Balkan Strategic Studies
October 21, 2003
ISSA Recognizes Republica Srpska President Dragan Cavic for Achievements “In the Face of Enormous Obstacles”
The International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA), the Washington-based, worldwide organization for strategic policy officials, and publisher of the Global Information System/Defense & Foreign Affairs, issued a statement on October 20, 2003, that His Excellency Dragan Cavic, the President of Republica Srpska, in Bosnia & Herzegovina, had been awarded the Association’s highest recognition, the Gold Star Award for Outstanding Contributions to Strategic Progress.
The medal, which is not awarded every year, is awarded to Pres. Cavic because of his unique contributions in the face of enormous obstacles. These contributions include:
1. Ensuring, to the maximum degree possible and to a greater extent than perhaps any other leader in the region, the implementation of and compliance with the terms of the 1995 Dayton Accords which ended the Bosnia-Herzegovina civil war;
2. His significant rôle in the war against terrorism, in which Republica Srpska has found itself on the front-line, facing a substantial and increasing burden of infiltration and activity by terrorists related to al-Qaida and other groups and state sponsors;
3. His contributions to the reconciliation and wellbeing of peoples of all faiths in the territory of Republica Srpska, particularly in the face of deliberate provocations by significant officials and groups anxious to continue to divide the region along communal and religious lines;
4. His pioneering work in helping to bring his area of Bosnia-Herzegovina into line with NATO and European Union standards of security, democracy, political transparency and accountability. This included preparing the Armed Forces of Republica Srpska for civilian command and control within the context of Bosnia & Herzegovina in such a way that they could meet NATO’s Partnership for Peace (PfP) requirements, and ensuring maximum cooperation with NATO’s SFOR Stabilization Force in the region; and
5. His commitment to working diligently and transparently with the international legal community, and particularly the International Criminal Tribunal on the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), in resolving the painful outstanding issues surrounding war crimes committed in Bosnia-Herzegovina during the country’s civil war.
Gregory R. Copley, President of ISSA, said: “This Award was made after extensive research into President Cavic’s work, including considerable on-the-ground observations, and after consulting with a number of very trusted and senior peoples within the North Atlantic Alliance and the governments of other states. The respect for President Cavic and the integrity with which he and a significant number of dedicated elected officials have brought Republica Srpska to the point of social, political and economic recovery, has been considerable.”
“It is well-known that a number of officials, both in neighboring areas of Bosnia & Herzegovina and among the international community overseeing the Dayton Accords, have long entertained preconceptions which are implacably hostile to the Bosnian Serbs. President Cavic and his colleagues have, nonetheless, persisted in attempting to build the new state of Republica Srpska in such a way that grounds for communal hostility are removed. Indeed, Republica Srpska, which was intended to be constrained by the Dayton Accords, has enthusiastically demonstrated that it has complied with those accords, and has set an example which has not been matched.”
“This ISSA Award is intended to draw international attention to the exceptionally positive work already undertaken by President Cavic and his colleagues — who are also recognized by this Award — and to ensure that he has the freedom and support to continue it. We are highly conscious of the fact that there are officials outside Republica Srpska who, in supporting other communal groups within Bosnia & Herzegovina, are attempting to diminish the positive results in Republica Srpska and reinforce the communal hatreds of the civil war.”
“At this time, however, Republica Srpska is a vital bulwark in the intelligence and security war against terrorism, and President Cavic and his team of elected and appointed officials must be encouraged and assisted in this process.”
The Association this year plans to make two other presentations of its highest award, the Gold Star Medal for Outstanding Contributions to Strategic Progress. These would be announced in the coming weeks, both to Muslim leaders in different continents.
It is hoped that the personal investiture of the Gold Star Medal to President Cavic would take place before the end of 2003.
The Award has, in the past, been made to a wide range of leaders from around the world, including former US Secretary of State Gen. Alexander M. Haig, Jr.; former US Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger; Jamaican Prime Minister Edward Seaga; Pakistan President Mohammed Zia ul-Haq; Nigerian President Ibrahim B. Babangida; British Minister of State for Defence Sir Geoffrey Pattie; former Egyptian Defense Minister Field Marshal Mohammed Abdelhalim Abu-Ghazala; US Senator John Tower; and numerous others.