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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester

£18000 - £23000 per annum + competitive: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultan...

Recruitment Genius: Plumber

£22000 - £25900 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company is expanding and th...

Recruitment Genius: Corporate Account Manager

£27000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Corporate Account Manager is ...

Recruitment Genius: Chef de Partie

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This award winning conference venues provider...

Day In a Page

Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders