Even before the conference was finished two decisions fatal for the position of the Croats in the neighboring state were made. These decisions clearly indicate the future direction of the International Community's policy in Bosnia-Hercegovina. The introduction of duties on goods imported from Croatia and ban on re-broadcasting of the HTV [Croatian state-controlled TV channel] establishes an economic and cultural barrier to closer links between Croats living on both sides of the border. These two decisions in practice neutralize the Agreement on Special Relations, although the Agreement ostensibly, at least initially aimed to forge as close as possible relations between Croatia and the Federation, especially the Croat people in the Federation, since the plan to establish a confederation has definitely failed. Klein has spoken about this agreement as something that should recover the trust of Croats from Bosnia-Hercegovina in the possibility of their survival, free life, and preservation of their identity.
The two mentioned decisions obviously go in the opposite direction. But that is not all. The worst is yet to come. It has been announced that the Croat part of the Federation Army would be abolished by the cessation of the contribution to the HVO from the Croatian budget. A new multinational professional police force will be formed with the task of controlling border crossings. A single educational system will be introduced, including the uniform use of alphabets and language [for all three nations in Bosnia-Hercegovina]. The posting of national symbols will be treated as a sabotage; a new electoral law is being prepared; under this law everyone will vote for everyone; consequently the representatives of the least numerous nation will be elected by the other two nations.
Without any exaggeration, the least numerous nation[Croats] is threatened with gradual assimilation, emigration, and disappearance, as is confirmed by the current demographic trends. The mentioned decisions above all, either intentionally or as a consequence of someone's logic, are directed against Croats. Croats are obviously discriminated against in the process of the return of refugees. Similarly, in the Hague, where no one has so far been indicted for crimes against them, Croats also have a special status. Their status is now worse than it was in the former Yugoslavia.
On the eve of the Madrid Conference, Carlos Westendorp stated that his goal and the goal of the policy he represents is the establishment of a unitary multiethnic Bosnia-Hercegovina. By that he negated the still existing constitutional order which defines a state consisting from several smaller units dominated by different nations. The unitary state concept can only be achieved in the Federation Bosnia-Hercegovina.
Christopher Bennett, the director of the International Crisis Group for Bosnia-Hercegovina, on the eve of the Madrid Conference proposed sweeping political reforms and the change in the whole logic behind Bosnian politics, above all through the modification of the electoral system. He called on Croatia to support such changes, instead of insisting on a third, Croat, entity. Because, dear God, the operation in which $4 million have already been invested must succeed! As far as Croatia is concerned, its top officials will continue to sign and support everything pushed under their noses, with occasional verbal outbursts and provocations.