassador James Pardew of the State Department, General Wesley Clark, former NATO supreme allied commander Europe, and Robert Barry of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) -- discussed the current status of Dayton implementation and the United States' military presence in Bosnia.
Pardew, deputy special advisor to the President and Secretary of State for Kosovo and Dayton implementation, described the 1995 Dayton Agreement as a "work in progress." He discussed how "a fundamental problem with Dayton implementation is that many of the political leaders in Bosnia have not fully accepted the concept of Bosnia as a state.... It's this serious lack of vision and tolerance, failure to compromise, and most of all an unwillingness of many of these leaders to wholeheartedly embrace democracy and a market-oriented economy that has so badly slowed progress in Bosnia."
Barry, head of the OSCE mission to Bosnia, said that, rather than replacing the Dayton Agreement with a new accord, as some have suggested, "we must continue to insist on implementation of what was signed," and that Bosnia's leaders must "go down the path of cooperation, accountability and political transparency."
The panel also agreed that a U.S. military presence is crucial to the stability of Bosnia. General Clark said that "the work for political and economic transformation cannot be done in Bosnia without continued military support." When asked about the risks involved with military support, he said, "we have historically overstated in our own minds the degree of risk that was involved in helping the transformation of this country.... The risks are manageable."
"If the United States were to withdraw its forces unilaterally," said Clark, "breaking its commitments with its NATO partners on the ground, what you have on the ground in Bosnia is an enormous security vacuum in one of the most sensitive regions of Bosnia.... It would be viewed as the limited staying power of a nation that articulates a commitment to high values and human rights and high principles, but doesn't want to stay and see through the real world problems of trying to help participate in the political redevelopment and reengineering of a war-torn society."
According to the panel, military support from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia for Bosnian Serbs has slowed down the democratization process in Bosnia. "Any solution [to Bosnia] requires a fundamental change in Belgrade," said Clark. "[Yugoslavian President Slobodan] Milosevic needs to go to The Hague and stand trial" as an indicted war criminal.
"The detention of the indicted war criminal suspects is absolutely essential in moving forward with the process of political redevelopment in Bosnia," Clark said.
Following is an unofficial transcript of the hearing from Federal News Service:
PANEL I OF A HEARING OF THE COMMISSION ON SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN
WITNESSES: JAMES PARDEW, DEPUTY SPECIAL ADVISOR TO THE PRESIDENT AND SECRETARY OF STATE FOR KOSOVO AND DAYTON IMPLEMENTATION; GEN. WESLEY CLARK, FORMER SUPREME ALLIED COMMANDER, EUROPE; ROBERT BARRY, ORGANIZATION FOR SECURITY AND COOPERATION IN EUROPE (OSCE)
REP. SMITH: The commission will come to order. Good afternoon, everybody. Today's hearing is on Bosnia's future under the Dayton agreement. Five years ago, Bosnia, as we all know, was still at war. Bihac was still under siege. Srebrenica was about to be taken. Serb militants were confident in their holdings of over 70 percent of the country. Soon, however, a joint Bosnian-Croatian offensive would combine with robust NATO air intervention to end the fighting. And by the end of 1995, the political agreement formally ending the conflict was reached in Dayton and signed in Paris.
The end of almost four years of hostilities was certainly a reason for relief. But for many of us, and I am sure for many Bosnians, there was no sense of triumph. Dayton involved compromises, including the division of the country into two entities which reflected the horrific realities caused by aggression and ethnic cleansing. Dayton involved negotiating directly with Slobodan Milosevic, the person most responsible for instigating the conflict in the first place, elevating his status in the process. Most of all, Dayton was late. The international community, led by the United States, could have and should have intervened decisively in the first year of the conflict. Instead the world watched people lose their homes, lose their friends and relatives, and lose their lives while political leaders abroad accepted efforts to blame the horror on history and not on the thugs behind the guns.
Instead the world waited until Bosnia became more expensive to clean up, and put peacekeeping forces in a more precarious position than they otherwise would have found.
Fortunately, however, Dayton maintained Bosnia-Herzegovina in a single state in principle. Dayton foresaw this state as democratic in principle. People would be allowed to return to their original homes, at least in principle. In short, just as the Helsinki Final Act and so many other international documents, Dayton is what you make of it: it is a struggle to turn words into deeds.
The international community can rightfully point to successes, albeit in incremental steps. Many of the leading extremists have been marginalized, although some of them indicted for war crimes and genocide remain at large. There are increasing signs of support for moderate political opinions, even though ethnically-based parties remain entrenched in power and their own corruption. Recently there has been an upswing in returns, although minority returns have traditionally been so low that an upswing isn't saying all that much. In my view these successes are reason for hope but not for satisfaction.
Moreover, these successes only provide hope that Bosnia will not disintegrate as a state under the international community's continued care. They do not guarantee that Bosnia will strengthen as a state emerging independent from that care, and that should be our goal.
At this hearing of the Helsinki Commission we hope to hear whether such a goal can be reached under the Dayton agreement with all of its contradictions and compromises. We hope to learn more about the Bosnians themselves and what they are doing. Are they slowly but surely accepting the realities of ethnic division? Are they slowly but surely reestablishing those ties which once made Bosnia the home of a successful multi-ethnic society before the conflict was imported? We also hope to learn more about what the international community is doing and what differences its actions are really making.
Our first panel is composed of various representatives of the international community. First we have asked Ambassador James Pardew, the principal deputy special advisor to the president and secretary of State for Kosovo and Dayton implementation. The ambassador will present the views of the administration and U.S. policy to Bosnia and Dayton implementation.
Next we will have U.S. Army General Wesley Clark who until recently served as supreme allied commander in Europe. General, you are distinguished not only by your rank but also by your extraordinary work and by your expertise. You have had the Balkans as your portfolio since the Bosnian conflict, as well as before Dayton was even envisaged. So your insights into the region will be most welcome.
Our final panel member includes Ambassador Robert Barry, who is in his third year as head of the OSCE mission to Bosnia. While the mission has many tasks, its leading ones are human rights, democracy building and elections, all of which are crucial to Bosnia's future, and we look forward to your views as well. I would like to yield to my good friend and colleague, the ranking member, Mr. Hoyer, the gentleman from Maryland.
REP. HOYER: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And I want to join with you in welcoming Ambassador Pardew and General Clark and Ambassador Barry to our hearing. Each will have I know a great deal of substance to offer this commission.
Mr. Chairman, as you know, it's been 15 years that I have served on the Helsinki Commission, 10 of those years as chair. And during that time no single foreign policy issue has consumed my attention, or frankly the attention of this commission, as the struggle to say not only Bosnia but the very Helsinki Principles which were threatened by the aggression against that country.
In the early years the international response could only be described as feckless in my opinion. Once the United States, however, decided to get involved, however much has been accomplished, our forces on the ground, our people in the field, and our policymakers who have developed the strategy for isolating and marginalizing nationalist extremists, and if indicted apprehending them as well deserve recognition and support. I congratulate all of those who once our policies were decided acted to implement those policies effectively.
I hope, however, that no one is satisfied with what has been achieved, because it is far too little. Indeed we should have a zero option for Bosnia, which would mean zero displaced persons, zero barriers to safe internal movement for each citizen throughout the country, zero indicted persons at large, zero tolerance of discrimination based upon ethnicity and nationality.
All the money and all the people we devote to Bosnia becoming meaningless if our policy falls short of doing the right thing. The biggest obstacle to Dayton implementation in my view remains the continued presence of Slobodan Milosevic and his regime in Belgrade. This year we have seen the enormous benefits of positive change in Croatia. There was a story in today's front page of the Washington Post, and it showed how Mr. Tudjman, like so many venal leaders, robbed his citizens blind.
