Paddy Ashdown Quotes (37 Quotes)



    It was a superb agreement to end a war, but a very bad agreement to make a state. From now on, we have to part company with Dayton and try to build a modern democratic state, for which I have tried to lay the foundations.

    I was told there would be riots in the streets, but there were no riots.

    We are not there yet, but I'd be disappointed if in two years' time there was not some movement towards truth as a precursor to reconciliation.

    I am here because I think it was a terrible sin of the west to allow those years of war.


    A very small bunch of corrupt politicians believe that allowing Radovan Karadzic to stay at liberty is more important than this country having a future in NATO and peace for its citizens.

    Bosnia is under my skin. It's the place you cannot leave behind. I was obsessed by the nightmare of it all; there was this sense of guilt, and an anger that has become something much deeper over these last years.

    It's not my job to be popular. I'm goal-driven; my job is to get results.

    I am formally accountable to the steering board of the PIC, and I meet with nine ambassadors from the PIC every week. I have to have the capitals' broad agreement with what I do.

    Ten years after Dayton, that these two primary architects of these appalling crimes should still be free is a failure on all sides.

    I shall go home now. You have to know when your time is up. I knew that with the Liberal Democrats, and I know that now, in Bosnia.

    People do not want politicians they know to be corrupt.

    I am absolutely delighted that the international community has chosen Schwarz-Schilling to be my successor. He knows this country, he loves this country... and I cannot think of nobody better to take on this job.

    It works both ways: there are victims of tragedy who come to me who have experienced grief of such magnitude that they cannot reconcile. Likewise, I cannot change the mentality of those who committed the crimes or the fools who followed them.

    I don't think Bosnia is ready for reconciliation, but I do think it is ready for truth.

    We have invented a new human right here - the right to return home after a war.

    It would be a foolish high representative who worked that way.

    My first job has been to do the best thing for the Bosnian people. Not for the Serbs, the Bosniaks or Croats, but the people as a whole.

    I can establish the expectation of retributive justice. Have we done that? No.

    I don't know a country in the entire world that has made faster progress from war, let alone such a terrible war, to peace,

    I believe that there will be a very substantial, perhaps even a two-thirds majority, for constitutional change and the modernization of our system of government in the next Parliament,

    It is not only in Bosnia-Herzegovina that you find politicians trying to raise hoary old ghosts of the past and gruesome specters to drive people into the ballot box to vote for them,

    Politics is about putting yourself in a state of grace.

    The present Europe is unfinished business unless the Balkans are a part of it,

    This country is about history, and unless the Serbs in particular come to some understanding of this history, we cannot build a stable state.

    Bosnia and Herzegovina has done what many said was impossible even a year ago, let alone at the start of my mandate in May 2002. For the country now stands at the gates of Europe. This is a truly remarkable achievement for a country as war-torn as Bosnia and Herzegovina was just 10 years ago.

    We who came here saw what was happening. This was far more than a war in a faraway place. This was a moral imperative, a terrible vision of the future.

    I can create institutions, but I can't rewrite the chips in people's heads.

    My second job has been to try to use my power to create institutions of a modern state that could enter the European Union, and there was very little time. The door was closing, and I wanted to get Bosnia through before it shut.

    I've had much nastier things said about me in the British press than in the Bosnian press.


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