Security Council hears of internal bid to undermine Bosnia and Herzegovina

Security Council hears of internal bid to undermine Bosnia and Herzegovina

Prospects for regional reconciliation in the western Balkans have continued to improve, but internal politics in Bosnia and Herzegovina have deteriorated with attempts being made to undermine State institutions, the Security Council was told today.

“The leadership of Republika Srpska has for example led the way in undermining the state-level institutions and threatening to hold an entity referendum that would seek to repudiate the authority of the High Representative and decisions under Dayton [peace agreement],” Valentin Inzko, the High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, told the Council.

He reiterated that Bosnia and Herzegovina remained afflicted by a lack of consensus on what sort of State it wanted to be – a more centralized one or a decentralized federation. Divisions extended to what means would be used to make that decision, Mr. Inzko said.

Nationalist politicians were also making references to the possible “peaceful dissolution” of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a proposal that had been met with counter-statements that those who wanted to leave were free to do so, but would not be allowed to take any part of the country with them.

“This chronic political disagreement has occurred at a time when unemployment has continued to rise, living standards have continued to fall and the capacity of the authorities to meet the basic needs of citizens has been systematically eroded by declining revenue,” Mr. Inzko said.

Mr. Inzko expressed concern that in the run-up to planned general elections in October, divisive rhetoric disputing the sovereignty and constitutional order of Bosnia and Herzegovina could led to provocative actions that threaten progress in overcoming the country’s legacy of serious war crimes from the 1990s, when the region was torn by conflict.

He said the federation had also failed to meet its obligations, under the constitution, for an equal distribution among the three regions of six key positions in the entity’s executive, legislative and judiciary institutions.

Mr. Inzko said that the federation still had the capacity to make positive progress, giving the example of reforms which have made the country’s bid for visa liberalization with European Union a reality.

“In the case of visa reform, the authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina showed that they are able to respond to the logic of popular demand. I believe this can be applied to other reforms that have been blocked until now,” he added.