Democratic change in Serbia is even more critical. Whether one has fallen to its propaganda machine or to the weaponry of his murderous minions, all the people of Bosnia had been victims of Milosevic and his politics of genocide.
Today the Serbian media and Serbian students are stopped for speaking the truth about the self-proclaimed defender of Serb interests. I would say as an aside I had the opportunity of meeting with some Serbian Americans -- Rod Blagojevich, Congressman Blagojevich from Chicago, had them meet with him. And I made it clear to them that although I was a very great opponent of Milosevic and of those who are associated with Milosevic, and frankly those who supported Milosevic's continuing in power, I was not an opponent of the Serbian people. I think we need to make that clear. And it was their sentiment as well that the United States was not doing enough to rid Serbia of Milosevic. I think I share that view notwithstanding my recognition of the difficulty of accomplishing that task in the context in which we operate.
Of course change in Serbia will not make all of the problems in the region simply disappear. But it will allow us for the first time to talk about the prospects for long-term stability and true recovery in Southeastern Europe. I look forward, Mr. Chairman, of the detailed presentations of our two panels and their thoughts on Bosnia's future under the Dayton agreement.
Before I close I want to welcome my friend Dr. Haris Silajdzic to the room as well. I think Dr. Silajdzic, Mr. Chairman, has spoken before this commission -- oh, no -- oh, no, he has spoken before this commission much more than twice. I can't talk the times he has spoken, but he has done so in a compelling, focused way. He obviously, as all of us, has his particular perspective. But nevertheless he has raised high the banner on a continuing basis for U.S. and Western action to stop the genocide. While we were too late in doing so, I think all of us agree it's never too late to do the right thing. And United States leadership, and General Clark your leadership, Ambassador Barry, Ambassador Pardew and so many others -- your leadership ultimately I think both in Bosnia and in Kosovo at least stopped the carnage. And we are moving towards a solution, a restoration of civil order and civil society in those two areas. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, for that opportunity.
REP. SMITH: I would just point out one of those times when you were offering the amendment to lift the arms embargo and Dr. Silajdzic was our key witness at that hearing, and at the conclusion of that hearing went to the gallery to watch that debate unfold. So we do -- I welcome you as well. I'd like to yield to --
REP. HOYER: Mr. Chairman, if I could make a comment -- we all remember that. And in my opinion the lifting of the arms embargo -- Senator Dole of course was such a hero on that effort -- Frank participated, others -- when we passed that through the House and it lay over for the August break, in my opinion that was the genesis of the Europeans becoming focused on the Dayton accords, because they believed that the Congress was in fact about to lift the arms embargo. and although we never did pass the legislation, because we did Dayton and went on from there, I think it was a key factor in getting us to Dayton, because the president was able to say to our European allies, if we don't act the United States Congress is going to act unilaterally to lift the embargo so the Bosnian people can defend themselves properly. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for your leadership on that.
REP. SMITH: Commissioner Pitts.
REP. PITTS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for scheduling this important hearing on Bosnia's future under the Dayton agreement. I'd like also to welcome our distinguished panelists. I am looking forward to hearing their testimony. I do not have an opening statement.
REP. SMITH: Thank you very much, Commissioner Pitts. Mr. Wolf?
REP. WOLF: Welcome. I look forward to hearing your comments. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. SMITH: Ambassador Pardew, if you would begin.
MR. PARDEW: Thank you. Mr. Chairman, I am pleased to have this opportunity to speak to you today about our continuing efforts to assist the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina to achieve lasting peace, democracy and prosperity.
Our focus today is the Dayton agreement, and I have to admit that you don't have an unbiased observer here, since General Clark and I were both involved in the shuttle diplomacy prior to the agreement, and 21 days at Dayton. So we are personally associated with that.
I will provide my perspective on what Dayton is, what it's not, and what I see as the key political and economic keys to political and economic progress in Bosnia.
In any discussion of the Dayton agreement it is important to understand both what Dayton is and what it is not. First, Dayton is a cease-fire agreement. Throughout the war the international community made continuous, exhaustive, but ultimately fruitless efforts to end the war -- fruitless until the Dayton agreement finally ended it. The agreement ended the fighting and separated and controlled the constituent and military forces, but it did not identify a winner. The war-time power structure remained in place.
If Bosnia is to become a viable state, it must begin to develop one integrated armed force free of external influences oriented toward NATO and subordinate to national civil authorities. To achieve that goal, Croatia and Serbia must end their military support to national forces in Bosnia. Croatia has just done so. However, the Serb forces in Bosnia remain largely supported and directed from Belgrade.
Secondly, the Dayton agreement is the basic framework for participatory democracy. It's a fairly precise diagram, a schematic for the institutions, political structure and interrelationships required to begin the process of recovery and transition for the people of Bosnia. It is, however, a document of negotiated compromises which decentralize political and economic and military institutions below the state level to the entities. All the parties at Dayton agree that Bosnia-Herzegovina would be one state with two entities and three constituent peoples. All agreed that Dayton described two entities: the Federation and the Republika Srpska, which would have strong powers as well as the central governments which would have strictly limited powers.
Despite the lack of strong central governing institutions, the Dayton agreement has produced important achievements. Let me enumerate just a few: stable security environment; restoration of freedom of movement across the entire country; completion of major structure reconstruction programs; single stable currency; series of international supervised elections; democratic institutions of government at all levels; thousands of refugees have returned.
These and other achievements point to the success of the agreement. However, it is also clearly a work in progress. Just as the Dayton agreement is a sound and practical blueprint for a peaceful, democratic and prosperous Bosnia, it does not resolve every issue nor does it promise that the international community will solve every problem between competing interest groups in the country. That is for the people to resolve in the course of time through democratic processes and elections.
While Dayton does outline the key institutions and responsibilities of a stable democratic state, it is up to the people of Bosnia and the leaders they choose to use the Dayton blueprint to build their new country with its new institutions to take its new place in Europe. A fundamental problem with Dayton implementation is that many of the political leaders in Bosnia have not fully accepted the concept of Bosnia as a state. The leadership simply lacks the will to implement the various elements of Dayton and go beyond Dayton on important issues. In fact, nationalists on all sides cling to the narrow slice of power, never bought on to the promise and potential of the Dayton agreement. It's this serious lack of vision and tolerance, failure to compromise, and most of all an unwillingness of many of these leaders to wholeheartedly embrace democracy and a market- oriented economy that has so badly slowed progress in Bosnia.
After five years, Dayton is only a partial success, but progress does continue. Certainly the pace of implementation is frustratingly slow to many of us, but it must overcome -- Bosnia must overcome three significant obstacles. The first is the war itself. The brutal and lengthy conflict scarred everyone in Bosnia, and the people on all slides have only slowly gained the confidence that war is indeed over. The people of Bosnia are not inherently hostile to each other, nor is future conflict there inevitable. The security of knowing that armed conflict will not begin again is critical for Dayton implementation, and we must ensure that we do nothing to shake that confidence.
