Doubts grow over Bosnia rebuilding

World donors meet today in Brussels in a new effort to raise money for the rebuilding of Bosnia, envisaged under the Dayton peace accords as the foundation for lasting peace.

However, the meeting takes place amid increasing doubts about the role to be played by the international community in the reconstruction effort. Western analysts are also sceptical about whether reconstruction can really cement over the deeply-rooted enmities, thereby preventing further war.

The decision announced on Wednesday by Bosnian Serb leaders not to attend the donor conference provided a stark illustration of how distant the concept of permanent reconciliation remains. Rajko Kasagic, prime minister of the Bosnian Serb republic, is reported to have rejected an invitation to attend the conference because of pressure from hardline Bosnian Serbs , who remain determined to disrupt the peace process.

At the Brussels conference, sponsored by the European Union and the World Bank, donors aim to stump up $1.2bn (pounds 800m) - the minimum figure set by the World Bank for the first year of reconstruction. Over the next three to four years an estimated $5.1bn will be needed to rebuild devastated infrastructure, towns and villages.

During the Brussels conference, the US is expected to pledge $200m, Japan $125m, and the European Union $200m. Several EU countries will offer their own separate donations, and Islamic countries are expected to pledge about $100m.

However, despite these generous noises, nobody is under any illusion about the reluctance of the world community to pay up. Carl Bildt, the High Representative responsible for implementing the civilian side of the peace deal, has already predicted a $400m shortfall at the Brussels conference.

A conference held in December produced promises of $600m, but the donors have been slow to hand over the cash and only a fraction of this first sum has yet been spent. As a result there has yet been little reconstruction on the ground to produce any real confidence in the Dayton process.

The dilemma for the donors is acute. It is accepted that without Western money there can be no substantial rebuilding or economic revival, and, as a result, there will be no chance of creating the conditions for the next phase of the peace process, namely the preparations for elections in September.

However, since Dayton, the donors have seen less and less reason to believe that the peace has so far brought about any fundamental reconciliation between Bosnia's Serbs, Muslims and Croats. "We see no guarantee that if we spend the money there will be any return," said one Western official this week.

The task of separating the warring parties and returning the forces to barracks has beenlargely completed already by the 60,000-strong Nato implementation force (I-For). However, the job of rebuilding, bringing about the return of refugees, ensuring free movement and a free media, and establishing institutions for the new Bosnia, has scarcely begun. Under the peace deal the Serb entity consists of 49 per cent of Bosnia with the Muslim-Croat federation covering the rest. Institutions responsible for both entities were to have been established before the end of the year, as well as economic projects crossing ethnic boundaries.

Western diplomats voice increasing impatience about the Bosnians' reluctance to build the peace. "Everyone there is standing around waiting for the international community to do something," said one Nato official. There is talk of the dangers of creating a culture of dependency. "There is deepening fear among the donor governments that the elections, even if they do come about ,will only reconfirm the dominance of the existing extreme nationalist parties, and will not bring in a leadership which advocates reconciliation," said a Western diplomat.

Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
world cup 2014A history of the third-place play-offs
Tommy Ramone performing at The Old Waldorf Nightclub in 1978 in San Francisco, California.
peopleDrummer Tommy was last surviving member of seminal band
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
The Mexico chief finally lets rip as his emotions get the better of him
world cup 2014
Spectators photograph the Tour de France riders as they make their way through the Yorkshire countryside
voicesHoward Jacobson: Line the streets for a cycling race? You might just as well watch a swarm of wasps
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
Life and Style
Several male celebrities have confessed to being on a diet, including, from left to right, Hugh Grant, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ryan Reynolds
...and the weight loss industry is rubbing its hands in glee
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
arts + entsReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, Accreditation, ITIL)

£70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Information Security Manager (ISO 27001, A...

C# Developer (HTML5, JavaScript, ASP.NET, Mathematics, Entity)

£30000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Developer (...

C# Integration Developer (.NET, Tibco EMS, SQL 2008/2012, XML)

£60000 - £80000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Integration...

Biztalk - outstanding opportunity

£75000 - £85000 per annum + ex bens: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Biztalk Te...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice