Below is the text of Mr Major’s statement on Bosnia, issued on 21st November 1995.
When I saw President Izetbegovic recently, I said that the door to peace was swinging open. Now it seems that this has happened. Many thousands of people have died in this conflict. Many thousands more have been saved by the actions of British troops and their allies. I warmly welcome today’s agreement. It has taken courage on everyone’s part to overcome the many difficult issues at stake. But the people of Bosnia can now look forward to a peaceful future: a very different prospect to the grim realities of the last three years.
I am delighted that the political process that we set in train at the London Conference three years ago has finally borne fruit, and I congratulate all those who have brought it about. This outcome would not have been achieved without the efforts over many months of the Contact Group countries – the US, European Union and the Russian Federation working together – and of the United Nations. I would also like to recall the work of those who laid the groundwork for today’s achievement, notably Lords Carrington and Owen, Cy Vance, Thorvald Stoltenberg and Carl Bildt.
It is vital now to ensure that the settlement is implemented successfully. We look to the parties to respect the obligations they have undertaken and to cooperate actively with the implementation effort. The international community in turn will play its part.
The UK has played a leading role in the search for a peaceful settlement and in alleviating suffering. We shall maintain our efforts in the new tasks which lie ahead, including at a Peace Implementation Conference which we plan to convene in London shortly. This will bring together the governments, organisations and agencies directly involved in implementing a settlement, to work out the practicalities of how best to put today’s agreement into place.