The second obstacle is nationalism and intolerance. The sooner the people remove political leaders who inflame ethnic tensions for political gain and replace them with leaders who promote economic and political change, the better we will all be. The nationalists are gradually losing power, but the transition is very slow. Milosevic, as Mr. Hoyer mentioned, continues to cast a dark, evil and disruptive shadow over Serbs in Bosnia. However, the defeat of Radovan Karadzic's SDS party at the entity level in the Republic of Srpska in 1997 and the significant erosion of support for nationalist parties in the federation in this April's election are evidence that people are turning away from the nationalists and their message of ethnic supremacy and division. The recent collapse of the ruling nationalist HDZ party in the neighboring Croatia has accelerated this process and provides and example for other countries in the region of the benefits that can be achieved by embracing democracy and moving toward the Euro-Atlantic mainstream. This message was not lost on the electorate in Bosnia, and we are hopeful that the people in Bosnia will participate fully and actively in all aspects of the democratic process, including elections, to choose the future they want for their country.
A third obstacle to overcome is the legacy of decades of communism in the former Yugoslavia. This legacy continues to hinder our efforts to assist the people to implement the Dayton Agreement. It's clear that even when people of Bosnia are fully overcome both war and nationalism, the struggle toward market-oriented democracy will continue. They lived and were educated for years in a flawed system. The acceptance of authoritarian leadership and party control of the media and economy are hard habits to break. For more than a decade, we've seen other European countries struggle to make progress in creating democratic institutions. Elsewhere in Eastern Europe, corruption and cronyism slowed the already difficult transition from communism to a market economy.
Mr. Chairman, I do not believe that renegotiating the Dayton Agreement is in our interest, as some have suggested. Some want to reopen Dayton as a way to speed up the transition in Bosnia. The agreement is more than adequate to build on as it stands, and reopening it would not address the basic problems I just described. In fact, renegotiating Dayton, with the current political, economic and military leadership, would only set back existing achievements. Others wish to end our presence in Bosnia and see reopening Dayton as a means to that end. Instead, reopening the agreement could in fact reignite old issues, set the clock back, and require the international presence for a much longer time in the Balkans.
In closing, I would like to say that the United States strongly supports the conclusion in the recent Peace Implementation Council meeting in Brussels, which called on the parties in Bosnia to accelerate implementation of the agreement. We strongly support the three primary objectives the international community laid out in that meeting. First of all, economic reform to eliminate interference in the economy by the nationalist political parties. Second, accelerate the return of displaced persons and refugees. And third, strengthen state institutions, including integrated defense, plus independent media.
New political leadership and more pluralism in the fall elections, economic reform, refugee returns, and stronger state institutions are far more valuable to stability and progress in Bosnia than debates over the Dayton Agreement. Working together, the international community and the people of Bosnia have made significant progress in achieving the goals to which the signers of the Dayton Agreement committed themselves. While there is still much to be done, Mr. Chairman, the United States is proud to have been a part of this effort.
REP. SMITH: Mr. Pardew, thank you very much for your testimony. General Clark.
GEN. CLARK: Mr. Chairman, members of the commission, thank you very much for the opportunity to be here. And I'd like to take this opportunity also to thank the members of the United States Congress for their continuing support of our troops there on the ground and our mission there in the Balkans.
I'd like to say that I'm up here today -- I'm not representing the specific policies. I'm out of my position right now, so what you're -- you asked me to do is talk about my experience and my personal judgment, as I understand it, and that's what I'm going to give you in this.
I think that any --
REP. : Mr. Chairman, if I might interrupt, because I didn't say so, I know you said so, but I want to, as one member of the Congress who had an opportunity to be briefed in Brussels and in other places by General Clark, and who had an opportunity to work with and talk to General Clark prior to his going to NATO, I think he's one of America's finest soldiers and I want to thank him for his leadership and commitment, and candor in a very difficult context in which he found himself. But the country owes you a debt of gratitude, General, and I appreciate it, and wanted you to know that.
GEN. CLARK: Thank you very much, sir.
What I'd like to say is that in terms of the work under the Dayton Agreement, of course, the military tasks are largely done that were laid out in the agreement. We still have to participate in maintaining, helping to maintain security there, but the military tasks have been largely done. We've taken down the NATO force from 60,000 to just over 20,000. The American contribution to that force has gone from over 20,000 to under 4,000 plus a few hundred in the headquarters. So I think there have been substantial reductions, and we know that's been the wish of the Congress and that's been the policy of this administration.
But, the work for political and economic transformation cannot be done in Bosnia without continued military support. There may be future reductions, but the military presence is today essential to enable continuing transformation to take place -- to head off any threats, to head of any intimidation of the international community, and to ensure that none of the defeated dreams of ethnic separatism should re-emerge in light of a NATO departure. So, I think the presence, the continued presence of those forces, is very important today.
That having been said, and a lot of work has been done, as Ambassador Pardew pointed out, I think there are some big challenges ahead. We need to see full return of refugees to places like Srebrenica as well as to places like Sarajevo. This is an important means of promotion reconciliation. It's an important means of preventing ethnic partition. and nothing more strongly rebukes the hard-line criminal leadership than the return, the peaceful return of these refugees. It should be done as a matter of continuing priority, and it is being done with the support of the NATO forces over there within their means and capabilities. And I think we're gonna see better refugee returns this year than we've ever seen before. But we must continue to emphasize this and work for it.
Secondly, vigorous efforts must be taken to define and combat corruption in Bosnia. Bosnia runs like every other society, on money, and a lot of it changes hand behind the scenes in Bosnia in ways that Americans would find imaginable. It's a for-profit culture, and the money facilitates the designs and dreams of the hard-liners -- through illegal institutions, through intimidation, through many other techniques. A systematic campaign to define and eliminate corruption in Bosnia is absolutely essential to being able to move ahead with the political transformation of that society.
Third, I agree that state institutions need to be strengthened and the factionalization there needs to be combated. In so doing, I hope we'll be wiling to take greater risks than we've been willing to take in the past. Step-by-step over the period of the international community's commitment there, we've recognized that we have historically overstated in our own minds the degree of risk that was involved in helping the transformation of this country. As we've seen when we take the indicted war criminals, despite the fears that accompanied these seizures at the outset, we can easily deal with what scattered opposition there has been. Before we made the decision on Brcko arbitration, there was those who predicted this couldn't possibly be done successfully. There were those who counseled against removal of Mr. Poplasen when he was the president of Republika Srpska for the same reason. But we went ahead and we took those decisions and we moved forward.
The risks are manageable. There is substantial authority available to the high representative to promote the changes in leadership, particularly at municipal and local levels, to promote the fine-tuning of the election laws, the media problems in that country, and any other elements dealing with corruption. He has that authority. He must take the risks, make the bold decisions, and further accelerate the transformation process.
That having been said, There is no solution to Bosnia in Bosnia alone. Any solution requires a fundamental change in Belgrade. Milosevic needs to go to The Hague and stand trial. There must be democracy in Belgrade. And then international institutions are going to have to work to convert an entire people that's been kept in the dark and misled for over a decade and fed on old 19th century dreams. We're going to have to work together to bring the Serb people forward into the 21st century so they can take their rightful place in the Euro-Atlantic culture as members of the West. But until Milosevic departs, I don't see much hope in that. So I would suggest that one of the very highest priority items on the agenda for the Balkans is a concerted international effort to promote democracy in Belgrade and to see that justice is done.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. SMITH: General Clark, thank you very much for your testimony. And I want to add my comments in addition to what I said opening comments to what my friend and colleague Mr. Hoyer said. I too was with a delegation that you briefed in Brussels, and in a bipartisan way we were very glad that you were at the helm. And we did appreciate your candor as well. I mean, you opened the questions very openly and transparently, and we do, we look forward -- we like that and we need that in order to make informed decisions over on this end. So, thank you.
