CNN Balkan Conflict News

Dayton skyline

Diplomacy in Dayton

Bosnian peace talks bring world attention to Ohio city

Steve Hurst

November 1, 1995
Web posted at: 5 p.m. EST (2200 GMT)

From Correspondent Steve Hurst

Dayton map

DAYTON, Ohio (CNN) -- An Ohio city famous for inventions hopes it can help craft a peaceful end to Bosnia's four-year civil war. Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, near Dayton, is where international mediators open Bosnian peace talks Wednesday. Worshippers at a recent church service in Dayton prayed for peace among the Muslims of Bosnia, the Catholics of Croatia and the orthodox Christians of Serbia. (927K QuickTime movie)

Dayton (population 180,000) is a city of shift workers, 9-to-5ers, high-techers and fighter pilots. It leads the United States in patents per capita. The pop-top can, the automatic auto starter and the cash register got their start there. The Wright Brothers, who built their first flying machine in Dayton, are local heroes.

Dayton, Ohio -- claims to fame

popping soda can cash register Wright brothers

dad & baby

People there are proud their town was chosen for the Bosnia talks. "We hope they are successful so that someday someone will look back and say this was done in Dayton," said Chamber of Commerce President Phillip Parker. (Comment from another Dayton resident -- 68K AIFF sound or 68K WAV sound).

Daytonians choose to ignore the snide remark of Serb President Slobodan Milosovic, who said he was no priest to be locked up in some provincial town in Ohio. "Everyone in our community is hopeful he will spend his time focusing on negotiating peace and that he will find that time well spent," Mayor Mike Tucker responds diplomatically.

So Milosovic and the presidents of Croatia and Bosnia will sit down on the outskirts of town, smack in the middle of middle America, trying to make peace in the bloodiest European conflict since World War II. Daytonians hope the Balkan bosses are up to it.

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