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date: 27 November 2020

Dayton Agreement

A Dictionary of Contemporary World History

Christopher Riches,

Jan Palmowski

Dayton Agreement (21 Nov. 1995) 

A peace deal brokered by US President Clinton and his Secretary of State, Warren Christopher, between the Presidents of Bosnia (Izetbegovic), Yugoslavia (Milošević), and Croatia (Tudjman), after six days of intense negotiations in Dayton (Ohio). It provided for a nominally united Bosnian state, which was effectively divided between a decentralized Bosnian–Croat Federation and a centralized Serb Republic. In order to ensure the stability of the peace, to supervise the relationship between the former enemies, and to encourage their cooperation, under US leadership NATO committed 60,000 troops, under the auspices of the UN. The agreement restored a fragile peace, but also contained significant shortcomings; for example, Bosnians who found themselves living in areas that would be under Serb control burnt their homes rather than leave them to the former enemy, and vice versa. The agreement itself was nothing new and had been under discussion for two years. That it took the active involvement of the USA to implement it, demonstrated the continued US predominance in world politics, unrivalled even by the combined efforts of the European Union.