MR. BARRY: Thank you Mr. Chairman, members of the commission. I don't want to imply that I'm in any way satisfied with the progress that has taken place in Bosnia, but I would say that the ice is breaking and that this is not the time to give up on Dayton implementation or to decide that the path ahead leads through revision of the Dayton Agreement. Let me just mention a few ways in which I believe the ice is breaking.
It's already been mentioned that return is taking place at a level four to five times what it was in the first quarter of 1999. These are returns to minority areas, and these returns, the 12,000 of them that have been listed so far, are registered returns. Now, registered returns are the tip of the iceberg, because most of the people who go back do not register with the High Commissioner for Refugees, because if they did, they would lose some of their benefits. So typically, this is simply a fraction of the people who are actually returning, and indeed, the continued presence of SFOR is absolutely essential to allow this return to go forward.
For the first time now, we see enforcement of housing laws and the evictions of people illegally in other people's apartments taking place around the country. It's taking place in Foca. It's taking place in Srebrenica. It's taking place in Stolac and places where it's never happened before. Because these people are under intense pressure from the international community, and they realize that if they proceed with this we will remove them from office as we did last November when we removed 22 obstructionist officials at all levels from office.
It's often said that the nationalists won the April elections. That is simply not true. Overall, nationalist parties lost power, lost the mayorship in 50 municipalities where they had it before. So that means that half the municipalities in Bosnia and Herzegovina are now controlled by parties who we would not describe as nationalist.
Social democrats, of course, moved from controlling one municipality in the 1997 elections to 20 municipalities in the April elections, and those municipalities are some of the largest in the country. And this has resulted in things like having a Bosnian Serb and a Bosnian Croat, the mayors of the two largest municipalities in Sarajevo, with a predominantly Muslim population. It has resulted in, for example, a Serb deputy speaker in the parliament in Mostar.
Even the HDZ got a very clear message, I believe, from the electorate during this last time around. In the absolute stronghold of the HDZ, the Siroki Brijeg canton, the turnout of voters was 35 percent. That is one-half of the turnout around the rest of the country. That was a message to the leadership of the HDZ that they were not any longer capturing the will or the imagination of the voters.
In Republika Srpska, the most significant thing, in my mind, was the sudden growth of Madan Ivanic's (ph) Party for Democratic Progress, a moderate party which started six months before the election and came in third in the overall election -- evidence, in my mind, at least, that Bosniak Serbs are looking for new answers as well.
As we prepare for the November elections, I believe the pressure for change is continuing, and this is a catalyst for change. Yes, progress is too slow. But you only have to talk to the people who live there, and most of you have, to realize that the scars of the war are still very deeply felt. There is also the problem of politicians who led the country in wartime who are struggling to fan the flames of fear in order to consolidate their political base. I think people are not listening to these politicians anymore, and I think that's true because people are now more interested in the future of jobs, employment and education and less interested in stories about Cetniks and Ustashe, but definitely, I think, this is causing people to change the way they approach these questions.
The Croatian election indeed had a spillover effect in Bosnia and Herzegovina. It has caused the HDZ in Bosnia and Herzegovina to abandon any thought that their future lies in separation from Bosnia and Herzegovina and joining to Croatia. If the international community -- if every voter in Bosnia and Herzegovina said that would be all right, the Croatians still would not accept their Herzegovinian relatives into the fold. So that possibility has been decisively ruled out.
The HDZ has purged its hard-line leaders in many municipalities around the country in preparation for the next election. And we see now in Mostar that the HDZ has removed the hard-line deputy mayor, Perska Laro (ph), replaced him with Nevem Tomic (ph), who has gone there committed to reunifying Mostar and committed to a program of cooperation with his Bosniak opposite number, Orucevic.
Within the Bosniak electorate, obviously the decision of President Izetbegovic to step down on October 12 is linked to shifts in the fortunes of the SDA. Again, because the SDA did very poorly during this last election, there's been a purge of the senior leadership. There has been in-fighting within the top leadership of the party. And one has only these days to read the newspapers. The one-time spokesman of the SDA, Nevni Avaz (ph), in its feuds with SDA leadership, shows, I think, that things are changing there as well.
The SDS did well in Republika Srpska, but not as well as the SDA and the SRS did in 1997. And it is, I think, quite apparent that, depending on what happens in the next few months, you could still see an assembly in Republika Srpska and a government dominated by Dodik's SFSD and Ivanic's (ph) Party for Democratic Progress. And this could be a core of a new government there.
The Serbian member of the presidency, Zivko Radisic, has obviously thrown his lot in with Milosevic and is calling for the idea of putting primary emphasis on improving relations with Serbia. It remains to be seen, but I don't think this will necessarily be the dream of the Bosnian Serb voter, that is, to follow a path which leads away from Europe.
So why have we decided to go ahead with elections in November? In the first place, this is not a decision of the OSCE. It was a decision taken by the peace implementation council unanimously, and then seconded by the 54-nation OSCE permanent council. Many, if not all, political leaders are for it, and it may not be a coincidence that some of the political leaders who are most outspokenly against it are members of parties or coalitions which lost traction in the last election.
I think it is clear also that the reforms we have introduced into the OSCE's rules and regulations under which these elections will be carried out will promote reform. We have taken the elements of the draft election law, which was never acted on by the Bosnian parliament, and put them into our rules and regulations so that we will have things like preferential voting, which is designed to produce more moderate outcomes. Multi-member constituencies in the past voting in Bosnia was always in a single constituency for each entity. Open lists, which allow people to go in and select individual candidates, not simply vote for a party list; and reforms on campaign financing, which will enable us to trace where the money is coming from and where it is going to. And I think this will be an important element in trying to fight corruption and the use of cash cows such as the electricity-generating companies and the post and telegraph and telecommunications which have been used by nationalist ruling parties to feather their own nests and provide funding for their own elections. This is now forbidden.
Of course, elections by themselves do not make institutions work. The people who are elected must want to have them work. Regrettably, the council of ministers was a model of deadlock before it was dissolved, and the choice by the joint presidency of an unknown candidate from Belgrade to be chairman of the new council of ministers suggests that even those party leaders who call for stronger central institutions do not really want to make them work.
Some argue that the only way forward is to revise the Dayton agreement. I agree t`at some revisions are desirable. But to change Dayton, you have to implement it first, and through consistent implementation, create the kind of consensus needed to make constitutional amendments possible. The right place to argue for revision is in Sarajevo and Mostar and Banja Luka, not in Washington.
There is a growing sense in Bosnia and Herzegovina that the structures of government need to be simplified, that integration of the three armies of BI on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina is needed, that economic reform is essential, and that it is time to end dependence on foreign aid and decision-making by the international community. What is needed at this point are politicians who are willing to build this consensus patiently and persistently at home.
Dayton was, of course, a compromise agreement, and a difficult one at that. Very few Bosnian politicians would claim to be wholly satisfied with its provisions. They tend, in criticizing it, to highlight the parts that suit them and ignore those aspects that do not. Therefore, obstruction of the implementation of the agreements and calls for its revision are two sides of the same coin. Both are attempts to modify what was agreed to the favor of one side or the other, in full knowledge that these changes will not be acceptable to the other side.
The international community must not be party to these sorts of deadly games. Instead, we must continue to insist on implementation of what was signed, focusing on the elements that are crucial to ensure a sovereign and multi-ethnic Bosnia and Herzegovina, the return of refugees and displaced persons, economic reform, the rule of law, and strengthening of state institutions.
Last month's Brussels peace implementation council meeting produced a blueprint for the future. It calls for state building, economic reform and accelerated return, all intimately interconnected. The political leadership of the country was consulted on this program and they agreed to it. Now it is time to see if they meant what they said.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is at a political crossroads. In order to have a united Bosnia and Herzegovina within European structures at peace with itself and its neighbors, its leaders have to go down the path of cooperation, accountability and political transparency. The best way to accomplish this is to implement the plan agreed upon in Brussels. The Dayton agreement is only as good as the politicians in power. Allow it to be. Changing the agreement is not the answer. Changing t`e political scene to a more moderate one that is accountable to the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina is.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. SMITH: Thank you very much, Mr. Ambassador. Let me just begin on the refugee issue, if I could. The ICG Balkans report pointed out that as of August 31st of 1999, the minority returns throughout Bosnia numbered a mere less than 5 percent, or about 100,000. And it has been pointed out that number has ratcheted upwards, and this report suggests that that is the case. But that's still obviously a very, very slow number. And I know, General Clark, all of you have talked about the importance of full return of all refugees.
Now, since the number has gone up -- and that is cause for, I think, encouragement -- is it likely that that number will be sustained or accelerated, Ambassador Barry?
MR. BARRY: I think that throughout 2000, it will continue to go up, because the return season has just begun. But as that ICG report points out, it is crucial that the resources be mobilized in order to support that return. These people are returning to villages that were razed to the ground during the war, during the war and after the war. So they're coming back to places where all they have is their foundations. They don't have water. They don't have electricity. So mobilizing international assistance for this is crucial.
I'm very pleased to note that USAID has made a major step in that direction. We've just announced that most of our aid to Bosnia and Herzegovina, some $65 million, will go in that direction.
Unfortunately, the European Commission has not proven so flexible, and getting that commission money focused, getting it flowing and having it come early in the return season instead of at the end of that season, is very important. Also, it's important that the emphasis be shifted from contracting with general contractors to build these houses to providing the materials and letting the people return, fix them themselves, which is the way which would save a lot of money and a lot of time.
REP. SMITH: Ambassador Pardew.
MR. PARDEW: Well, yes, this -- I would consider the return of refugees, the increase in the return of refugees over the past three months, to be one of the more significant breakthroughs in Bosnia. I would combine that with the recent elections in Croatia as two really breath-taking events that have occurred.
Let me just give you some data here. There has been nearly a four-fold increase in the number of minority returns, and that's the really tough one to deal with, in the first four months of 2000. It's 11,445 ethnic minority returnees have registered -- there may be others who have not registered -- compared to only 3442 in the first quarter of last year. Of the estimated 2.15 million refugees that were created in the war -- refugees and displaced persons -- up to now, about 660,000 have returned.
But let me just talk just briefly about the Republika Srpska, where this has been a particularly difficult area. One-third of the returnees this quarter, or about 3800, have gone back to the Republika Srpska. Eight hundred fifty of those have returned to the Prijedor area. And as someone earlier mentioned, we have refugees going back to Srebrenica and Soca (ph) municipalities, two areas particularly notorious during the war.
So we do have a significant momentum building on refugee returns. We hope that they can be sustained. There's no guarantee. The Department of State just has notified in the last 24 hours an additional $5 million to the Congress specifically for the purpose of reinforcing our efforts to help with these refugees. So we think this is a tremendous development. We want to put our resources to promote that activity, and we'll work with the Congress in order to do so.
REP. SMITH: Are the Europeans behind the ball on this, as suggested by Ambassador Barry, that they have not been forthcoming?
MR. PARDEW: My experience in Bosnia, as well as Kosovo, indicates that the United States is lighter on our feet in the ability to move resources. The European Commission, the European Union, gets there, but they get there more slowly than we do. So I think everyone recognizes that return of refugees is fundamental to the Bosnian problem. And I'm confident that the Europeans will do their part in supporting this effort.
REP. SMITH: Do the Europeans have money allocated? Is it money that's in the pipeline?
MR. PARDEW: There's money -- I can get you for the record more data, if you'd like. They do have funding in the pipeline for refugee returns, but like us they need to identify additional resources, because we want this momentum to grow, and they are going to need to identify additional --
REP. SMITH: What would be the total cost, European and American money combined, that would make the difference to ensure that this happens sooner rather than later and that it happens at all? I mean, is the money that we have allocated enough, or is it just an attempt to try to mitigate --
MR. PARDEW: The money that we have allocated is enough to get us started. If this momentum continues and these numbers grow to the levels that we hope, I am sure that we would need additional resources. I'm not going to give you a number, sir, at this point.
REP. SMITH: I think as soon as that can be received, if we are to keep this momentum going, that would be helpful, especially as we are going through this cycle right now of appropriations. And I do chair the subcommittee with authorizing jurisdiction, international ops and human rights, and we would -- although our bill has already passed and signed the hope would be that, you know, we could weigh in with our appropriations friends in which we have some members here.
Let me ask very briefly, general, if I could, we had a hearing earlier this year on Montenegro and southern Kosovo about the -- southern Serbia I should say -- about the concern of perhaps escalating fighting, a migration of rabblerousers that we at least heard testimony about. What is your assessment of the fear of hostilities, low grade or of any other grade, breaking out in Montenegro?
GEN. CLARK: I think Montenegro, Mr. Chairman, is still a potential problem for us. I think Milosevic is deterred by two factors -- first uncertainty about NATO's intentions; and, secondly, uncertainty about how quickly he could overwhelm Mr. Djukanovic and what Russia's reaction to this might be. It's my sense that he is restrained, waiting on the outcome of events in the autumn, waiting on the outcome of larger forces to see how much support he will get when he tries to take more dramatic action. I think he'll shake the tree. If the apple falls then he'll take it; but I don't think he's preparing to cut down the tree -- I don't think he has the intention of cutting down the tree at this point. He will from time to time shake it and see if Djukanovic drops out of it.
REP. SMITH: Let me just ask on an issue that this commission and I have been very active in, and that is the whole issue of sexual trafficking. A couple of weeks ago we passed the bill on the floor -- a comprehensive bill -- been working on it for well over a year that literally throws the book at traffickers -- gives them up to life imprisonment, provides protection for women escaping that. And we know that trafficking is exploding -- some say it may be number two after drugs in terms of its ability to generate profits for the mafia and others. You mentioned Mr. Djukanovic from Montenegro. And our commission wrote him, and we discovered through a Ukrainian NGO that there were a number of Ukrainians that had been trafficked into Montenegro, were being used as sexual slaves for a host of different types of customers. What kind of guidance do we give our military and other personnel, U.N. and otherwise, as to the inadvisability of extending that exploitation? Because we know that many of these young girls and women are not prostitutes by choice or design; they are there having been forced, compelled into that kind of degradation.
GEN. CLARK: Well, for the United States military we don't permit that -- their involvement in that kind of activity while they are there, period. The period of time that we were -- about two months going into Macedonia for short leaves for people who were in Kosovo, resulted in a couple of fights outside a bar. And because of the sexual trafficking we stopped -- I didn't want any of our troops involved in the possibility of it. So we just stopped that program.
REP. SMITH: I commend you for that, general.
MR. BARRY: I'd just like to add that one of the problems about trafficking in this part of the world is that it is not against the laws of these countries. Prostitution is, but trafficking is not. And so OSCE and the international community, the U.N. in particular, are working hard to try to get laws passed in this country that make trafficking a crime. It's really unfair to punish the women who are being trafficked and not the traffickers.
REP. SMITH: Thank you, ambassador. Mr. Hoyer.
REP. HOYER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General, as you know, we have had some discussion and debate with reference to the level of forces that we maintain in Bosnia and in Kosovo. As I understand your testimony, your belief is that they are absolutely essential if we are going to continue to make progress in Bosnia. Is that correct?
GEN. CLARK: That's correct.
REP. HOYER: If we withdrew the troops, both from Bosnia -- and how many troops do we have in Bosnia at this point in time?
GEN. CLARK: We have 3,900 approximately troops, plus another 550, 600 people in the headquarters at Sarajevo.
REP. HOYER: If we withdrew those troops and withdrew the troops from Kosovo, what would be the ramifications, A, in country -- that is in Bosnia and in Kosovo; and, B, in Belgrade?
GEN. CLARK: Well, if the United States were to withdraw its forces unilaterally, breaking its commitments with its NATO partners on the ground, what you have on the ground in Bosnia is an enormous security vacuum in one of the most sensitive regions of Bosnia, the Posavina Corridor, and going all the way over to that part of Serbia that borders on Bosnia, around Bijelina. I think that you can imagine that immediately the refugee returns would stop, forces on the ground would rearm and prepare for a resumption of hostilities. Any thought of economic progress would be halted pending an outcome of what was going on. Implementation of the final details of the Brcko transition would probably be destroyed, including the multi-ethnic police force and other things up there. It would be viewed as a victory for the hard-line Serb faction led by Mr. Karadzic and General Mladic from his time in the war. It would be viewed as the limited staying power of a nation that articulates a commitment to high values and human rights and high principles, but doesn't want to stay and see through the real world problems of trying to help participate in the political redevelopment and reengineering of a war-torn society. I think it would be very, very destructive.
In Kosovo I think the ramifications would also be profound of a U.S. pull-out. There are no sufficient troops to cover that sector in Kosovo other than the American troops. Perhaps they could be found, but there is no assurance of that. They certainly wouldn't be available in the kinds of quality with the kind of assets and professionalism that the United States troops have brought to bear. It's a very sensitive part of Kosovo because it borders on the Presevo Valley, where there has been some effort by Albanian extremists to instigate an insurgency. And also it's an area which is used by the -- or potentially used by the Serb forces to reinfiltrate their capabilities back inside Kosovo. So leaving a security vacuum there is a guarantee for a virtually spontaneous recombustion in that very sensitive part of Kosovo. It would be my strongest advice that we not contemplate such an activity.
Outside the country it would be a breach of faith with our NATO allies. It would be seen as encouragement to Mr. Milosevic in Belgrade, and it would be seen by the neighboring countries as confirmation that the Operation Kosovo was shall we say the high-water mark of American influence in Europe, that with the receding of the American presence under such circumstances in the Balkans the way would be safe for the forces of corruption and subversion and instability to reemerge in neighboring countries -- and I would rather not name those countries in open session. But the chilling impact on the democratization, the Westernization, the economic development throughout Eastern Europe would be profound.
REP. HOYER: Thank you, general. Mr. Ambassador -- or either ambassador -- would you like to comment on that question?
MR. PARDEW: I have long said that our military presence there, our presence in the Balkans relates directly to our national security interests. This is not just an act of good will. General Clark just mentioned one aspect of that, and that is we have an interest in our alliances in Europe, and we need to be a partner in those alliances. Those alliances are involved in Bosnia, Kosovo and the Balkans, and we should be an appropriate part of that. Our participation in those alliances are in our national interests.
Secondly stability in the region is in our national interests. Our presence there relates to the stability of Southeastern Europe; the stability of Southeastern Europe relates to stability in Europe. And we just celebrated an anniversary of the D-Day invasion. We know what instability in Europe can cost the United States. So I think it's critical that we maintain an appropriate presence there with our European partners, that that directly supports the security interests of the United States.
REP. HOYER: Mr. Ambassador, you use the words of art, I suppose, "the appropriate presence" -- of course that is part of the debate that has occurred here in Congress over the last few months. Could you comment a little more specifically on the appropriate -- maybe General Clark and Ambassador Barry in his answer would want to refer to that as well -- because the assertion is that the Europeans are not bearing an appropriate burden themselves as a part and parcel of the peacekeeping democracy-enhancing forces present in those two jurisdictions.
MR. PARDEW: I use the term "appropriate" in two ways. The first is what is the sufficient force to ensure stability. And as General Clark mentioned, we started out with 60,000 people, but that we are down now to around 20,000. As the political situation improves and the locals take on more responsibility, you know, we can probably reduce that. But it's a serious military and political judgment about how high the overall force needs to be.
And secondly it's the question of United States participation. Quite frankly Europeans have taken a lot of criticism, but our participation in Bosnia and Kosovo is relatively modest. I think in Kosovo it's about 15 percent of the overall force. In Bosnia -- I'll let the general answer, but I believe it's something in the same order. So I don't believe that 15 or 20 percent even of -- for the United States to participate to that level is too much to ask when others are sharing the burden of the commitment.
REP. HOYER: Thank you. Ambassador Barry, did you want to comment either on the question I gave to General Clark or --
MR. BARRY: Well, let me just say that I know the consensus view in the international community -- and that includes the High Representative, ourselves, SFOR and the U.N. -- is that we need force presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina at the present level for a considerable time ahead. As long as Milosevic is hanging in there in Belgrade, and as long as he is a potential threat to Bosnia and Herzegovina, the only other alternative to having a substantial security force from NATO there is to have the armed forces of Bosnia and Herzegovina to grow in size. Now, they can't afford the armed forces they have -- far from it. And one of our goals is to try to shrink that armed force and integrate it, because now it is such an economic burden that it is standing in the way of economic reform and growth and jobs. So from that point of view, there has to be a cooperative security arrangement in the area underpinned by NATO.
REP. HOYER: And do you agree with Ambassador Pardew -- and this is the last question I'll ask, Mr. Chairman -- that the U.S. -- the level of U.S. participation is a fair participation as it relates to our European allies sharing in the burden?
MR. BARRY: Yes, I do.
REP. HOYER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Hoyer. Mr. Pitts?
REP. PITTS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General, several individuals who have been indicted for war crimes by the international tribunal have been apprehended; several remain at large. Can you tell us how much risk these operations have involved -- how much greater the risk might be to apprehend people like Karadzic or Mladic? Can you tell us as well the degree to which those risks have been worth taking?
GEN. CLARK: I think that there has been a consistent tendency on the part of the intelligence community to overstate the risks involved in actions on the ground in Bosnia. There has obviously been some risk involved in the detention of the indicted war criminal suspects, but we have had no U.S. troops injured in this process, and we have been successful in mitigating those risks. I am convinced that further operations are feasible and desirable should the circumstances permit.
REP. PITTS: And you think those risks are worth taking?
GEN. CLARK: I think the detention of the indicted war criminal suspects is absolutely essential in moving forward with the process of political redevelopment in Bosnia.
REP. PITTS: Thank you. Ambassador Pardew, the commission in its work in Kosovo has strongly condemned the damage and destruction done to Serbian orthodox churches, monasteries -- calling for this to stop. The same applies to the mosques destroyed by the Serbs. Rebuilding mosques would have an enormous symbolic and spiritual value. Have any been rebuilt? Are the local officials committed to rebuilding them? Is the United States pressing them on this issue?
MR. PARDEW: There have been a number of mosques rebuilt, but most of them in the Federation area. We continue to raise this issue with the Republika Srpska authorities any time we meet with them. The historic mosque in Banja Luka is one structure that we particularly would like to see rebuilt. But quite frankly the Bosnian Serb authorities have not given us satisfactory answers in rebuilding the Banja Luka mosque or other mosques. This is a problem that we will continue to work on. We think that with return of refugees and change of political leadership that that would be helpful in this regard. But the answer right now, sir, is that this development is not satisfactory.
