The United States may have brokered the deal that finally brought peace to Bosnia, but the European allies who spent nearly four years trying without success demanded a share of the credit on Wednesday.
As a result, there will be a whirlwind of Bosnia peace conferences in Europe in coming weeks: a conference in Paris in early December for a formal signing of the Dayton accords, talks in London on Dec. 8 and 9 to discuss how the accords will be put into effect, and then discussions in Bonn on setting limits on weapons in the former Yugoslavia.
President Boris Yeltsin of Russia, who had to cancel a meeting with all the parties to the Bosnian war when he fell ill on the eve of the Dayton conference, may want one in December, some European officials said.
“One cannot call it an American peace, even if President Clinton and the Americans have tried to pull the blanket over to their side,” said the French foreign minister, Herve de Charette.
Prime Minister Alain Juppe hailed the Dayton agreement, but said: “It resembles, like a twin, the European plan presented 18 months ago.”
In a French radio interview, de Charette said: “The fact is that the Americans looked at this affair in ex-Yugoslavia from a great distance for nearly four years and basically blocked the progression of things.”
Such statements were aimed at domestic audiences in countries that unlike the United States have suffered scores of casualties in Bosnia.
Klaus Kinkel, German foreign minister, said: “The Americans became involved at a time when the possibility of a solution began to emerge, but the Europeans played a decisive role in the preparations. It is not as if we were shoved aside.”