Three documents were signed today at the White House:
President Alija Izetbegovic of Bosnia-Herzegovina,
President Franjo Tudjman of Croatia, Bosnian Prime
Minister Haris Silajdzic and Bosnian Croat
representative Mr. Kresimir Zubak have signed a
document endorsing a Constitution for a new bicommunal
Federation in Bosnia, as well as a Preliminary
Agreement on a Confederation between the new Federation
Prime Minister Silajdzic and Mr. Zubak signed the
Constitution itself, undertaking to submit it for
approval to a Constituent Assembly that will be
established in accordance with the Constitution.
Presidents Izetbegovic and Tudjman initialed the
Preliminary Agreement on Confederation.
This signing ceremony marks an important step in the search
for an overall settlement to the conflict in Bosnia.
The 49-page Constitution was drafted during nine days of
intensive negotiations in Vienna ending on March 13. U.S.
Special Envoy for Yugoslavia, Ambassador Charles Redman,
mediated the negotiations.
Agreement to draft the Constitution had been reached as part
of the Framework Agreement establishing the new Federation
that was concluded in Washington on March 1.
the Constitution represents a considerable achievement by
the Bosnian and Croat communities in Bosnia. They have gone
to great lengths to meet each others' concerns regarding the
protection of human and political rights and the security of
As in the Framework Agreement there is a provision for the
appointment of a human rights ombudsperson by the CSCE
during the first three years of the new Federation 's
There is also a provision to have the International Court of
Justice appoint foreign judges to fill one third of the
seats on the Constitution court during the first five years
of the Federation.
The Constitution strikes a careful balance between the
rights of the Federal government and the regional cantons,
as well as containing safeguards guaranteeing significant
representation for both communities in executive,
legislative and judicial bodies at each level of government.
The parties have also reached a "Preliminary Agreement
Concerning the Establishment of a Confederation" between the
new Federation and Croatia.
This agreement establishes a series of progressive steps in
the economic cooperation of the Federation and Croatia, with
the aim of eventually establishing a confederation.
The next step will be to work with the Bosnian Serbs to
develop an overall political settlement in Bosnia.