MR. BARRY: If I might just add to that, sir, one of the steps we took prior to the last election was to insist that a party based in Banja Luka that had refused to acknowledge the decisions of the Human Rights Commission to proceed with the rebuilding of the Banja Luka mosque be banned from participating in the elections, because they had failed to acknowledge a decision of the Human Rights Commission.
REP. PITTS: Ambassador, could you comment on the situation in both the Federation and the Republika about press media developments? Is there sufficient media freedom? Is it increasing? What's the status of that?
MR. BARRY: The progress has been fairly good. And in fact before the last election, based upon the regulations that the international community put into place, the media abandoned some of their earlier efforts to slant all their coverage toward one party. Now, as a result of that there have been a number of charges by politicians and ruling parties that they have been abandoned or stabbed in the back by journalists or television stations or media outlets that were supposed to support them. Now of course this is evidently --
REP. : (Off mike) -- (laughter) --
MR. BARRY: So we have been active in trying to make sure that these steps don't go further, that efforts to prosecute journalists for coverage that is critical of politicians do not proceed. And we are on the verge of introducing a new law on freedom of information that makes it clear that journalists deserve the protection of the system of justice. But I think coming up to the November elections, because the ruling parties are I think threatened, there will be another outbreak of threats and attacks against journalists. In one case, for example, the driver for the prime minister of the Federation, Mr. Bickadzic (ph), attacked a journalist who had been writing critical articles about Mr. Bickadzic (ph), and the courts wouldn't take the case up. Finally his salary was reduced by 30 percent by the prime minister.
REP. PITTS: Thank you.
REP. SMITH: Mr. Cardin?
REP. CARDIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. General Clark, let me just compliment you on your statement in regards to the war criminals. I think many of us share your belief that that is an extremely important part of the accords and a very important part of bringing closure to what has happened in that part of the world. I think you enjoy very strong support in Congress on this issue. And I guess the observation you made that some will claim that the military risks are much higher than you see it may very well be involved in some of the diplomatic problems more so than the military problems surrounding war criminals. So I would just make an offer that I think that this Congress really wants to support you, really wants to help you, and if there are other steps that we can take to show our resolve in this area, please let us know, because I think we want to be active partners in that regard.
GEN. CLARK: Thank you, sir.
REP. CARDIN: The second point I would like just to ask about is that Mr. Hoyer raised the issue that if the United States were not to be part of SFOR and you, and all of you responded that that would have a horrible consequence. I strongly support our mission there. But there are some who argue that over time we could negotiate with our NATO allies and work out a way in which our presence would evaporate and there would still be an SFOR presence there but it would not include the United States. It would not be overnight, but it would be in a more orderly way. I believe I'm hearing from all three of you that the presence of the United States in this mission is absolutely essential towards the credibility of the mission and the success of the mission. Is that -- it's not just the fact that it's our people there, it's the fact that the United States is participating itself.
GEN. CLARK: That's correct.
REP. CARDIN: You all share that view?
MR. BARRY: Yes.
MR. PARDEW: The Balkans are an important European security issue being handled by a premier European security institution, NATO. And for NATO to be involved in a serious European security issue without the United States, tome is unthinkable, if we are to continue to participate in that institution.
REP. CARDIN: I thank you for that reply. Let me just ask one final point, and that is, in Bosnia we tend to group people by the three major ethnic groups. And there are people -- Bosnia was a wonderful multi-ethnic communities were you have people of mixed marriages, you have people of mixed ethnic backgrounds. I'm just curious as to what your observation in regards to people who are not identified as one of the ethnic groups, how they are dealing with the, such a division that has been created under the accords with the different ethnic sectors and communities. How are the multi-ethnics doing?
MR. BARRY: Well, they're not doing as well as we would like them to. In fact, many of the people classified as "others," that is not of the three major groups or people who were of mixed marriages, in fact were some of the people who left the country early on. And we certainly hope that it will be possible eventually for them to come back. But as long as the economic situation is as grim as it is, it's unlikely to happen. So, it concerns me not only that the multi-ethnic population is departing, but that the children of multi-ethnic families tend to be looking abroad as well.
Now, one of the things that we have introduced in our voting system is a method of being allowed to vote for people outside of simply the list that the party puts forward. And one of the interesting things we found in the April elections is that people expressed a preference for people from another ethnic group, at least on the list of the social democratic party -- that is, people who were down on the list who were Serbs in a party that is predominantly Bosniac were moved to the top of the list because people voted for them and showed tolerance for them. And having a Serb and a Croat as mayors of the two largest Sarajevo municipalities, I think shows that the possibility of a return to the value of multi-ethnicity is a possibility that we need to strongly support.
REP. CARDIN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. SMITH: Thank you. Mr. Wolf.
REP. FRANK WOLF (R-VA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Well, I want to thank the three of you for your testimony. It would have been good if the whole Congress could have listened for the last hour and fifteen minutes, because I thought you made a very compelling case. It may be because, you know, I share your views. I agreed with what Mr. Hoyer said at the outset, that I think the Bush administration was negligent for giving a signal that these activities could have taken place in Bosnia, and the Clinton administration was equally guilty for moving so slowly. Had it not been for maybe that Saturday where the shell went off in the marketplace and then what Mr. Hoyer talked about, this activity could have still gone on. And -- but I think your comments have been very good, and I just wanted to make that clear that one, I think -- I want to thank Mr. Smith for the hearing -- and I think, you know, your comments have been very good, too.
General Clark, I want to commend you -- and I've thought you have not been treated as well as you could have been treated, frankly. And I think that I want to be on record as saying I thought you've done an outstanding job and made a, made a tremendous difference.
I also agree with Mr. Cardin on the issue of Karadzic and Mladic, and I don't know how much support there is in the Congress, but I think there would be a lot, but that it seems to me that until you deal with the issue of Mladic and Karadzic, and then, obviously, Milosevic, you really can never completely bring this to a close. And as long as they're out roaming wherever they roam, whether it be in Belgrade or back in Napeli (ph), wherever they go, it seems that you can never completely end the chapter.
I also think your comments have been well taken, and I think more people should focus -- the fact that you've had new elections and a more honest group of people in Croatia -- if you read today's Washington Post of how the Tudjman, which I believe he was a fascist, literally raided the government and raided their economy and stripped it. And so you have Tudjman on one side, who I know was talking daily to Milosevic on the other side, the fact that one is gone and the other could be gone could go a long way to kind of deal with the issue.
So, I think the administration and hopefully the next administration will make the case in a compelling way. I think in Luke is says "to whom much is given much is expected," and America has been blessed so much, and I want to, as I congratulate you, General, I also want to thank the men and women who served under you. Once of the concerns every time you get there you talk to a young soldier, and he'd say, "Well, you know, I was in Haiti, and then I was in Desert Storm, and then I was in Bosnia, and now I'm in Kosovo. And this is my second --" I mean, I really worry about the impact that it's having on the men and women who serve in the military. And I think so the administration knows how serious this is and how maybe out of touch the Congress could be, we had a vote in the House last year on whether or not we should abolish the Selective Service, and there was a majority of the members of the House to abolish the Selective Service -- just an indication of what's taking place. And there were a lot of Democrats as well as Republicans.
So, thank you for your service. Thank you for comments. The quicker we deal with the issue of the war criminals, I think the better, and we can wrap this thing up. And I think for America not to be participating, not to participate at the outset when you had stories of all the things that went on because the fundamental -- the best export that we have are not our computers, it's our values. And I think by doing this -- so I just want to thank all of you for your testimony.
Thank Mr. Smith for holding this hearing. The only difference that I would have is that while you've got a good group of people here, it would have been nice if you could have had the entire Congress, because when I listened to the debate on whether we should pull out -- and I was one of the 31 Republicans that voted to bomb Kosovo, I think there are good men and women in this Congress, and they'll do the right thing if given the information. They just haven't been given the information in such a quiet and reasoned way as maybe you did today.
The last comment I would make --
REP. : Would the gentleman yield on that issue --
REP. WOLF: Sure, I yield.
REP. : -- because I think you're absolutely right. And Mr. Chairman, I would join Mr. Wolf in a request -- and as a matter of fact, I had mentioned to the chairman that we ought to transcribe the testimony and then perhaps on a bipartisan letter send it out to all the members of Congress. I know, for instance, on Kosovo I listened to a speech by John McCain at the Fire Service Caucus dinner, which I felt was the most compelling statement with reference to why we were in Kosovo, why we needed to be in Kosovo, and I sent that to all the members of the Democratic caucus, because I thought it was the best statement that had been. And I think -- I agree with you, Frank, and I think we ought to transcribe the testimony, or portions of the testimony, maybe not all of it, and send it out on a bipartisan letter signed by all of us.
REP. WOLF: I think that would be a great idea.
The last comment, and it's a question or a comment -- whatever way you want to treat it -- it seems to me that one missing ingredient from all of the package is that there needs to be a greater effort, in
Kosovo particularly but even Bosnia, of true reconciliation in the sense of, just in a different way that it was actually dealt. I mean, economics are important. Marketplaces are important and all. But there needs to be a major effort to bring people of the different backgrounds who have suffered together, together.
And I believe that when you sit down and break bread together and get to know each other, there's things that can happen. But I think the missing ingredient for the long-term basis, because obviously Americans and Germans and Brits aren't going to want to keep there people here as long as we were in the Berlin Brigade in Berlin, is to sort of bring the people in a -- we met one time when we were in Sarajevo with the religious letters, and I sensed they didn't even like each other. And I think they were not exactly a model that you would show.
And if we could somehow model how you bring people together -- and America's the best model because we bring, I don't know, if you asked everybody here to step up and say where they're from, we would all be from different places. And maybe back in those places we may hate each other, but here we're best of friends and don't even think of where we came from. But somehow there has to be a greater effort with regard to true reconciliation that maybe the government can actually do in both Bosnia but also in Kosovo, so that the good work that you all have done and your efforts aren't thrown out 20 or 30 years from now.
Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. SMITH: Thank you very much, Mr. Wolf. Let me just ask a couple of final questions. At the end of March, Mr. Kasich offered an amendment to an emergency supplemental appropriations bill that would have conditioned funding. I'm a great believer in burden sharing, but I felt, and I believe, thankfully, our side prevailed, that by imposing a stipulation on the European Community, and you heard, Ambassador Pardew, I'm concerned that they fork -- they being the European members -- come forward with more money for refugees and hopefully more money in other areas as well. But, would it have sent the wrong message and been counter-productive had the Kasich amendment passed, because I suspect as we go forward there will be other attempts to try to take a noble concept of burden sharing but apply it here, which it might have a bad outcome.
MR. PARDEW: Well, we -- the administration is very much opposed to those efforts -- I mean the proposals on limiting our commitments. And we did that for any number of reasons. But let me say first, the Congress has made itself very loud -- has said very loud and clear that there should be burden sharing, that the Europeans have to carry the lion's share. That message has been received on both sides of the Atlantic. We're talking to our European partners about that constantly to ensure that they understand the seriousness of the Congressional intent here. And they accept that responsibility. We've looked hard at the numbers, and I didn't come over here to go into that, so forgive me if I get them wrong but I'll be generally in the ballpark.
On the reconstruction effort in Kosovo, we're paying about 13 percent. The Europeans are paying the lion's share, 80-something percent of those bills. There were procedural problems in that our fiscal year starts in October, theirs starts in January. There was a winter problem. And so we could move money faster than they could, and there was a perception built around the process. But we think it would be destructive to our policy to set arbitrary limits and to restrict us, and we think that by doing -- the principle and the precedent established by doing so would limit their contributions and we would get some blow-back on reciprocity in some other areas when we would need their contributions in our hemisphere.
So, it limits our flexibility. It endangers, creates the potential that there would be reciprocity, and it would be, it was sort of arbitrary and so we did not think it was a good idea.
GEN. CLARK: Well, I'd just like to say, Mr. Chairman, if I could, that the Europeans very well understand that it's the sentiment of the American Congress, but they also recognize that NATO is very much in the United States' interest, and that the United States political leaders have many interests in the outcome of the situation on the ground in the Balkans. And they consider that it's only fair that the United States do what it's doing now, which at 15 percent of the forces on the ground in Bosnia, and 20 percent -- excuse me, 15 percent in Kosovo and 20 percent in Bosnia is not at all excessive when compared to the overall economic strength and military strength of the United States and its preponderance in the alliance. It's less than the historic leadership role that the United States has traditionally played in NATO.
REP. SMITH: Let me just ask you, if you could, Ambassador Pardew, to provide us for the record the best estimate of total costs needed to accomplish the return of refugees and the reintegration of the IDPs, and over how many years, do we have a sense of what kind of obligation we should be dealing with rather than, you know, an annual request? It just would be very helpful. And I would just like to ask you, because I know you met with a Kosovo-Serb delegation led by Bishop Artimye (ph), which visited the United Nations in New York in light of the recent outrageous attacks of Serbs in Kosovo -- an you tell us anything as to what measures are being take to increase the protection in Kosovo for the Serbs?
MR. PARDEW: Well, we've had a series of meetings with Bishop Artimye (ph). I met with him Thursday night in New York. He met with Ambassador Holbrooke before going in to observing the Security Council meeting. Secretary Albright saw him yesterday and Deputy Secretary Talbott saw him today.
We have condemned these attacks on the Serbs or any minority as strongly as we condemned the attacks by the Serbs on the Kosovar population. Violence is not a way to solve the problems in the Balkans. And we are very much interested in Kosovo being a tolerant state with secure minorities participating in the future. We have urged both UNMEC and KFOR to take additional measures to assist in the security. They are doing that. They are increasing the police presence. They're focusing investigative capabilities in the Serb areas. They were already doing a number of things to protect churches and populations, but you can't be everywhere all the time.
We also are doing some things to improve the condition of the Serbian population in Kosovo to make their life there better, and we're looking at ways that we can return Serb refugees back. But we also are -- we encouraged the bishop to return to the joint institutions to work with the international community because they're, if they plan to be a part of Kosovo in the future they need to participate in elections, in voter registration, and with UNMEC in these governance institutions that they're trying to establish.
So, we are -- we're working very closely with them. We're very concerned about this, and we are providing the resources that we can to assist.
REP. SMITH: Let me just ask one quick question to Ambassador Barry. With the arrest of Krajisnik, there was expectations that there would be a negative fallout from that. Did that happen?
MR. BARRY: Not really. It hardly went noticed in the public. There were not demonstrations. Whether it had any effect on how people voted I really can't say, but let me just say that as far as OSCE and the civilian community was concerned, we were very glad to see him arrested, and we fully support what General Clark has said about the need to round up the rest of them as soon as possible and send them off to The Hague.
REP. SMITH: Thank you very much. This has been an outstanding panel, and we look forward to working with you in the future. Thank you very much.
(End of Panel I.)