2015 AS Wicker 1st CommChairperson Wicker speaks at the OSCE PA Annual Session in Helsinki, 7 July 2015.COPENHAGEN, 20 November 2015 – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, the Chair of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly's Committee on Political Affairs and Security, today marked the 20th anniversary of the Dayton Agreement, which restored peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina and preserved the country’s unity and territorial integrity.

“The Dayton Agreement was a watershed moment in the post-Cold War era,” Wicker said.

“It laid the foundation for a successful, robust NATO peacekeeping force. The pact was also instrumental in holding accountable those responsible for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide for the first time since World War II. Finally, the accord set today’s standard for post-conflict recovery, including land mine removal and the search for missing persons.”

Chairperson Wicker also noted the fundamental impact of the Dayton Agreement on the OSCE.

“Dayton mandated that the OSCE oversee arms control efforts, develop confidence-building measures and make it possible for a country that was once nearly destroyed by war to hold elections in a reasonably democratic manner. As a result, the OSCE deployed its first large-scale field operation, a mission that still exists in Bosnia and Herzegovina today,” he said.

Brokered by the United States at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio, the General Framework Agreement for Peace and its annexes were finalized on 21 November 1995 and formally signed in Paris several weeks later. The agreement ended a conflict that began in April 1992. The conflict is remembered for acts of ethnic cleansing, the shelling of Sarajevo and the genocide at Srebrenica in July 1995.

Wicker observed that the OSCE continues to contribute to security, stability and democratic development in South East Europe, as well as in other nations where political and economic transition is still underway.

“The OSCE has played a critical role in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s integration into Europe,” the Chairperson concluded.

“During my recent visit to commemorate the Srebrenica genocide, I observed the recent resurgence of ethnic politics that once fanned the flames of war more than 20 years ago. Since my first trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1995, the country has made tremendous progress. However, more reforms are still clearly needed. I am hopeful that the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina can press their leaders to move forward beyond Dayton, together.”