Sarajevo's Promise Of Peace

The Finns organized the summit. For lack of anywhere else large enough to accommodate all the heads of state and officials from international bodies, they chose the 1984 Olympics ice skating rink. A bad omen. The shining promises made by the West at the height of the war over Kosovo have melted away in the sun.

Balkan heads of government (with the pointed exception of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic) were invited to Sarajevo for a reconstruction summit. In return for their help in the war, they wanted two things: money to offset the collateral damage to their economies, and fast track entry into the European Union. They got neither.

At The Summit

World Leaders Meet In Sarajevo
U.S. Pledges Aid As Russia Demands Serbia's Inclusion.

July, 1999


The "Stability Pact" announced at the summit coordinates existing aid programs, and adds a bit of small change such as duty free status for Balkans exports to the U.S. That was coupled with lots of free advice to Balkan governments to open up their their economies, become more democratic and cooperate with their neighbors. Hardly the "new Marshall Plan" that NATO had so grandly promised.

The White House had already made it clear that the United States is not going to bankroll the Balkans. The American position is that the U.S. gave in the war, and now it's up to the Europeans to pay for peace. But the plans to reconstruct Kosovo have exhausted most of the funds the Europeans are willing to give.

There will be no new money.

CBS News Senior European Correspondent Tom Fenton
The current Clinton strategy in the Balkans is to urge the Serbs to get rid of Milosevic if they want to share in the postwar aid from the West. That elicited a sharp comment from a European official: "It's all very well to say to the Serbs, if you don't get rid of Milosevic you won't get the carrots. But you have to have some carrots."

On the record, of course, the Sarajevo summit promised a brighter future fr the Balkan countries, with healthy democracies and vibrant market economies.

Off the record, an anonymous European official summed it up: "The Germans dreamt up the thing, got Clinton to agree to it, and then dumped it in the lap of the Finns."

In his opinion, the whole thing was a waste of time.

Written by Tom Fenton
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