On 6 April 1992 Alija Izetbegovic, aged 66 years, was a very happy man. His life-long ambition had at last been fulfilled, as hesitatingly the European Community (EC) had recognised the sovereign independence of the former Yugoslav constituent republic of Bosnia-Hercegovina, to come into effect the following day. And he was its president. Moreover his satisfaction increased when his new republic was also formally recognised by the USA, and then by the United Nations (UN). For months previously few would have thought this step possible, and indeed Izetbegovic himself must have been more than pleasantly surprised at his achievement; but his main struggle to keep his republic intact and viable was ahead, and the odds were heavily stacked against him. Lord Carrington, chairman of the European Community Peace Commission, had warned against recognition of sovereignty for Bosnia-Hercegovina, saying ‘The Serbs will never accept it’ (NYT). As a dedicated Muslim his intention was to put an Islamic stamp on his multiethnic and multireligious population, of which his coreligionists formed the majority sect.
KeywordsEuropean Community United Nations Muslim Population Muslim Majority Arbitration Commission
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